Sci-Tech

Here's what NASA's new rover will look like on Mars

An artist gives us a compelling portrait of NASA's upcoming Mars rover when it reports for future duty on a planet far, far away.

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An artist's concept of the Mars 2020 rover on the Red Planet.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Mars 2020 rover is scheduled to join its NASA siblings Opportunity and Curiosity on the Red Planet in just a few years' time. An artist's concept highlighted by NASA as an Image of the Day on Tuesday shows us what this newest rover will look like once it lands and starts exploring the rocky surface of Mars.

The Mars 2020 rover is based on the design of the Curiosity rover, but with some welcome upgrades, including re-worked wheels. Curiosity has had some issues with wheel wear. It will also include a drill built to extract samples from rocks, which could one day be returned to Earth by future Mars missions. The 2020 mission is focused on looking for signs of past microbial life and assessing Mars as a destination for human exploration.

NASA scientists are still deciding where to land the rover, but have narrowed the possibilities down to three sites.

The artist's interpretation of the coming mission makes it feel more real than ever before. If all goes as planned, the rover will launch on its journey in July or August of 2020.