NASA‘s 2020 Mars mission, Mars Sample Return Programme, scheduled to take place in July, is aiming to bring back samples of the planet back home. Read on to know more. By Tanvi Jain

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Monument Valley. Beautiful photo from @taylor_photo⁠

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NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, which is scheduled to land on the planet on February 2021, will touch down at the Jezero Crater. The landing point is the site of an ancient lake that existed 3.5 billion years ago. This time the aim is to bring back samples from Mars. The mission is known as Mars Sample Return (MSR) Programme 

The roverwhose name is yet to be decided will search for signs of ancient life, study weather science, and conduct tests. 

NASA is even on a lookout for a programme director, and is offering an annual salary of up to INR 1.3 crore. The vacancy has been posted on the US government’s job website 

The six-wheeled rover will be built based on the success of previous robotic explorers, and it will consist of a suite full of instruments that will help look for signs of life, called biosignatures. 

The project will require three launches in order to successfully accomplish the sample collection, retrieval, and flight home. The collected sample will be loaded into a single large canister on the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV).   

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🧭 Explorer, 📸 photographer, ⛰️ geologist, 🧪 chemist… Mars Curiosity does it all!⁣ ⁣ The rover captured images on Oct. 11 for this celebratory #selfie, after its second-ever "wet chemistry" experiment using solvents to help its portable laboratory detect certain carbon-based molecules important to the formation of life, called organic compounds. ⁣ ⁣ About 984 feet (300 meters) behind the rover is Vera Rubin Ridge, which Curiosity departed nearly a year ago. Beyond the ridge, you can see the floor of Gale Crater and the crater's northern rim. Curiosity has been ascending Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-tall (5-kilometer-tall) mountain inside the crater.⁣ ⁣ The individual images in this selfie were taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), a camera on the end of the rover's robotic arm. The images are stitched together into a panorama; the robotic arm isn't visible in the parts of the images used in the composite.⁣ ⁣ Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS⁣ ⁣ #mars #rover #solarsystem #nasa #chemistry #robots

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The first launch is scheduled to take place in July from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Martian samples will pave the way for future Mars missions. 

The next mission known as ESA’s Earth Return Orbiter will aim at capturing a basketball size sample container orbiting Mars. 

Related: These Things On Planet Earth Can Be Seen Even From Space