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NASA announces new rover mission for 2020

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Curiosity snaps a selfie.
(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA has unveiled its plans for Mars exploration over the next two decades, hoping to send humans to the red planet in the 2030s.

With Curiosity and Opportunity in place, NASA is making plans to send up a robotic science rover in 2020 over a multi-year Mars exploration program.

Over the next few years, NASA has detailed that the program will include both Opportunity and Curiosity; the three spacecrafts currently orbiting the planet (two of NASA's own and one European); the launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter in 2013 to study Mars' upper atmosphere; an in-depth study of the planet's interior, called Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) in 2016; and participation in the European Space Agency's 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions, which includes providing vital equipment.

The new robotic science rover, to be launched in 2020, will be based on the Mars Science Laboratory architecture that sent Curiosity to Mars earlier this year. And eventually, NASA plans to send human astronauts.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said, "The Obama administration is committed to a robust Mars exploration program. With this next mission, we're ensuring America remains the world leader in the exploration of the Red Planet, while taking another significant step toward sending humans there in the 2030s."

You can follow NASA's Mars findings on its official Mars web page.


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