NASA to Unveil Mars 2020 Rover Instruments

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By Afza Fathima | August 1, 2014 9:55 PM EST

The instruments of Mars 2020 mission will be announced live on July 31 at the National Aeronautical and Space Administration's(NASA) television studio at the agency's headquarters at 300 E Street SW in Washington and on the organization's Web site. The mission is a roving laboratory, a successor to Mars Curiosity Rover, a highly successful mission by NASA.

Reuters
A solar flare bursts off the left limb of the sun in this image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory at 07:41 EST (11:41 GMT) June 10, 2014

The announcement will involve the following participants: John Grunsfeld, Bill Gerstenmaier, Michael Meyer and Ellen Stofan, all belonging to NASA and hold the positions of Science Mission Directorate's associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Directorate's associate administrator, Mars Exploration Program's lead scientist and chief scientist respectively.

Twice the amount of proposals compared to the average number of proposals usually submitted for competitions of science and exploration technology instruments were received in January for this particular mission. The higher number of proposals, at a massive 58, shows the huge interest garnered by the public to explore the planet of Mars.

Media are being highly encouraged to be a part of this event by either telephone or being present live at the studio. On Twitter, a social networking website, the public can interact by using the twitter handles #JourneyToMars and #askNASA.

On Nov 26, 2011, the Mars Science Laboratory's spacecraft left the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and on Aug 6, 2012, reached the floor of the Gale Crater. The main destination of the mission, the lower layers of Mount Sharp, began in July 2013. The habitable nature, the environment, the evolvement into a drier setting of the Red Planet is being researched by the scientists. 

In 2003, smaller exploration rovers were launched but proved to be less successful than their successor, the Mars Curiosity rover which carried equipment to gather and process samples of rocks and soil. A number of analytical tools were built into the test chambers of the laboratory, which was powered by the radioisotope generator of the United States Department of Energy.

The generator provided the rover with an operating life-span of 687 days, which equals a full Martian year.

Visit http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv for live streaming of the announcement.

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(Photo: Reuters / NASA/SDA/Goddard/Wiessinger/Handout)
A solar flare bursts off the left limb of the sun in this image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory at 07:41 EST (11:41 GMT) June 10, 2014
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