NASA's InSight lander on track for Mars touchdown on Nov 26

NASA In Sight Landing

NASA officially announces landing site of Mars 2020 rover, and it’s incredibly interesting

"NASA has chosen Jezero Crater as the landing site for its upcoming Mars 2020 rover mission after a five year search", the space agency said late Monday.

According to NASA, the InSight lander was created to land in a dust storm.

The $2.5 billion rover is planned to launch in July 2020, and land in February 2021.

As it once hosted an ancient lake-delta system, NASA hopes Jezero also contains a variety of minerals, which would hugely help discover more about the red planet.

Experts believe the 28-mile (45-kilometer) wide basin could have collected and preserved ancient organic molecules and other signs of microbial life.

MarCO would also be the first CubeSats to travel this far from Earth.

At least five different kinds of rocks, including "clays and carbonates that have high potential to preserve signatures of past life", are believed to lie in the crater, just north of the Martian equator, the USA space agency said in a statement. Utilizing information from NASA's armada of Mars orbiters, they will outline landscape in more noteworthy detail and distinguish districts of intrigue - places with the most fascinating geographical highlights, for instance - where Mars 2020 could gather the best science tests.

Mars InSight
NASA Picks Landing Spot for 2020 Mars Rover

NASA said Jezero won out because of its mix of scientific promise and accessibility.

The crater is made of numerous boulders and rocks to the east, cliffs to the west and depressions filled with aeolian bedforms, which are wind-derived ripples in sand that could trap a rover, in several locations, NASA explained.

Farley said Jezero and other sites had been considered too risky for previous Mars missions. It's taken just over six months to reach Mars.

Named WALL-E and EVE after the main characters in the 2008 animated movie, the twin CubeSats will pass within a few thousand miles (kilometres) of Mars as the lander attempts its dicey touchdown.

The United States is the only country to have missions that survived landing on Mars.

The Red Planet has always been a hot spot for planetary exploration, thanks to Curiosity and NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers as well as a fleet of orbiters.

'Keeping in mind our ambitious goal to eventually send humans to the surface of the Moon and then Mars, I know that our incredible science and engineering team - the only in the world to have successfully landed spacecraft on the Martian surface - will do everything they can to successfully land InSight on the Red Planet'.

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