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August 5-11, 2019 / Vol 38, No 31 / Hawai’i Island, USA

2 Aug 2019, 19:27 UTC
August 5-11, 2019 / Vol 38, No 31 / Hawai’i Island, USA
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Four International Mars 2020 Missions on the Horizon

Curiosity rover reaches 7 full years / enters its 8th year on Mars August 5. While investigating 154-km diameter Gale Crater and 5.5-km tall Mount Sharp, it has traveled 21.08 km so far, collecting data on habitability, climate and geology. Also operating at Mars is NASA InSight lander at Elysium Planitia, and 6 international orbiters: 3 from NASA, 2 ESA and 1 India. Taking advantage of Mars next closest approach Oct 6, 2020, China is planning to launch its 1st Mars mission July or Aug to the Northern Hemisphere with 240-kg rover, orbiter and 13 science payloads. A return to flight of Long March 5 is required for this mission, as well as for Chang’e-5 lunar sample return which could launch late 2019. The UAE is developing its Al-Amal “Hope” Mars satellite to launch 2020 on JAXA H2A rocket and arrive at Mars 2021, accomplishing the 1st Mars mission for any Arab or Crescent Moon County, and marking 50th anniversary of UAE formation. The ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars mission will launch Kazachok lander and Rosalind Franklin rover, and utilize the 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter communications relay. NASA next-gen 2020 Rover is on track for ...

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