The US Air & Space Agency (NASA) has decided to send a new rover to Mars in 2020 to Lake Crater.
NASA believes that the signs of ancient life on the Red Planet could persist in the rocks of this crater, the width of which reaches 50 km.
Satellite images of the Lake indicate that a river delta flowed into a large lake.
In such an environment, 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago, bacteria might appear. At that time Mars was warmer and duller than now.
What's strange about the Yezero Crater?
According to NASA project manager Ken Farley, he perfectly preserves the biological property – any evidence of life "that could exist in the lake's water, in the underwater mud, and in the main waters that the river carried, and could remain in the Delta" reporters.
Many types of rocks in Ezer, including carbonates and clay, could also preserve organic molecules, which would mean life once existed.
Depth of the crater is 500 meters, was elected after four years of consultation with Mars researchers. Yezero became a popular voice at one of NASA's latest conferences.
The crater is located north of the equator of Mars. It was named after the Bosnian city; in some Slavic languages "lake" means "lake".
What will the mission do in 2020?
One of the other key objectives of the mission in 2020 is to select and "package" rock samples into small containers that can be collected and delivered to Earth for analysis during future missions.
NASA is working with the European Space Agency on this initiative, but it is unclear when it will be possible to take sample vessels.
The project is still at an early stage, says Thomas Zurbuchen, Head of NASA's Scientific Directorate: "By the way, it could be the beginning of the thirties."
Is the rover 2020 a copy of curiosity?
The rover project of 2020 is based on the "Curiosity" robot that NASA planted in 2012 with the Gale crater. Curiosity has become a huge success and the agency wants to repeat it. Using the same "template" saves money on spare parts.
However, from the point of view of the toolbox, the new device is slightly different. Yes, it will have cameras, automatic hand, drill and laser. But sensors and analyzers were installed on the new model. Rover can even make an experiment: check how future astronauts can make Mars oxygen.
The new robot will use the same Skycrane technology, which has made the exact landing of "Curiosity" six years ago, but with a small increment. Engineers have developed a new off-road navigation system that should provide even greater landing accuracy.
What else to expect on Mars?
Missions on Mars can be launched only in a short time window due to the specific location of the planets.
The 2020 mission will begin in July and August and reach the red planet by February 18, 2021.
"NASA has a long history of success in exploring Mars." When Mariner 4 went to Mars in 1965, we sent our cars into orbit, landed and drove across the surface of the Red Planet, "says Lori Glaze, NASA's director of planetary research.
"And we will have the opportunity to continue with this successful story of the week when we put Insight on the desktop, and we look forward to it with impatience," added Glaze.
Unlike the 2020 rover and curiosity, Insight is a static module. His first mission is to "look inside" the planet. It uses seismometers to study "marshes" to analyze the inner structure of the planet.
The European Space Agency will also send the rover to Mars in 2020. European scientists have chosen the target planet Oksia Planum. Satellite imagery shows that, like in the case of Yezer and Gail, there are also signs of water in the area.