The rover has three main mission objectives. They are technology experiments, science experiments, and mission experiments.
Its primary task is to test the performance of rovers in the hostile environment of Mars. This mission will be able to verify new technologies created by scientists and engineers in building this unique land-roving vehicle.
The knowledge gained from the technology experiments aboard the rover will help scientists and engineers plan for future missions. It will advance rover and communications technology and allow NASA to fufill its requirements to return to Mars faster, better and cheaper. The following technology experiments will be performed:
The purpose of the science experiments is to answer questions of scientific interest. These areas include imaging particular features and sampling rocks.
The following science experiments will be performed:
The APXS will be placed against a rock to collect and transmit a spectrum to the lander for relay back to Earth. The spectrum will reveal the rock's composition. In order to achieve this, the APXS will have to be fixed to the rock until 10 hours worth of data have been collected. Additionally, this experiment will measure the soil types.
A black and white image of the rocks that the APXS samples will be taken and transmitted back to Earth.
Mission experiments are those experiments aimed at evaluating the mission. Images of the lander will be taken to assess its condition after touching down on the Red Planet. Plans are to take three images, each 120 degrees apart. If damage is sustained to the lander, additional images can be taken for further investigation.