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The launch of the Curiosity rover to the Red Planet on Saturday brought with it a huge boost in commercial spaceflight.
The $US1.9 billion space programme is expected to take a major step towards commercial launch by 2019.NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission, which is expected launch in 2020, will be the first mission to reach Mars in its current orbit, but the first of several missions to explore its surface.
It will include a lander, rover and an orbital observatory.
Its mission will also be the most ambitious for any rover in history, the first in space since the Apollo era, and one that will test the technologies of NASA’s robotic explorers.
A big part of its mission is testing the capabilities of its robotic explorers and landers, which can reach up to 1.3 kilometres from the surface of the planet.
In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Mr Trump said the lander could reach as far as 2,400 kilometres from Mars, which would make it the fastest robotic lander ever.
The Mars orbiter is designed to collect samples and analyze the Martian atmosphere.
The lander and rover will also have a suite of instruments and other hardware designed to help scientists understand Mars.
The US space agency is already working on its own mission, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN), which is due to launch in 2021.
Mr Trump said he hoped the Trump administration would approve the plan for the landers and rovers to fly by the end of his term in January 2021.
“I hope we’re going to get a good lander to go by the beginning of 2021.
I hope that they do, and we’ll have a good rover, because we’ve got a good spacecraft,” he said.
Mr Donald Trump is due back to Washington in March.
Topics:space-exploration,space-weather,science-and-technology,united-statesFirst posted February 24, 2019 09:48:31Contact Tracey StegallMore stories from New South Wales