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May 11-17, 2020 / Vol 39, No 19 / Hawai`i Island, USA

8 May 2020, 20:18 UTC
May 11-17, 2020 / Vol 39, No 19 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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Mars Orbit, Surface and Airspace to be Further Explored Robotically by a Host of Nations

As the July 17 – August 5 optimal Mars launch window approaches, NASA is joined by CNSA (China / Zhongguo) and UAESA (United Arab Emirates) in the international effort to probe the conditions and origins of what is thought to be the most habitable planet beyond Earth within the Solar System. Mars 2020, a US$2.4B mission, includes both rover Perseverance which will search for signs of exobiology and prepare mineral samples of interest for future return – the ultimate goal of robotic precursor missions, in preparation for human landings – and helicopter drone Ingenuity, which will demonstrate aerial mapping and navigation technology. Tianwen-1, or “Questions to Heaven”, first Mars mission from China, ambitiously includes an orbiter, lander and rover to be carried by Long March-5 Y4 from Wenchang SLC on Hainan Island – successful landing would make China the 3rd country to achieve this feat. UAE Hope Mars Mission, departing from Tanegashima Space Center, Japan, on H-2A launcher, seeks to place an orbital probe to study atmospheric conditions. Currently maintaining scientific investigation from orbit are 6 spacecraft: NASA 2001 Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and ...

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