Details of how NASA will deliver samples of Mars to Earth have become known. However, the dates of the mission have not yet been disclosed.
The sample return process will require several steps, the first of which is the preparation and sealing of surface material and other samples using the Perseverance rover. The rover will then drop the samples, and much later, a separate mission will go to Mars along with a lifeboat equipped with the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV).
The rover will find the samples, grab them and deliver them to the boat. The MAV will then rise from the surface and meet with an orbiter orbiting Mars. At this point, the samples will be transferred into orbit, which will leave Mars and travel back to Earth to deliver these samples.
At the same time, engineers are required to “provide propulsion systems for the MAV, as well as other ancillary equipment and logistics services,” explained NASA.
Reporters point out that most of the technical tasks will be taken over by Northrop Grumman, so it is difficult to be sure that the soil will be delivered to Earth on time or within the planned budget. For example, the James Webb Space Telescope was supposed to launch in 2007, and its total cost was supposed to be $ 500 million. However, it has not yet been launched. The program’s budget is already $ 10 billion.
Previously, scientists from NASA conducted tests during which the Perseverance device traveled for the first time on the surface of Mars. Engineers will conduct several more of these tests before sending the rover out in search of life.