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NASA picks ancient Martian river delta at Jezero Crater as landing site for 2020 rover

19 Nov 2018, 18:59 UTC
NASA picks ancient Martian river delta at Jezero Crater as landing site for 2020 rover
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This color-coded image of the Jezero Crater delta combines information from two instruments on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars and the Context Camera. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / JHU-APL)
One week before the next Mars mission is due to land, NASA has chosen the landing site for its next next Red Planet probe. Jezero Crater will be where the space agency’s yet-to-be-named rover will land on Feb. 18, 2021, mission managers announced today.
“It’s a Thursday,” said Allen Chen, who’s leading the entry, descent and landing team for what’s currently known as NASA’s Mars 2020 rover. That touchdown is due to come seven months after the mission’s launch in mid-July 2020.
Jezero Crater is thought to be the site of an ancient river delta on the western edge of Isidis Planitia, a giant impact basin just north of the Martian equator. Scientists say the 28-mile-wide crater’s rocks and soil may contain organic molecules and other traces of microbial life from the water and sediments that flowed into the crater billions of years ago.
“The delta is a good place for evidence of life to be deposited and then preserved for the billions of ...

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