NASA and the European Space Agency announced today that they have released the first official set of the new lander parts and rover tools for the upcoming Mars 2020 rover mission.
The new rover parts will go into production in 2020, with a full production run expected in 2021.
The first set of parts will be available at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, as part of a $2.5 billion contract to design, build and operate the 2020 rover.
The lander tools will be manufactured at the JPL Jet Propulses Ames Research Center in California, and will be delivered to the mission’s engineering and operations center in 2019.
NASA and ESA will provide the rover’s lander with all new parts and will use the tools to test the rover.
These parts will include the new rover’s wheels, wheels, tires, wheelspin and other parts.
NASA plans to use the tool kits to test and optimize the rover in 2018, and to test a second version of the rover, which would have a much smaller payload and would have to rely on a single wheel for propulsion.
“This is a huge milestone for the rover and the entire Mars 2020 mission, and a significant milestone in the history of the Mars Exploration Rovers Program,” said John Callas, the project manager for NASA’s Mars 2020 program.
“We’re proud to work with ESA and NASA to deliver the first real Mars rover tools in this new era of exploration.”
The rover’s landing system will also include a lander that can land vertically and be propelled into a shallow pit, which will be able to be deployed in 2020 and land in 2021 at a shallow crater, which NASA hopes to be able later this decade.
NASA also will send a robotic arm to the surface to land the rover there, which is planned to be used for testing and planning the rover as well as to send a payload to orbit around Mars in 2021 or 2022.
“Mars 2020 will be a monumental milestone for NASA and its partner organizations, and we look forward to the next generation of rover operations,” said Jim Green, associate administrator for NASA Exploration Systems.
“With these exciting plans, we can build a new era for Mars exploration and will leave this new world in the dust.”
The new rover tools and parts are part of the $3.5 million NASA awarded in September to design and build the 2020 mission.
NASA is spending $1.7 billion to develop the rover itself and to build its spacecraft, including the rover landing system.