The European Space Agency’s Martian mission is drawing ever closer. Set to touch down on the Red Planet in 2020, the Exomars Rover’s landing sites have now been pencilled in. The areas are called Oxia Planum and Mawrth Vallis and are believed to have played host to water at some point in the planet’s history. The Exomars Rover will further increase our knowledge of the Red Planet ahead of future launches, including manned missions. The robotic Rover will traverse the planet, investigating the environment and looking for signs of past and present life. It will increase our understanding of the gases in the Martian atmosphere as well as the geochemical environment that exists on the surface of the planet. The two areas have been specifically chosen as they allow the Rover to travel easily with minimal steep slopes and loose rubble that could prove tricky for the Rover to negotiate. An exciting prospect, this is just one of the planned missions to Mars with the 2020 Chinese Mars Mission and NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover also on the horizon. 2020 is set to be a huge year for human exploration of Mars.
Image credit: ESA/ATG medialab
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