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Blue-Print-Style Rover Sketch, Artist's Concept
Blue-Print-Style Rover Sketch, Artist's Concept
This artist's sketch is based on the Curiosity rover in NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, with proposed modifications based on the science definition team's recommendations. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Designing A Mars Rover To Launch In 2020

The Mars 2020 rover for this mission would be based on the Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover configuration. It would be car-sized, about 10 feet long (not including the arm), 9 feet wide, and 7 feet tall (about 3 meters long, 2.7 meters wide, and 2.2 meters tall).

In some sense, the rover parts for this Mars mission will be similar to what any living creature would need to keep it "alive" and able to explore.

The Mars 2020 rover would have a:

  • body: a structure that protects the rovers' "vital organs"
  • brains: computers to process information
  • temperature controls: internal heaters, a layer of insulation, and more
  • "neck and head": a mast for the cameras to give the rover a human-scale view
  • eyes and other "senses": cameras and instruments that give the rover information about its environment
  • arm and "hand": a way to extend its reach and collect rock samples for study
  • wheels and "legs": parts for mobility
  • energy: batteries and power
  • communications: antennas for "speaking" and "listening"

The specific parts of the Mars 2020 rover would depend on current pre-project planning, science objectives, and instrument selection.

Related Content

This diagram shows a rover model highlighting the different instruments for NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission. Flags from Spain, Norway and Spain are also next to the instruments from those countries.
Science Instruments
Learn more about science instruments on NASA's Mars 2020 rover.