NASA and ESA Plan To Bring Martian Soil Samples to Earth

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At this moment, the space probes which studied Mars from its orbit or even from the surface have yielded a lot of thrilling revelations, changing our comprehension regarding the Red Planet and uncovering hints about the creation and evolution of our Solar System. Although it sounds great, the process is very complex.

27 de abril de 2018, 13:25Washington, Apr 27 (Prensa Latina) This week, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) signed an a letter of intent to collect soil samples from Mars and return them to the Earth. The document signed contains a description of how their mission will be fulfilled, each agency having a specific role. And since we're now pretty sure that Mars used to be a less barren, watery planet (albeit billions of years ago), live samples of Martian soil could help us understand what that might've looked like, and if any microbial life could have been living inside of it. We have roved around the surface at four different places, studying the geology and piecing together the history of the surface.

Making the announcement at the ILA Berlin Air and Space Show, which is taking place at the same time as the Mars meeting, Dr Thomas Zurbuchen, Nasa's associate administrator for science, said: "We want to partner with the European Space Agency, but also with other partners".

Kicking off a mission called InSight (because "Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport" is a bit of a mouthful), NASA plans to dig deep beneath Mars' surface for the first time ever in just a few months.

The planet's thin atmosphere makes landing a challenge, and its extreme temperature swings make it hard to operate on the surface.

The next step had to be a mission that would retrieve samples from the Martian surface, blast them into space in a capsule and land them safely on Earth. The rover will pack soil into small canisters during its explorations.

The mission is estimated to last about two years.

A third launch from Earth would provide a spacecraft sent to orbit Mars and rendezvous with the sample containers. The container will be retrieved, placed in quarantine and analyzed by a team of scientists all over the world. Although, that's bad news for a Mars mission, and the figures needed to make a Mars mission a reality simply aren't present right now. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues. He holds a B.A.in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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