The US space agency (NASA) has announced plans to launch a new robotic rover on Mars in 2020. The new vehicle will be based on the Curiosity Rover, which landed on the Red Planet back in August.
"The Obama administration is committed to a robust Mars exploration program," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "With this next mission, we're ensuring America remains the world leader in the exploration on the Red Planet, while taking another significant step toward sending humans there in the 2030s."
The Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6, 2012.
According to BBC News, the 2020 rover will share many of the same characteristics of the current rover, most notably its "novel entry, descent and landing mechanism."
NASA Science Administrator John Grunsfeld has said that while engineering of the 2020 rover will look similar to the engineering of the Curiosity rover, the instruments in the 2020 rover will most likely be different.
On August 28, 2012, The Mars Rover Curiosity transmitted a song from Mars by Black Eyed Peas rapper/singer Will.i.a.m.
The song is appropriately named "Reach for the Stars."
"I know that Mars might be far, but baby it ain't really that far. Let's reach for the stars," Will.i.a.m sings.
The 2020 rover will cost $1.5 billion, The New York Times reports.
Budget constraints forced NASA to pull out of a series of missions with Europe set for 2016 and 2018, Reuters reports. Now, Russia will provide the vehicle and equipment that were set to be provided by NASA.
On Tuesday, along with its announcement about the 2020 rover, NASA also announced that it will still participate with Europe on the 2016 and 2018 missions, but on a much more limited scale, The NY Times reports.