NASA’s InSight spacecraft set for touch down on the red planet

At least five different kinds of rocks, including "clays and carbonates that have high potential to preserve signatures of past life", are believed to lie in the crater, just north of the Martian equator, the United States space agency said.

USA space agency NASA has found a suitable landing site for its Mars 2020 rover mission, which is scheduled to launch in July 2020. "Getting samples from this unique area will revolutionise how we think about Mars and its ability to harbour life".

Jezero Crater, whose name comes from the Serbian word for lake, won out over three other finalist sites near the Martian equator: Midway and Northeast Syrtis, plus Columbia Hills (which is where NASA's Spirit rover roamed a decade ago).

The material carried into the delta from a large watershed may also contain a wide variety of minerals from inside and outside the crater, it added. Like Curiosity, Mars 2020 would be lowered to the surface from a rocket-powered "Sky Crane" platform, which NASA says is the safest way to land a 1-ton payload. Only 40% of missions sent to the Red Planet by any agency have been successful.

It will land at a site called Elysium Planitia.

The lander will dig deeper into Mars than ever before, reaching a depth of roughly 5 metres. The landing is scheduled to take place at 11pm (Doha time).

The geologic diversity that makes Jezero Crater interesting to scientists also makes it a challenge for the rover's entry, descent and landing. A huge river delta surrounds the crater and stretches for many miles in several directions.

Image: NASA has announced the rover will land in the Jezero Crater.

Jezero Crater will be where NASA's yet-to-be-named rover will land on February 18, 2021, the space agency announced today.

"Because there are so many ancient rocks on the surface of Mars, this information is more accessible", said Meyer.

"The Mars 2020 engineering team has done a tremendous amount of work to prepare us for this decision".

Following a 205-day journey, Nasa's InSight Mars Lander is set to touch down on Mars to begin a thorough exploration of the planet's inner space - and the landing will be streamed live at Qatar National Library on November 26, Monday. Insight will try to answer crucial scientific questions on Mars interior and how it is different from the one of our planet.

  • Joey Payne