NASA and ESA Plan to Bring Mars Rocks to Earth
NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are ambitious about bringing Martian rocks to earth to study the possible signs of water on the red planet as many scientists believe that the planet might have hosted some necessary conditions that might have supported life. But the scientists should better understand the neighbouring planet to prove any possibilities and so the intent to bring the rocks to Earth.
Recent missions to the Mars including the Curiosity Rover which is part of NASA’s Science Laboratory Mission (MSL) are already doing their jobs perfectly in analysing the surface samples on Mars. However, conducting lab-grade organic and chemical analysis will be only possible by conducting extensive tests here on Earth. Furthermore, scientists involved in the project are not even sure of the outcomes of these basic experiments.
The very limitations of research led NASA and the ESA to agree work with each other. The two also signed a statement depicting the potential roles that will be carried out by each of them in bringing the rocks from Mars to Earth and also in conducting the research thereafter.
ESA’s director of human and robotic exploration David Parker said in a statement “There is no question that for a planetary scientist, the chance to bring pristine, carefully chosen samples of the Red Planet back to Earth for examination using the best facilities is a mouth-watering prospect,”. “Reconstructing the history of Mars and answering questions of its past are only two areas of discovery that will be dramatically advanced by such a mission,” he added.
Earlier, NASA’s Curiosity Rover collected Martian rocks at Rocknest – a sandy patch on the red planet and the mission’s science team assessed that the samples collected contained a material that is native to Mars.
While the team is very ambitious about the bringing and testing of the rocks, it is well aware that this is not going to be a task that can be accomplished easily. In the first stage, NASA’s Mars rover will collect the surface samples in about 30 canisters that are pen-sized. Then, the canisters prepared by the rover will be left on the Martian surface that will be later collected by another small rover that will part of the second mission. This rover will deliver the containers to a rocket – Mars Ascent Vehicle – that will launch the container into space to be collected by a rendezvous spacecraft to be returned to Earth and go back again to collect more.
Right now, the agencies are busy conducting studies to see the feasibility of continuing this missions will be possible.