By Jonathan Webb:

BBC News - Mars 2020 rover will pave the way for future manned missions

 76672781 c0114939 curiosity rover artwork spl - Mars 2020 Rover

Nasa's next Martian rover will attempt to make oxygen on the surface of the red planet when it lands there in 2021.

The rover will carry seven scientific projects, aimed at paving the way for future manned missions, seeking evidence of life and storing samples to be brought back in the future.

Among them is a device for turning the CO2 that dominates the thin Martian air into oxygen.

This could support human life or make rocket fuel for return missions.

The rover will also carry two cameras and an experimental weather station among its 88lb (40kg) of instruments.

"This is a really exciting day for us," said astronaut and Nasa administrator John Grunsfeld, announcing the Mars 2020 scientific payload in Washington DC.

The one-tonne, $1.9bn (1.12bn) vehicle will be closely modelled on Curiosity, the rover that touched down on the red planet in August 2012.

Its suite of instruments is downsized compared to Curiosity, which is carrying 165lb (75kg) of scientific kit. Some of that space will be used to package up cylindrical rock samples drilled from the planet's surface.