NASA scientists have revealed a new technology that could allow the space agency’s Mars rover Curiosity to recharge its solar panels in the 2020s.
The rover has already been able to use solar cells to power its electronics and is expected to use similar technology to power a new solar-powered power plant for future Mars missions, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The solar-panel system, which the agency unveiled in a press release this week, could help keep NASA’s long-term plan to send a robotic lander on Mars a reality by providing the agency with a means to keep it on course.NASA is also planning a Mars mission that could have a similar effect.
In 2017, a small rover called the Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO) made a spectacular landing on the Red Planet.
Its instruments revealed the presence of liquid water on Mars, and NASA officials said the mission’s discovery could pave the way for a future mission to send humans to the planet.NASA has yet to reveal the mission name, but its scientists have described the mission as a planetary exploration mission.
It would be headed by an American and a Chinese scientist, the first two Chinese to be selected for such a mission.
The mission would also include a robotic arm that could be used to explore the Martian surface, NASA said.
The arm would be capable of exploring a wide range of locations on Mars including a crater, lakebed and even a Martian lake, it added.
The Mars Climate orbiter mission would be the third of NASA’s four Mars exploration programs.
The first two missions, the Mars Exploration Rovers Mars Odyssey and Mars Odyssey II, were planned as a partnership between NASA and private companies.
NASA’s Curiosity rover was launched in 2006.
The third rover, Mars Odyssey, was launched by NASA in 2015.