NASA releases list of Payloads to be installed onto Mars 2020 Rover Mission

NASA released a list mentioning payloads to be sent on the new Mars Rover 2020 mission by the end of year 2020.

The Mars 2020 rover’s framework will be based on the design of the Curiosity rover currently operational on Mars, but with a significant upgrade in hardware.

NASA plans to install seven payloads onto the rover. The mission’s goal is to find out how life can be sustained by using what is available in the Martian environment to prepare for future manned missions on the red planet. The most important is how oxygen can be generated for respiration and as oxidizers for rocket fuel.

The rover will perform geological and atmospheric survey that is expected to enhance our understanding of both the present and the past of Mar’s geological landscape. The rover is also designed to store rock and soil samples for future retrieval by a manned mission. 

The Seven Payloads are:- 

  1. Mastcam-Z : From Arizona State University, it is an advanced camera system with panaromic view, zoom and stereoscopic vision. The cameras are based on Curiosity’s current equipment, but with upgraded technology. The zoom in particular is expected to be useful for target selection and rover navigation. These cameras will function as main eyes of the rover.
  2. SuperCam:  From France, it is an imaging sensor that will analyze chemical compounds and minerals. It has a laser to determine the elemental composition of any compound from 20 feet distance. 
  1. MEDA or Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer: From Spain, it is a pack of sensors to measure atmospheric conditions. The sensors will measure temperature, wind speed, pressure, relative humidity and dust size and shape. It will also measure solar radiation cycles. 
  1. RIMFAX or Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Exploration: From Norway, it is a radar system that will plow into the ground and provide subsurface structure data.
  2. PIXL or Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry: From NASA, it is an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer and hi-res imager for determining elemental composition of the surface of Mars.
  3. MOXIE or The Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment : From Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it is an experiment with an objective to produce oxygen from Martian carbon dioxide. The Martian atmosphere comprises about 96% carbon dioxide, and the MOXIE device can turn it into pure oxygen and carbon monoxide. Data from this experiment will help researchers design instruments capable of generating oxygen on Mars.
  1. SHERLOC or Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals:  From NASA, it is a spectrometer equipped with a UV laser for finding organic compounds and other minerals. This is the first time a Raman spectrometer will be sent to the Martian surface.

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Categories: International Current Affairs 2017Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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