The new Mars rover will be launched in 2020 and it’s outfitted from nose to tail with all kinds of new gadgets and gizmos to help NASA make new discoveries and take some awesome space pictures. Even if you’re not a tech nerd there’s plenty of cool stuff in the Mars 2020 rover specs to make you salivate. Not only does the new rover come equipped with more than twenty cameras but it’s also been outfitted with a series of mind-boggling pieces of hardware and some amazing software that will completely change the way that we study space.
So what's the new rover like? Leading up to its launch there's going to be a lot of 2020 rover buzz. The most important piece of information that’s still being decided is where the rover is actually going to land. It’s looks like the NASA 2020 Mars rover may not know where it’s going to end up until just before it’s launched, which is kind of nerve wracking but it’s also super exciting. Keep reading to find out everything that’s going on with all the all new rover, there are definitely more than a few upgrades.
The Landing Procedure Will Hopefully Eliminate The Former Rover's "Seven Minutes Of Terror" ApproachVideo: YouTube
One of the biggest issues faced by previous Mars rovers is the landing procedure. NASA researchers refer to the descent through the Red Planet's atmosphere as "seven minutes of terror," and while the 2020 rover will inevitably face the same stressful conditions as that of its previous incarnations, it's been outfitted with some rad new technology to make sure it lands safe and secure. The new rover's hardware will allow for the robot to land more precisely, and it will provide a more accurate program the help avoid rocky areas that could create problems for the lonely rover. One part of the landing procedure that will change things in a big way is the "skycrane," a maneuver that will lower the rover via tether in its last moments before landing.
It's Made Of Something Called "Warm Electronics Box" That Can Withstand Mars' -114 Degrees FahrenheitPhoto: NASA / Nasa.Gov
When you're sending a machine to another planet it can't be made of any old stuff. Rather than construct a heavy shell to move around the planet the rover is actually made out of something called the WEB, or warm electronics box. The WEB has to be incredibly durable in order to protect the highly sensitive pieces of hardware that carry out a variety of functions on the rover. The inside of the WEB utilizes gold paint and a layer of aerogel in order to keep the rover's components from freezing during the evenings on Mars when the planet gets down to -114 degrees Fahrenheit.
It Will Have 23 Different Cameras, Each Doing Something Cooler Than The NextPhoto: NASA / Nasa.gov
The coolest thing that the rover does is take pictures of Mars and send them back to Earth for all of the non-astronauts to salivate over. Prior rovers have sent back lo-res photos that are still cool, but they'll never match up photos that rover 2020 will take. The 23 cameras, referred to as "eyes," each serve a different function. Some of the cameras have been constructed with extra wide lenses in order to better capture the landscape of Mars, while other pairs of "eyes" are going to be used to better ensure that the rover avoids any nasty spills that it might take. Four of the cameras are designed specifically to capture the experience of landing on Mars so researchers can better understand what happens during the "seven minutes of terror." The coolest of these cameras will capture the entire descent from above. The sheer number of cameras way out-shadows previous rovers: the Curiosity has 17 and the Spirit and Opportunity rovers each have only 10. Perhaps not so coincidentally, two of the new Mars rover's cameras are named SHERLOC and WATSON.
The 2020 Rover Will Finally Let Us Know What Mars Sounds LikePhoto: NASA / nasa.gov
What does a planet sound like? And what's happening during the rover's descent? That may not seem like the most important thing to research when looking into a mysterious planet, but according to NASA researchers the sound of the rover landing on Mars could help put something larger onto the planet - like a space shuttle carrying astronauts - with ease. The new microphone on the rover will not only record the descent onto Mars, but will also record the rover while it works which will help researchers have a better understanding of its operations when it's on another planet. The most exciting part of the microphone on the rover is the fact that we'll finally be able to hear what another planet sounds like.