Mars 2020 Rover Instruments revealed

Today NASA announced the seven instruments that will be flown on the Mars 2020 Rover.  The rover uses the same design as Curiosity that is currently operating on the surface of Mars today.  The final requirements for the whole rover will be complete about a year from now.  A landing site has not yet been selected for the rover.

2014-07-31_120841The instruments were chosen because they complemented each other, as well as providing data that will benefit eventual manned missions to the planet.  The rover will also include a cache which will be used to store samples that will eventually returned to Earth for analysis, a rock abrasion tool which Curiosity doesn’t have and will also take core samples from rocks that will be preserved in the cache.

There will be two instruments on the rover mast, two on the arm and three on the main body of the rover.

2014-07-31_120929Mastcam-Z, an advanced camera system with panoramic and stereoscopic imaging capability with the ability to zoom. The instrument also will determine mineralogy of the Martian surface and assist with rover operations. The principal investigator is James Bell, Arizona State University in Phoenix.

2014-07-31_121013SuperCam, an instrument that can provide imaging, chemical composition analysis, and mineralogy. The instrument will also be able to detect the presence of organic compounds in rocks and regolith from a distance. The principal investigator is Roger Wiens, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico. This instrument also has a significant contribution from the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales,Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Plane’tologie (CNES/IRAP) France.

2014-07-31_121408 2014-07-31_121416Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL), an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer that will also contain an imager with high resolution to determine the fine scale elemental composition of Martian surface materials. PIXL will provide capabilities that permit more detailed detection and analysis of chemical elements than ever before. The principal investigator is Abigail Allwood, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. 


2014-07-31_121454Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC), a spectrometer that will provide fine-scale imaging and uses an ultraviolet (UV) laser to determine fine-scale mineralogy and detect organic compounds. SHERLOC will be the first UV Raman spectrometer to fly to the surface of Mars and will provide complementary measurements with other instruments in the payload. The principal investigator is Luther Beegle, JPL.

2014-07-31_121148The Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE), an exploration technology investigation that will produce oxygen from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide. The principal investigator is Michael Hecht, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

2014-07-31_121233Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA), a set of sensors that will provide measurements of temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, relative humidity and dust size and shape. The principal investigator is Jose Rodriguez-Manfredi, Centro de Astrobiologia, Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aeroespacial, Spain.

2014-07-31_121318The Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Exploration (RIMFAX), a ground-penetrating radar that will provide centimeter-scale resolution of the geologic structure of the subsurface. The principal investigator is Svein-Erik Hamran, Forsvarets Forskning Institute, Norway.


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