NASA has made little progress on future Mars missions beyond a 2020 rover in an effort to replace aging spacecraft currently in orbit around the planet, Space News reported Friday.
The space agency has prioritized the establishment of an orbiter that will work to relay communications for spacecraft on Mars’ surface and carry high-resolution cameras and others instruments, Jeff Foust writes.
“It’s a difficult environment to get new missions into the program right now, and so we continue to work hard to try to build the advocacy necessary to get some missions.” said Jim Watzin, director of the agency’s Mars Exploration Program.
“Somewhat disappointingly, we are still in a situation where we have no missions beyond 2020 on the books that are approved or budgeted,” he added.
The Mars 2020 Rover is under development at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.