Merdeka.com – The first mission to return samples from another planet will land on Earth in 2033, the United States Space Agency (NASA) and European Space Agency (ESA) officials say. The Perseverance rover is currently collecting samples on Mars, citing CNN, Saturday (6/8).
When Perseverance investigates the site of an ancient lake that existed billions of years ago, it collects rock and soil. This material is interesting because it could contain evidence of past microscopic organisms that would reveal whether there was ever life on Mars. Scientists will have the opportunity to use some of the most advanced instruments around the world to study these valuable samples.
The Mars Sampling Program involved a collaboration between the two institutions to take 30 samples from the red planet. Several missions will be launched to Mars later this decade to retrieve and bring samples back safely.
The program is nearing the end of its design phase, and NASA has completed a review of its system requirements. The review will reduce the complexity of future missions and increase the likelihood of a higher success, according to NASA officials.
“The conceptual design phase is when every aspect of the mission plan is put under the microscope,” said Thomas Zurbuchen of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
“There have been several significant and favorable changes to the plan, which can be directly attributed to Perseverance’s recent success at Jezero and the outstanding performance of our Mars helicopter.
It was previously said the sample could return to Earth in 2031, but the orbiter’s planned launch dates for fall 2027 and the lander in summer 2028 have set new arrival dates.
So far Perseverance has collected 11 rock core samples.
“The samples represent an extraordinary array of materials,” said Meenakshi Wadhwa, principal scientist for Mars Sample Returns and director of Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration.
“The latest is a fine-grained sedimentary rock that has the greatest potential to preserve biotilas (substances that provide evidence of past and present life),” explains Wadhwa.
“Working together on historic endeavors like Mars Sample Return not only provides valuable data about our place in the universe, but also brings us closer together here on Earth,” Zurbuchen said.
Intern Reporter: Gracia Irene
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