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NASA plans new rover for Mars 2020 mission

WASHINGTON: NASA’s next mission to Mars in 2020 will feature a souped-up unmanned rover vehicle to search for signs of ancient microbial life in areas of the uninhabitable red planet. The successor to the 2012 Curiosity rover, which could launch in July or August 2020, will be equipped with seven new instruments and re-designed wheels, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said. The new vehicle will study the Mars terrain, above and below the surface, and collect soil and rock samples. “What we learn from the…

Computer glitch blamed for Schiaparelli crash on Mars

PARIS: A tiny lander that crashed on Mars last month flew into the Red Planet at 540 kilometres (335 miles) per hour instead of gently gliding to a stop, after a computer misjudged its altitude, scientists said. Schiaparelli was on a test-run for a future rover meant to seek out evidence of life, past or present, but it fell silent seconds before its scheduled touchdown on October 19. After trawling through mountains of data, the European Space Agency said Wednesday that while much of the mission went according to…