It seems that the upcoming rover that will be making its way over to Mars will not only be equipped to perform more archeological digs, but it will also come with a slew of machinations that will enable this next generation rover to create oxygen on the surface of Mars – when it makes it there a good seven years from now, that is.
This upcoming next generation rover will bring with it a total of seven scientific projects, where all of them intend to help pave the way for future manned missions. Creating oxygen is a no brainer – since us humans require oxygen to live, and if there was some sort of self sustaining method to create an endless supply of oxygen, on major problem is already solved. Next up would be ensuring a constant supply of clean water, of course.
The device used to create oxygen will transform CO2, a gas that dominates the thin Martian air in plentiful amounts. Other than supporting human life, the amount of oxygen could be used to develop rocket fuel in order to sustain return missions. Not only that, the rover will also bring with it a couple of cameras and an experimental weather station, where all of these will add up to a total of 88lb (40kg) of instruments.
The entire Mars 2020 scientific payload will tip the scales at a cool ton, costing $1.9 billion in the process.