NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover launched in July and reach the surface of the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021. This automobile-sized rover will search for signs of ancient microbial life using a coring drill at the end of its robotic arm. It has the capability to gather samples of Martian rock as well as regolith (broken rock / dust), and hermetically seal them in collection tubes. The rover can deposit these samples at designated locations on the Martian surface or store them internally. Read more for two videos and additional information.
NASA will then provide respective components for a Sample Retrieval Lander mission and an Earth Return Orbiter mission, with launches planned in the latter half of this decade. The former aims to deliver a Sample Fetch Rover and Mars Ascent Vehicle to the surface of Mars. Perseverance also provides a potential capability for delivery of collection tubes to the lander, while a robotic arm on the lander will transfer the samples into a container embedded in the nose of the Mars Ascent Vehicle.
- Features 3 LEGO builds illustrating the areas of expertise of the 4 featured women of NASA
- Includes 4 minifigures: Nancy Grace Roman, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride and Mae Jemison
- Nancy Grace Roman’s build features a posable Hubble Space Telescope with authentic details and a projected image of a planetary nebula
- Margaret Hamilton’s build features a stack of book elements, representing the books of listings of Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) onboard flight software source code
- Sally Ride and Mae Jemison’s build features a launchpad and Space Shuttle Challenger with 3 removable rocket stages
Returning samples of Mars to Earth has been a goal of planetary scientists since the early days of the space age, and the successful completion of this MSR key decision point is an important next step in transforming this goal into reality. MSR is a complex campaign, and it encapsulates the very essence of pioneering space exploration – pushing the boundaries of what’s capable and, in so doing, furthering our understanding of our place in the universe,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters in Washington.