December 6, 2012 - Curiosity is to be joined on Mars
by a second rover
based on the same design as its predecessor.
The success of Curiosity has spurred on plans to launch a second rover of the same type in 2020. Most of the technologies from the first mission will be used again including NASA's rocket-powered crane landing system which was tested on Mars for the first time when Curiosity landed back in August. The new rover however will be equipped with new science instruments and land at a different location on the Red Planet to expand upon research opportunities for scientists.
Because the design has already been successfully tested and thanks to the availability of several spare components including a nuclear battery, the new rover will be quicker and cheaper to produce than its predecessor with a budget of $1.5 billion as oppose to the $2.5 billion spent on Curiosity.
The US space agency (Nasa) says it will launch a new rover to Mars in 2020. The vehicle will be based on its Curiosity robot, which landed on the Red Planet in August.