With the launch of NASA’s $2.5 billion Curiosity rover to the surface of Mars in 2020, the space agency is about to embark on a mission to collect more than 1.7 million images of the planet.
But this latest batch of photos could be one of the most interesting yet.
Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming mission:1.
What is the Curiosity mission?
The Curiosity rover is a two-ton robot carrying two cameras to capture high-resolution images of Mars.
The rover’s purpose is to get more accurate measurements of its environment and to answer important questions about its past, present and future.
In particular, scientists want to understand what processes, like volcanism and ice age sediments, could have led to the evolution of this planet and its potential future.2.
Who is studying Curiosity?
Scientists and engineers from NASA and other agencies have spent years studying the planet’s ancient surface.
The mission has the potential to reveal new insights about Earth’s formation, geological processes and how life came to dominate the planet and the universe.3.
What kind of equipment will Curiosity use?
A number of different cameras are being used to take the images.
The two that are most widely used in the field are the MAHLI (Mars Hand Lens Imager) on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Hubble Space Telescope.
The Curiosity rover also uses two laser altimeters that take images of its surroundings.
The latter instrument was originally developed for the space shuttle program and has become a staple of NASA missions.4.
How much will Curiosity cost?
According to the Space Policy Institute, the mission’s total cost will be around $2 billion, including the cost of the Curiosity rover itself, the science instruments, the spacecraft and the instruments on its orbiter.
The NASA budget request for 2020 calls for a $3.5 million per person budget for the Curiosity team.
How much will the public be able to see?
The rover will be able get access to some of the highest resolution images of Earth’s surface and will have an orbiter to collect those images.
NASA’s website says the rover will have a field-of-view of 1.8 degrees (60 centimeters) across, which is comparable to that of the Hubble telescope.
The agency is also hoping to get the full range of colors to the rover, allowing it to see colors that scientists and engineers cannot.
What can you expect from Curiosity?
The mission is expected to collect images that are nearly 3.5 megapixels (mpixels) in resolution, which means that you can see details of plants, trees, rocks, soil and other structures on the surface.
NASA says the mission will be very informative and that it will shed light on the composition of Martian rock and soil, and possibly even show evidence of past life.
It will also collect some of Earth-like surface features, including volcanoes, lakes and seas.
Some of these are currently being studied by NASA’s Curiosity rover.
The rover is expected at the end of its mission to return some samples back to Earth, but NASA is also working on plans to land the rover on a Martian island, a first for the agency.NASA is also planning to launch a spacecraft called Curiosity Mars 2020 to the Red Planet.
The goal is to use a small spacecraft to return samples from the surface to Earth and study the environment on Mars.
If successful, this mission will bring back the most comprehensive, detailed images of a planet ever seen.