2020 Mission Plans
Building on the success of Curiosity's landing, NASA has announced plans for a new robotic science rover set to launch in 2020. This announcement affirms the agency's commitment to a bold exploration program that meets our nation's scientific and human exploration objectives.
The proposed 2020 rover mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. Designed to advance high-priority science goals for Mars exploration, the mission would address key questions about the potential for life on Mars. The mission would also provide opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars.
The mission design would advance science priorities in the National Research Council's 2011 Planetary Science Decadal Survey, as well as respond to findings of the Mars Program Planning Group, established to assist NASA in planning the future of Mars exploration.
NASA will openly compete the opportunity for the mission's specific science payload, following established processes of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. NASA has begun this process with the establishment of a science definition team tasked to outline the mission's scientific objectives.
The budget for this mission is contingent on future appropriations. To keep mission costs and risks as low as possible, the highly capable rover would be based on NASA's successful Mars Science Laboratory mission architecture, including the proven guided entry and sky-crane landing system that successfully carried the Curiosity rover to the Martian surface in August, 2012. Designed to launch in 2020, this mission would take advantage of a favorable launch opportunity when Earth and Mars are in advantageous positions in their orbits for a Mars landing.
NASA will also assess options for infusing new capabilities through investments by NASA's Space Technology Program, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, and contributions from international partners.
Updated: January 2013