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Nasa has said it will send a new rover to Mars in 2020 as the next stepping-stone to a manned mission.

The new robot will be partially based on the same technology that built and successfully landed the $2.5 billion Mars rover Curiosity earlier this year.

It will be launched in 2020, and will reuse the 'Sky Crane' landing system which saw Curiosity lowered on wires safely to the surface, from a levitating platform.

Nasa said basing the new, $1.5 billion robot on Curiosity's "architecture" would help keep costs low.

"The Obama administration is committed to a robust Mars exploration program," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "With this next mission, we're ensuring America remains the world leader in the exploration of the Red Planet, while taking another significant step toward sending humans there in the 2030s."

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