Mars 2020: NASA pre-selects three drilling sites!
NASA is already preparing its next mission to Mars which will take place by 2020 and announces that it has already selected 3 zones for the next Soil analyses.
When the Mars 2020 mission arrives on the surface of the red planet, NASA's new rover will hasten to drill and analyze soil samples.
The US space agency has not clearly defined which area will be the first to be tested, but three sectors have already been pre-selected. It was during a meeting with scientists in Monrovia, California that the research field was restricted.
The researchers consulted images and data returned by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to judge the most interesting sites to explore, but also the most accessible zones that have been able to shelter life in the past.
The Jezero crater collected the most votes, it was an ancient lake comparable to Lake Tahoe connected to a large river that fed it with water and sediments for thousands of years. In fact, it is an ideal area to look for ancient traces of life.
The northeast of Syrtis comes in second position, it is assumed that hot water has been able to circulate under its crust. Finally, the Columbia Hills comes in third place, but has provoked many debates: the Spirit rover has already partially explored and discovered rock with hydrothermal mineral deposits comparable to those found on Earth.
During the Mars 2020 mission, the rover will spend two years drilling the Martian soil... Some samples could return to Earth if the discoveries deserve it. It will be necessary to think of a new mission specially conceived with the aim of repatriating these samples.