New Delhi: In a first of its kind feat, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will be attempting to a sample of Mars back to Earth for scientific research. Earlier this week, NASA announced the results of an Independent Review Board (IRB) evaluation of its planned Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission that would bring a bit of the red planet back for study purposes. Also Read - Space Tech-startup to Send India’s First Homegrown Earth-imaging Satellite on ISRO Rocket
The historic mission will be carried out by NASA in an international partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and the MSR campaign will require three advanced space vehicles. Also Read - Indian Restaurant in UK Attempts to Send Samosa Into Space, it Crash-lands in France
On November 10, the official Twitter handle of the space agency tweeted that they are now ready to undertake a new campaign to return the first samples from Mars. Also Read - NASA Approves Two New Missions to Explore the Sun in 2021 | Details
The space agency also issued a statement saying, “Following an examination of the agency’s ambitious Mars Sample Return plan, the board’s report concludes that NASA is prepared for the campaign, building on decades of scientific advancements and technical progress in Mars exploration.”
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, “Mars Sample Return is something NASA needs to do as a leading member of the global community. We know there are challenges ahead, but that’s why we look closely at these architectures. And that’s why in the end, we achieve the big accomplishments.”
Sample return is a top priority of the National Academies’ Planetary Science Decadal Survey for 2013-2022, and NASA has worked to mature the critical capabilities and overall MSR concept for the past three years. The board acknowledged the longstanding cooperation between NASA and ESA in robotic and human space exploration as an asset for the robust campaign and commended both agencies’ early and in-depth analysis of MSR implementation approaches to inform future planning and development, said the official statement.
“NASA is committed to mission success and taking on great challenges for the benefit of humanity, and one way we do that is by ensuring we are set up to succeed as early as possible,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.
Zurbuchen said, “I thank the members of this board for their many hours of work resulting in a very thorough review. We look forward to continued planning and mission formulation in close partnership with ESA. Ultimately, I believe this sample return will be well worth the effort and help us answer key astrobiology questions about the Red Planet – bringing us one step closer to our eventual goal of sending humans to Mars.”