On April 27, 2018, NASA and ESA signed an agreement of intent to create a mission to return samples of Martian soil to Earth. Devices in orbit and the surface of the Red Planet sent a lot of amazing discoveries, which made it possible to better understand the process of the formation of the solar system and our planet. The next step is to deliver samples for detailed study in the laboratory.
From Mars to Earth
However, the transportation of samples is not easy. For this you need at least 3 missions. And one of them has never been executed. It is about launching a rocket to the Red Planet.
NASA's first mission, the Mars 2020 rover, will collect samples in a pen-sized container. Approximately 31 containers should be filled. In 2021, the ExoMars rover must land to drill a well 2 meters deep and find the presence of life. The third launch will ensure the presence of a spacecraft in the Martian orbit to load the filled containers and deliver it back to Earth.
The statement outlines the potential tasks that each agency will perform, and establishes mutual support between them. No one doubts that the project is an attractive prospect for studying possible signs of life.
The mission seems difficult, so there can not do without international and trade partnership. Early studies of Mars revealed ancient channel streams and the necessary chemistry to maintain microbial life.
Infrastructure in place
The ESA ExoMars missions have already surrounded Mars to explore the atmosphere. This week, information was received from the navigator Curiosity, proving the functioning as a relay satellite.