Here we have a detailed outline of the projects goals;
- Determine the nature and inventory of organic carbon compounds
- Inventory the chemical building blocks of life (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, and sulfur)
- Identify features that may represent the effects of biological processes (biosignatures)
- Investigate the chemical, isotopic, and mineralogical composition of the Martian surface and near-surface geological materials
- Interpret the processes that have formed and modified rocks and soils
- Assess long-timescale (i.e., 4-billion-year) Martian atmospheric evolution processes
- Determine present state, distribution, and cycling of water and carbon dioxide
- Characterize the broad spectrum of surface radiation, including galactic radiation, cosmic radiation, solar proton events and secondary neutrons
This rover is equipped with not only cameras, but also lasers! Yay! But these lasers are not for randomly blowing shit up like i know you thought they were, nope, they are for detecting types of material and also to see what is below the surface. What is most exciting to me is the overall goal here, which is to put humans on Mars. Yes, we are interested in the collected samples from a scientific stand point, but lets be real, we want spread our collective seed as far as we can reach, it is literally in our nature! This data collection will be the launch pad for the companies already planning on sending the first humans to Mars.
Why are companies and not governments trying to send people to Mars? Well simple answer is we can not afford to do this at all as a nation. The costs are astronomical (ba dum ching) and we have enough problems here on earth that require our full and almost undivided attention. What do you think? Should we funnel money out of the defense fund and into the hands of these rocket scientists and such? Is it worth it to us and our kids to see that our species can do this and perhaps even save us from extinction in the future? I know that last question is a little far fetched but all of these things must be considered before we go slashing NASA’s budget like usual.