Despite the similarities of their cloud composition, Mars' atmosphere is still vastly different from that of our home planet.
"The Mars community has long coveted the scientific value of sites such as Jezero Crater, and a previous mission contemplated going there, but the challenges with safely landing were considered prohibitive", explained Ken Farley, a project scientist for Mars 2020 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in a statement last November. The rover is scheduled to launch as early as July 2020, with the spacecraft expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021.
The rover carries a sample-catching system that will collect samples of Martian rock and soil, and store them on the surface of the planet for retrieval and return to Earth by subsequent missions, according to NASA.
NASA is now preparing for another major mission, one that will see them sending a spacecraft to Mars once more in 2020. An electron beam will be employed to etch the names onto a dime-sized silicon chip, where one name will be approximately one-thousandth the width of a human hair.
Although it may be years before the first humans set foot on Mars, NASA is inviting the public to send their names to the Red Planet in the agency's Mars 2020 rover. This will provide room for several million names to be part of the small chip. Those chips will ride on the rover under a glass cover.
NASA also announced the return of American astronauts to the moon. Mars 2020 will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
From now until September 30, you can add your name to the list and obtain a souvenir boarding pass to Mars at this link: go.nasa.gov/Mars2020Pass.
NASA said that Mars 2020 will be the first in the history of planetary exploration to have the aid of a guidance system to accurately target its point of touchdown during landing.
As of May 26, 2019, 6:26 p.m., Philippine Standard Time, a total of 4, 939, 030 names have been submitted.
Besides having their names engraved in a piece of the rover, those who opt to participate will receive a souvenir boarding pass. The process only takes about 30-seconds before you and your boarding pass are good to go!