In August this year, the Curiosity robot completed seven years of exploration of the Red Planet, covering a total of 21 kilometers along the Gale Martian crater, climbing 358 meters from Mount Sharp and collecting 22 samples along the way. The autonomous “little” is for now the only one on Mars, but it won't be for much longer. NASA has been preparing for some time to send the Mars 2020 rover to the planet. Added to this are the projects of the European, Russian and Chinese space agencies, scheduled for launch in the summer of 2020.
The ExoMars mission, carried out by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscomos, wants to put the Rosalind Franklin rover on Mars to see if there was ever life on the red planet by analyzing the components that make up its Martian surface. The site of "mooring" is known since November 2018: Oxia Planum, near the Martian equator, for having nearby land previously rich in water and which may have hosted some form of life.
However, after two failed tests on the use of the parachute that guarantees the safe landing of the spacecraft with the robot on Mars, the agencies are in a real race against time this summer. The ExoMars mission has been planned for almost 10 years and is due to launch the next phase in the summer of 2020, and if the necessary parachute corrections cannot be performed, the mission will have to be postponed until 2022.
China, for its part, already landed the Chang'e-5 spacecraft on the moon's hidden side in January this year, but its ambitions also include reaching the Red Planet. In November, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation successfully tested the landing tests for the mission that will take a rover to Mars, reported to Reuters. Although it has a tentative name, Huoxing-1, and still has a planned landing site, the robot will have a mission similar to that of its colleagues: look for signs of past or even current life.