In a marvel declaration on the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, NASA has revealed
that it will likely be sending every other rover to Mars in 2020. This news has been met with a mix of reactions, with some planetary scientists questioning why NASA maintains to awareness on Mars, when there are ice-protected moons like Saturn’s Titan that continue to be exceedingly unexplored.
This new rover, which doesn’t but have a name, might be honestly equal to Curiosity. It will simply be fashioned from Curiosity’s spare elements, consisting of a spare nuclear battery (thermoelectric generator) that’s kicking round in NASA’s storage. Following on from the success of Curiosity’s novel EDL (access, descent, landing) concerning a sky crane, the brand new rover will descend to the surface of the Red Planet within the equal way.
MSL Curiosity device diagramBasically, this new rover is capitalizing at the state of affairs. Curiosity (see: Inside NASA’s Curiosity: It’s an Apple Airport Extreme… with wheels) has been a large fulfillment up to now, and it definitely makes lots of sense to construct some other one whilst the triumphing situations are fantastic. If NASA waits, it is probably tougher to find the vital components, or task-important engineers might retire.
The new rover won’t be absolutely equal to Curiosity, even though. “It can have new devices. We’re going to position out a letter to colleagues to invite for folks who want to be inside the technological know-how definition group,” says John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator of science. “The idea is to work via the iciness and spring, and feature an declaration of opportunity mid-summer time for real devices, because even as 2020 would possibly appear a protracted manner off, it’s genuinely no longer. Curiosity became about a decade within the works.” While we have no idea what these new instruments could be, NASA has been hinting that it’s interested in a “sample cache” that might gather and store Martian samples. These samples would then be accrued with the aid of a destiny (manned?) undertaking to Mars, and again to Earth for in addition analysis.
The surface of Titan, photographed by the Huygens probe in 2005NASA is budgeting $1.5 billion Curiosity II; notably much less than the $2.5 billion spent on Real Curiosity. In the face of federal price range cuts, his new rover is only possible because it makes use of a confirmed layout and a bunch of spare parts.
Even so, though, there are scientists who might rather that the $1.Five billion became spent some other place — together with exploring the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, or every other planet. At the AGU meeting, NASA spent lots of time discussing the brand new rover, and its participation in different Martian missions — but didn’t mention another missions to explore moons, asteroids, or certainly any non-Martian frame.
Titan, a moon of Saturn that is the most effective item inside the Solar System apart from Earth this is thought to have floor water, has nonetheless most effective ever had one image taken from its floor (pictured proper). For $1.5 billion, we should almost absolutely land any other probe there and find out what’s surely happening, and perhaps in the end find signs and symptoms of lifestyles somewhere else within the Solar System.