Because it landed on Mars in 2021, NASA’s Perseverance Rover has been pottering across the purple planet, doing what Dad does at Costco: quietly hoovering up samples. And identical to Dad does with these tasters of jumbo shrimp, Perseverance is already making ready to get these samples residence. 

It’s a part of the Mars Sample Return Program, a years-long mission between NASA and the European Area Company that may carry to Earth the first-ever specimens of rock and dirt collected from the Martian floor, in addition to (hopefully) a vial of Martian ambiance. The goal is to bring the samples back by 2033, with many interim steps alongside the way in which.

The complicated mission will ship a brand new lander that may contact down on Mars, carrying two Ingenuity-style helicopters and a pattern return rocket. The plan is for the Perseverance rover to drive its samples to the lander, with the helicopters appearing as backup. 

As soon as the specimens arrive on the lander, they will be dealt with by a collection of robots and transferred onboard the 3-meter-tall Mars Ascent Car. Then they will blast into Martian orbit to fulfill ESA’s Earth Return Orbiter for the journey residence. 

This illustration reveals the bounty of robots required to drag off the Mars Pattern Return mission.


It is a complicated mission with a variety of shifting elements. In our newest video within the CNET Explains collection, we have a look at what it takes to get items of one other planet again to Earth. 

We break down the mission step-by-step, all of the autonomous robots that must work collectively flawlessly on a planet as much as 400 million miles away. And we discover out why a number of valuable vials of Martian materials may unlock the secrets and techniques of our nearest planetary neighbor and provides us bodily proof of historic life elsewhere in our photo voltaic system. 

For a deep dive into the Mars Pattern Return mission, take a look at the video above.

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