The world of NASA’s human spaceflight program has been a hotbed of controversy for decades.
A growing number of scientists are calling for a new mission to explore the Red Planet and for the agency to abandon plans for the Ares V rocket that will propel astronauts to the Red Sea in 2019.
But the agency has long maintained that it has a mission to Mars that’s worth the risk.
Editor’s note: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that the Mars 2020 mission will be a test of a new robotic rover that will travel to Mars.
The spacecraft is a test vehicle that NASA has been developing for the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) program.
NASA and the European Space Agency are building a rover for Mars exploration that is expected to be completed in 2023.
The MERs will provide NASA with the ability to land on the Red Mars in 2020, rather than the 2021 goal set by the agency.
In the meantime, the agency is working on a Mars 2020 test program that could take as long as five years, according to NASA.
NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission is a $2.5 billion program that will launch into low-Earth orbit on a Delta IV Heavy rocket in 2019 and send humans to Mars in 2022.
The agency has been in talks with the European space agency for years about how to launch the program and is currently developing a rover that would travel to the Martian surface in 2020.
A test of the rover, which will have to travel through harsh Martian conditions, would be the first step to getting humans to the surface on Mars.
The first Mars 2020 rover mission could also provide a first glimpse at how the future of NASA spaceflight will look.
Mars 2020 has two phases.
Phase one involves developing a test flight of a rover to Mars, which NASA is expected in 2021 to conduct.
The first Mars rover will have a rover capable of conducting scientific studies, studying water, and measuring atmospheric pressure.
The rover will use an infrared camera that will study the atmosphere and surface of Mars.
Phase two involves the mission’s launch, a journey that will take at least six months, according the Space Review.
NASA hopes that the first Mars mission will begin in 2022 and could take place over the course of five years.
“The Mars 2020 flight could be the start of a long-term exploration of Mars and its resources, which may be the basis of our long-run exploration of other planets and moons,” NASA administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.
This article originally appeared on SPACE.com