NASA is making grand plans to bring a piece of Mars back to Earth. Today, the space agency announced the goals for the unnamed rover — pictured in an artist's rendering above — that will be sent to the red planet in 2020. This is going to be incredible.
The broadly stated goals for the Mars 2020 mission include continuing our indefatigable search for signs of past life, as well as the newly stated objective of collecting samples to bring back to Earth.
The goals were outlined are outlined in a 154 page report (ZIP) prepared by the Mars 2020 Science Definition Team, composed of 19 engineers and scientists. The report basically lists the scientific instruments and payloads, which will be necessary on the next ground vehicle we send to Mars — the vehicle itself will apparently be quite similar to the Curiosity, which landed on the surface of Mars last year. Now it's up to contractors to bid on the right to help NASA fulfil our red destiny. [NASA]