New moon lander lands on Mars as NASA launches countdown to lunar landing

NASA is expected to launch a lunar lander into space to collect samples of the surface of Mars as it prepares to land the rover on the Red Planet in 2021.

The rover will land on the surface on Jan. 7, 2021, and return the samples to Earth.

The sample will be delivered to the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, and is expected at least two weeks before the next lunar landing attempt in 2022.

NASA said it plans to launch the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter on a rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, as well as the New Glenn rocket.

The spacecraft is expected be launched about a week before the end of 2020, but the launch date has not been set.