Nasa reveals plans to return Mars rock samples by 2033
Nasa reveals plans to return Mars rock samples by 2033

United States: NASA plans to return 30 Martian rock samples to Earth in 2033, and is sending two small helicopters to assist with the mission.
NASA's announcement of the planned date coincides with China's goal of becoming the first country to sample Mars on Earth by 2031.

NASA's Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars in February 2021, has collected 11 samples so far in search of signatures of ancient life.

Bringing them back to Earth for detailed laboratory research is proving to be a daunting task.

By now, NASA had strongly planned to send another rover to Mars to collect samples and deliver them to the Mars Ascent Vehicle, a robotic lander equipped with its own rocket.

The samples will then be launched into orbit, where they will be collected by a European spacecraft.

However, the second "sample fetch rover" has been removed, and Perseverance will now deliver the precious cargo directly to the lander, which will extract it using a robotic arm.

However, because NASA always plans for the unexpected, it has a backup plan in case Perseverance freezes.
The lander will also carry two mini-helicopters when launched from Earth in 2028 and landing on Mars in the mid-2030s.

Perseverance brought its own helicopter, the Ingenuity, which made the first powered flight to another world and has now completed 29 flights.

The two new helicopters will be slightly heavier, equipped with wheels to move on the ground, and have a smaller arm for recovering samples.

Perseverance would first drop the samples to the ground, then helicopters would pick them up and place them next to the climbing vehicle.
In 2033, the orbiter will return to Earth in the Utah desert.

According to Sun Zhezhou, chief designer of China's first Mars mission Tianwen 1, as well as the Chang'e 3 and Chang'e 4 lunar missions, China aims to send two spacecraft to the Red Planet in 2028, a lander and ascent vehicle. and another with the orbiter and re-entry capsule.

The rocks will be delivered into Mars orbit, and the mission will return to Earth in July 2031, around October 2030.

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