NASA’s Curiosity is slowly, carefully, thoroughly examining the chemistry of Mars, pinging back analyzed soil samples and quirky vacation self-portraits. There’s still a lot to explore, but it’s hard for one rover to cover an entire planet, you know? So NASA has plans to send an additional craft to Mars in 2020 to ensure that “America remains the world leader in the exploration of the Red Planet,” according to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
The new plans actually cap off a separate Mars mission set for 2016, in which NASA’s InSight lander will investigate what’s beneath the planet’s rocky exterior. No precise plans have been outlined for the new rover, the one launching in 2020. Once a team is formed, the agency will hash out specific scientific objectives.
A formal announcement is planned tonight, so if any other pertinent details are shared, we’ll be sure to update. For now, we’ll keep our eyes locked on Curiosity, as it continues to roam and explore and ultimately help us better understand our Solar System’s fourth planet.