Reaching the Red Planet and returning with samples will finally become a reality. For years, scientists have examined the structure of Martian rocks and soil. They used to send rovers or analyze meteorites that came from Mars. But, with projects such as Perseverance, which are kitted with a sample cache device, we can finally get our part of Martian rocks for research. Even more, since NASA and ESA teamed up
The mission will resemble the Apollo astronauts’ missions who returned with Moon rocks. Back in the day, those rocks unveiled lots of details about the existence of water on the Moon. Scientists also had the opportunity to find out which are the similarities between Earth and Moon. The rocks from Mars could unveil many details about the structure and the evolution of the planet.
A Quest for Martian Rocks is Scheduled This Year
The first mission to Mars is currently prepared for July 2020, despite the tough periods we’re facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Perseverance is a mission managed by NASA’s JPL (the Jet Propulsion Laboratory). The sample return campaign, however, comprises all twenty-two ESA member states, who financed the project last year.
The mission of sample-returning will be a unique thing in the history of space exploration. It involves a 53 million kilometer journey, the collection of samples, and lifting off a return cargo to Earth. Perseverance will serve for a decade and include four liftoffs; the last of it will arise from another planet.
When Perseverance finally finds its way to Mars, the rover will start to examine the ground for almost a year. It will drill and take soil samples to find any proof of past/present life. The samples that are prepared for an Earth return will be kept in the rover’s cache device, a bunch of cigar sized metal bottles.
Initially, it was believed that NASA’s crewed mission to the Red Planet would comprise the astronauts collecting Martian rocks and return home. However, the Mars Sample Return project intends the use of a Sample Fetch Rover (SFR) that will be launched to Mars alongside NASA’s Sample Retrieval Lander (SRL) project in 2026.