How the ESA and NASA Will Bring Rocks Back From Mars #SpaceSaturday
Soon we’ll have rocks from Mars brought back to Earth. Sample-return missions have long been a goal for space agencies and now, with a coordinated effort from the European Space Agency and NASA, a workable plan has been laid out. More from Universe Today:
Perseverance‘s sample-return mission will be an unprecedented feat in the history of space exploration, involving a 53 million km (33 million mi) trip, the collection of samples, and launching a return vehicle to Earth. The mission will span a decade and involve four launches, the last of which will originate from another planet.
Once it reaches Mars, the rover will explore the surface for over a year, taking drill and soil samples to search for evidence of past (or present) life. Those samples that are intended for a return to Earth will be stored in the rover’s cache instrument, a series of cigar-sized metal cylinders that will be left on the surface for pickup at a later date.
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