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Thursday, December 8, 2022

NASA and ESA Plan to Bring the Rock Samples to Earth in 2033

A few helicopters, a Martian rocket, and an interplanetary transport will all be used in this bold scheme

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Russell Chattaraj
Russell Chattaraj
Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

UNITED STATES: The Perseverance rover from the US space agency is almost done with its initial set of Martian goals.

The NASA robot has gathered a wide variety of rock samples, which it will shortly place on the surface in preparation for later flights to transport them to Earth. The vehicle has been in the Jezero Crater for 17 months, draped beneath a rocket crane.

Two perseverance sampling locations in Jezero’s delta. Photo Credit: Twitter
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Scientists are convinced by what ‘Percy’ (Perseverance) has seen since that the rover is in the ideal location to look for life.

Since it is exceedingly unlikely that any living things are present on Mars due to its harsh climate, The rover is not searching for any living things right now. Instead, it is looking for signs of biology that may have existed when Jezero was covered by a lake billion years ago. 

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Scientists believe that these “wonderful” rock samples deposited in “a depot” in the coming months have preserved this ancient history.

Sample collection and rock analysis at ‘Wildcat Ridge’. Photo Credit: Twitter

NASA and the European Space Agency are developing a strategy to rescue the rock cache. Another landing mechanism, a few helicopters, a Martian rocket, and an interplanetary transport will all be used in this bold scheme.

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The samples are expected to return to Earth in 2033. Some samples of the igneous, or volcanic, rocks that Perseverance extracted from the crater bottom will be included in the delivery. These will mostly tell the history of Jezero before the lake’s water intrusion.

Perseverance has been working on the 40-meter-high scarp that symbolises the delta’s edge for the past four months. In their protective titanium tubes, the rock samples can be laid down on the ground on a nearby flat area of the crater floor when the robot soon drives off this slope. 

JPL project systems engineer Rick Welch said, “We’re looking at the possibility of putting down 10 to 11 sample tubes here on the surface.”

More samples need to be collected by the scientists. Therefore, the robot’s future movements may be the focus of the recovery strategy. Events on Mars will determine the eventual outcome.

Also Read: NASA’s Perseverance Rover Finds Signs of Martian Water History

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  • Russell Chattaraj

    Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

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