A new Mars mission, which the space agency hopes will begin operations by the end of 2020, is expected to cost around $40bn, according to a report published by a leading technology consultancy.NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers Curiosity and Opportunity are the first to walk on Mars, but it was only after the successful landing of the rover in 2012 that the agency began to develop technologies that could help the explorers get there.
The technology is still being refined, but the agency is confident that its first mission will be an affordable and sustainable one.
The US space agency has announced plans to launch two rovers to Mars in 2021, but with the cost of each of the two roams currently projected at $40-50bn, the cost has now been surpassed.NASA announced the first rovers will be launched into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in 2018, but in January it said the cost would be $50bn to build, operate and launch the first rover from its launch pad at Cape Canaveral.
The cost is likely to be a significant increase from what the agency previously planned.
The Mars 2020 rover will have the same payload capacity as Curiosity and the first mission to Mars is expected in 2022.
The Mars 2020 mission is expected cost around half that of the Curiosity mission.