NASA’s next Mars rover will be able to generate oxygen

NASA’s next Mars rover will carry seven instruments, including one that will be able to make oxygen on Mars. “The 2020 rover will help answer questions about the Martian environment that astronauts will face, and test technologies they need before landing on, exploring and returning from the Red Planet,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington.

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission (MAVEN) is closing in on the Red Planet. At the same time, an interloper, comet Siding Spring, is also approaching. Although the comet’s nucleus will miss Mar’s, Siding Spring’s coma of dust particles might be wide enough to reach the planet. Teams of scientists and spacecraft engineers have been studying the prospect that the comet’s near miss with Mars might spew particles that could harm an international flotilla of spacecraft orbiting the planet. The comet nucleus will make its closest approach to Mars on Oct. 19, and the planet’s pass through the coma will take several hours. As a new arrival at Mars, MAVEN will slip into orbit on Sept. 21, U.S. time. A few days later, India’s Mars Orbiter Mission will also power itself into Mars orbit. The two spacecraft add to an already existing fleet of Mars orbiters: Europe’s Mars Express, and NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey.

Categorized as NASA

By Connor Livingston

+Connor Livingston is a tech blogger who will be launching his own site soon, Lythyum. He lives in Oceanside, California, and has never surfed in his life. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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