"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", NASA's 2020 mission project scientist Ken Farley said in a statement.
The US space agency revealed its rover, a space exploration vehicle created to move across the rocky planet, will land in the 28-mile wide Jezero Crater, which is believed to be 3.6 billion years old.
Jezero Crater will be where NASA's yet-to-be-named rover will land on February 18, 2021, the space agency announced today.
The 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater will give the Mars 2020 mission an opportunity to study a lot of loose rock material, but water was also on NASA's mind when it picked the landing site. Scientists expect Mars 2020 to yield at least five different types of rock, including the kinds of clays and carbonates that are most likely to preserve chemical biosignatures.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted that the region could potentially carry "microbial life" and ancient molecules from billions of years ago.
As it once hosted an ancient lake-delta system, NASA hopes Jezero also contains a variety of minerals, which would hugely help discover more about the red planet.
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There are various factors that NASA needed to consider while choosing an arrival site. TRN will enable the "sky crane" descent stage, the rocket-powered system that carries the rover down to the surface, to avoid hazardous areas.
The site selection is dependent upon extensive analyses and verification testing of the TRN capability.
InSight is heading for a spot of land called Elysium Planitia, an area that astronomers have described as "the biggest parking lot on Mars". "The Mars 2020 engineering team has done a tremendous amount of work to prepare us for this decision".
NASA's InSight spacecraft will touchdown on the surface of Mars on November 26.
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CA - MAY 03: The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas-V rocket is seen with NASA's InSight spacecraft onboard, Thursday, May 3, 2018, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The space agency selected the crater after a five-year search which debated some 60 other locations on Mars.