ESA and NASA today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to study concepts for missions to bring samples of Martian soil to Earth.
Spacecraft in orbit and on the surface of Mars have made many exciting discoveries, changed our understanding of the planet, revealed clues to the formation of our solar system, and helped us to understand our home planet. The next step is to bring samples to Earth for detailed analysis in sophisticated laboratories, where the results can be independently verified and samples can be analyzed while laboratory techniques continue to improve
Mars on Earth
Mars on the Bringing Earth is not an easy task ̵
A first mission, the NASA 2020 Mars Rover, is to collect surface samples in pen-sized canisters while exploring the Red Planet. Up to 31 canisters are filled and ready for later pickup – Geocaching has gone interplanetary.
During the same period, ESA's ExoMars rover, which will also land on Mars in 2021, will drill up to two meters below the planet (19659007). A second mission with a small rover would land nearby and samples in retrieve a Mars search and rescue operation. This rover would take the samples back to his lander and put them in a Mars Ascent Vehicle – a small rocket to get the soccer-sized container into Mars orbit.
A third launch from Earth would deliver a spacecraft into orbit Mars and rendezvous with the sample containers. Once the samples were safely collected and loaded into an earth-jam vehicle, the spacecraft would return to Earth and land the vehicle in the United States, where the samples will be taken and quarantined for detailed analysis by a team of international scientists
The statement signed today at ILA Berlin by ESA Director for Human and Robotic Exploration, David Parker, and NASA's Associate Administrator for Thomas Zurbuchen, Director of the Science Mission, outlines the possible roles that any space agency could fulfill and how they can support each other.
David says, "A Mars return mission is a tantalizing but achievable vision that lies at the intersection of many good reasons for exploring space
" There is no question that for a planetary scientist the opportunity is untouched to bring carefully selected samples of the Red Planet to Earth for Earth Xamination with the best facilities is a delicious prospect. Reconstructing the history of Mars and answering questions from its past are but two areas dramatically driven by such a mission.
"The challenges of going to Mars and back require an international and commercial partnership" The Best of the Best. At ESA, international collaboration with our 22 member states and other partners is part of our DNA. "
" Previous Mars missions revealed ancient riverbeds and the right chemistry that could support microbial life The Red Planet, "said Thomas," a rehearsal would bring a decisive leap forward in our understanding of the potential of Mars.
"I look forward to working with international and commercial partners to overcome the exciting technological challenges that would allow us to take home a sample of Mars."
The results of the mission studies are reported in the ESA The Council at ministerial level presented in 2019 a decision to further develop these missions.
Infrastructure in Position
ESA's ExoMars orbiter is already orbiting Mars to investigate its atmosphere. This week, it has transmitted data from NASA's Curiosity Rover to Earth and proven itself as a relay satellite. This collaboration demonstrates a strong collaboration with NASA and represents an essential communications infrastructure around the Red Planet.
Insights from the ExoMars Rover mission can help determine which samples are stored and deployed during the Mars return mission be brought to the earth.
NASA's Mars Rover reaches a milestone in manufacturing