The Rover March 2020, heading for the red planet next year, will not only search for traces of early life, but will also pave the way for human missions, NASA scientists said as they introduced the tool.
The rover was built in a large, sterile room at the jet propulsion lab in Pasadena, near Los Angeles, where the equipment was successfully tested last week.
The Rover was introduced to reporters at a ceremony and is expected to leave the ground in July 2020 from Cape Canaveral in Florida, becoming the fifth American Rover to land on Mars.
It is designed to look for signs of life, but is also equipped with a series of instruments that will help understand the geological and chemical content of the March surface.
The Rover is equipped with 23 cameras, two ‘ears’ that will allow it to hear Martian winds as well as lasers used for chemical analysis. Having the size of a car, the Rover is equipped with six wheels, like its predecessor the Curiosity, which allows it to travel even on rocky terrain.
Speed is not a priority for the vehicle as it will be fed by a miniature nuclear reactor.