According to a recent press release NASA decided to create an Independent Review Board which aims to analyze and offer advice related to the Mars Sample Return Program. The main goal of this program is to bring back samples collected on the Red Planet.
The Perseverance rover, which was launched less than three weeks ago, carries a variety of tools. Among them, we can count an advanced sampling system that uses a drill, a coring arm, and sample tubes, which ensures that the samples are preserved in a clean environment.
Exploring the Red Planet
Perseverance will explore Mars and gather samples from several spots, allowing scientists to determine if life could have existed on Mars at some point. NASA aims to bring the samples to Earth so they can be analyzed in laboratory conditions and with the help of sophisticated techniques.
With the help of the independent review board, NASA plans to process technical concepts at a faster rate while also picking a solution that fulfills the criteria required by the mission. The board will also underline key aspects from past experiences to make better decisions.
Benefits of planning ahead
The use of an independent review board offered impressive boons in the past. For example, the independent review board allowed the agency to correctly estimate the costs and scope of the Roman Space Telescope, a step which accelerated the development of the tool while also preventing delays caused by going over budget.
For now, the plan involves the use of a fetch rover that will recover the samples collected by Perseverance. The rover will transport the samples to an ascent vehicle that will carry them into orbit, where an orbiter will collect them and begin a journey towards Earth.
A number of experts from various fields will be consulted as the project will advance.