Loaded to the brim with samples, a robotic Mars Ascent Vehicle rockets off the planet under the watchful eye of an accompanying mini-rover.
Credit: NASA/JPL



How best to robotically tow back to Earth soil and rock samples of Mars is now in vigorous discussion.

The enterprise calls to mind part of the lyrics from a Stevie Wonder classic: “Here I am baby. Oh, you’ve got the future in your hand. Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours.”

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission is a spacecraft being cast as the first stage in hauling home specimens of the Red Planet.

Tests are underway at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to demonstrate a direct to Earth Mars return sample capsule and a high-speed desert impact.
Credit: NASA/JPL





Seal the deal

To seal the deal, NASA has created a Returned Sample Science Board. A half-day workshop on where this effort now stands took place last month.

For detailed information, go to my new Space.com article:

Mars Sample Return: Scientists Debate How to Bring Red Planet Rocks to Earth


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