Mission 2020: A Candidate Landing Site in Gusev Crater

Gusev Crater imaged from orbit by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE camera.
January 26, 2016
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As we did for Phoenix in 2008 and the Mars Science Laboratory in 2012, HiRISE has been imaging landing sites for a potential rover mission in 2020.

This image was captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera on Jan. 26, 2014.

With HiRISE resolution, mission teams can examine what areas of Mars are flat enough to touchdown safely and also investigate the terrain to satisfy scientific research goals. Gusev Crater, a massive and ancient impact crater, was also the landing site for the rover Spirit in January 2004.

With this image, the science rationale was to investigate nearby opaline silica, carbonates and other aqueous phases.