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NASA: New Mars Rover By 2020 79

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-i-want-it-now dept.
coondoggie writes "Looking to build on the great success and popularity of its current Mars Science Laboratory mission, NASA today announced plans to explore the red planet further, including launching another sophisticated robot rover by 2020 and widely expanding other Mars scientific projects. The plan to design and build a new Mars robotic science rover — which will mirror the technology employed with the current Curiosity rover — will advance the science priorities of the National Research Council's 2011 Planetary Science Decadal Survey (the report from the community and team of scientists that help NASA prioritize space missions) and further the research needed to send humans to the planet sometime around 2030, NASA said."
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NASA: New Mars Rover By 2020

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  • Economies of scale (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @01:31AM (#42188661) Homepage

    Wouldn't it be more cost effective if they launched multiple vehicles at at time instead of just one? Perhaps NASA could work with other nations by building more rovers and letting them launch their own. If it's going to be in the name of science, why not?

  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @02:02AM (#42188801)

    Mars is nice guys but lets go a place a little more interesting with our unmanned probes, like one of the interesting moons around our solar systems Gas giants.

    Lets send a manned mission to Mars, and send our robots places that have a higher chance of yielding some really interesting data. Data that even use armchair geeks can get excited about.

  • by Pausanias (681077) <(pausaniasx) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @02:10AM (#42188835)

    I think we pretty much established that there's nothing but rocks on Mars. [theonion.com]

    Yes the rover flight and landing are marvels of engineering. There's no denying that. But can't we go somewhere new?

    In all seriousness, I feel like geologists have taken over NASA and these rovers are their way of bringing fame and power to the discipline of studying rocks.

    Let's take the first steps to go drilling into a subsurface ocean instead, shall we not?

  • by DiSKiLLeR (17651) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @02:40AM (#42188985) Homepage Journal

    What I want to know is.. when are they going to send a rover or lander which can test for biology? Like the viking landers from the 70s.. since then they've completely avoided sending any biology experiments to mars... despite finding water and other organic chemicals?

    And yes, as someone else pointed out, why not make use of economics of scale and make multiple identical rovers and send them to multiple different places on the planet? It worked for Spirit and Opportunity, and instead of wasting so much money designing and building a new rover from scratch every time, build a more modular one and send many of them... even 1 every few years if 2 at once is too expensive. Modular so different experiences can be swapped in or out thus creating slightly different configurations or upgraded models ?

    Why design and build from scratch every time and not just design a reliable base model, a lot like the Soyuz, and just slowly evolve it over time or fly it in slightly different configurations? I know a Soyuz capsule is nothing like a mars rover, but a soyuz capsule is human rated and still cheaper than a freaking rover. The same concepts could be applied.

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