The next Mars Rover will make oxygen on the red planet when it lands in 2021, potentially gearing up to support human life.
The next Martian rover will carry out seven projects in the hopes of preparing for future manned missions, collecting samples and looking for evidence of life. One of these seven projects will be to turn the CO2 that engulfs Mars into oxygen. This could potentially help support human life on Mars and can help create rocket fuel for return missions. The rover will also be equipped with two cameras and an experimental weather station.
The $1.9 billion project will resemble its predecessor Curiosity, which landed on Mars in August 2012. It will be downsized in the weight of instruments it carries, but some of the extra space will be used to collect rock samples of the planet's surface. The hope is that these samples can be shipped home on future return missions.
The 2020 rover will be analyzing Mars' geology and chemistry of the soil and rocks. The rover's cameras will, in one specific configuration, be able to record 3D movies, another first for NASA.