It looks like the Curiosity rover but it's better, decked with seven instruments to help NASA further investigate the Red Planet.
Called the Mars 2020, the new rover is designed to determine if living on Mars is possible by looking for signs of life in the past known as bio-signatures. The Curiosity rover had discovered that the planet once had habitats that can support life and it is this discovery that the Mars 2020 is seeking to build upon.
However, NASA's Mars Exploration Program lead scientist Michael Meyer said that collecting bio-signatures is not easy. In fact, scientists already know how to do that on Earth and yet the process remains difficult, hinting at the challenge that the Mars 2020 will have to face. At the moment, the rover's main responsibility will be to collect samples and survey the environment in Mars.
A total of 58 proposals were sent in for the Mars 2020 instruments, a number that NASA said was twice as much as what it usually receives. Developing the suite of instruments for the rover is pegged at about $130 million, with the overall price tag for the Mars 2020 around a billion dollars less than the $2.5 billion it took to build the Curiosity rover. This is partly because the Mars 2020 will be using the same body plan as the Curiosity rover as well as some spare parts. The Mars 2020 will also not include the internal laboratory the Curiosity had which allowed the latter to analyze samples as soon as they are collected.
The seven instruments chosen for the Mars 2020 rover include: the Mastcam-Z (an advanced camera system that offers stereoscopic and panoramic imaging capabilities plus a zoom function), SuperCam (for mineralogy, imaging and chemical composition analysis and spotting organic compounds in regolith and rocks from a distance); Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL; a high-resolution imager that improves chemical elements detection and analysis); Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC; a fine-scale imaging spectrometer with UV laser for detecting organic compounds); the Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE; an instrument for turning carbon dioxide in Mars to oxygen); the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA; a group of sensors that will measure temperature, wind direction and speed, relative humidity, pressure and dust shape and size); and the Radar Imager for Mars' Subsurface Exploration (RIMFAX; a radar that penetrates the ground to provide detailed images of the subsurface on Mars).
Of the seven instruments, three will be developed by Spain, Norway and France, making the Mars 2020 an international effort. The rover will also be using the ExoMars orbiter from the European Space Agency for data relay.