Mars 2020 is a Mars rover mission by NASA’s Mars Exploration Program with a planned launch on 17 July 2020, and touch down in Jezero crater on Mars on 18 February 2021.
The mission will seek signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, and will also search for evidence—or biosignatures—of past microbial life. The rover is planned for launch in 2020 on an Atlas V-541, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will manage the mission. The mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.
The Science Definition Team proposed that the rover collect and package as many as 31 samples of rock cores and surface soil for a later mission to bring back for definitive analysis on Earth. In 2015 they expanded the concept, planning to collect even more samples and distribute the tubes in small piles or caches across the surface of Mars.
In September 2013 NASA launched an Announcement of Opportunity for researchers to propose and develop the instruments needed, including the Sample Caching System. The science instruments for the mission were selected in July 2014 after an open competition based on the scientific objectives set one year earlier. The ...