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NASA chooses ASU for Mars 2020 mission

PHOENIX — Arizona State University was selected by NASA to manage operations on the next rover mission to be launched to the surface of Mars in 2020.

ASU will design, deliver and oversee the new mission called Mastcam-Z.

Jim Bell, a professor at ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, will be mainly responsible for overseeing the investigation, and supervising a science team that will be operating and creating the cameras on the rover.

“We are very excited about playing such a critical role in NASA’s next Mars rover,” Bell said in a release, “we are eager to play a role in the selection of the first Martian samples for eventual return to Earth.”

The Mars 2020 rover will be able to identify signs of past life on Mars, and collect samples that could be returned to Earth in the future. It will also test new new technology to benefit future robotic and human exploration of Mars.

Bell plans to involve a significant number of staff, undergraduate students and graduate students in the mission.