NASA plans to bring sample from Mars to Earth
Washington : NASA has revealed its plan on bringing some sample from the Red planet to Earth, which sounds like a sci-fi Hollywood movie, but is a reality.
Involving multiple spacecrafts, rovers, touchdowns and the first ever rocket launch from a planet other than ours, the soaringly ambitious international endeavour will bring Martian rocks to scientists in just over a decade.
If everything stays on plan then we can see the first step of it in July, when Perseverance rover will be launched. It is expected that the rover will be landing on Mars in February next year.
The rover will land on the Jezero crater which is home to river delta that could hold traces of ancient Martian life. Perseverance will then drive around for many kilometres collecting samples of the Martian surface in 30 small geological sampling tubes. The rover will be enabled with a drill and soil scoop.
There have been questions on how these tubes will find their way back to the Earth, the agency has claimed that they have found a solution and it will be accomplished.
The finalised plan involves two more spacecrafts that will be sent to Mars in 2026. The first spacecraft “Mars ascent vehicle”- a small spacecraft with a container for the samples, will land in the crater. Next, a small rover will make its way to Perseverance and collect the samples. If things go according to plan, the rover is scheduled to be in action during a season free of Martian dust storms and cold winter temperatures.
Next, the samples will be brought back to the Mars ascent vehicle which will then blast off and place the container in the Martian orbit. This will mark a historical move as no nation has ever launched a craft from the surface of Mars or any other interplanetary body for that matter.
According to the plan, the second spacecraft will manoeuvre itself next to the sample container, pick it up and fly it back to earth. This will be another first as not once in history have two spacecrafts come in contact in the Mars orbit.
It is speculated that the samples will return on Earth by September 2031.
The overall tasks will be carried out in joint cooperation of NASA and ESA. While NASA works on the Mars ascent vehicle and sample retriever lander, ESA will work on the small rover and the trip back to earth.
“We can learn about Mars in our own laboratories, it’s going to be fantastic” says Michael Meyer, lead scientist of the mission.