Rock samples brought back to Earth from Mars have arrived in China for the first time

Rock samples brought back to Earth from Mars have arrived in China for the first time

Was there life on Mars before? This issue has long occupied researchers, so the number of sampling projects on Mars is on the rise, as the Chinese space agency has announced that by 2031, rock samples can be tested in ground-based laboratories.

Sun Coochou, the planner of the Tianwen-1 mission, shared more information on June 20 about the Chinese Space Agency’s planned Mars sampling program: Samples could be returned to Earth as early as July 2031, ahead of NASA’s 2033 target. Sample return mission Mars from the European Space Agency. The Mars Return Sample will return to the planet the rock samples that Martian Perseverance is currently collecting in Mars crater Jezero, where it has just started its new activities in an area called Hogwallow Flats.

A joint program between NASA and the European Space Agency was supposed to arrive at the Red Planet in 2026 with a landing module to transport the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) to collect warehouses left over from perseverance – the latter of which would eventually deliver its cargo to the Earth Return Orbiter developed by the European Space Agency to bring The rocks to the ground are in an airtight condition. One of the difficulties in carrying out this complex operation is the joint transportation of the Mars rover and the MAV, which, according to NASA analyzes, is useless. modified To land two landing units, but the mission was postponed until 2028 due to the construction of another unit. As a result, the rocks won’t be able to return before 2033 either, which means the Chinese mission will likely yield results sooner and return Mars samples to Earth soon.

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The visual design of the Mars Ascent Rover (Image: NASA)

China’s planned plan will make rock-collecting a little easier than that: During the Tianwen-3 mission, a lander and an AV (Ascent Vehicle) will land to deliver samples to the orbiter on Mars in 2029 and drill. It is done on site, unlike Mars great method And persevere, which populates 477 Mars (Mars day), by collecting samples at a number of locations. For the group, it is possible to use a four-legged robot on the Tianwen-3 mission, which is not an unprecedented idea: NASA also Scheme To send a modified version of Boston Dynamics’ robot dog, Spot, to Mars, as a wheeled solution that could provide more stable and more challenging terrain using a two-legged machine.

According to Chinese plans, the samples will leave Mars in October 2030 and reach Earth in July 2031, so if the schedule is met, China could become the first country to have Martian rocks in its laboratories. By then, samples from another country, if not from Mars, but from one of the planet’s moons may already reveal their secrets to researchers, says the Japan Space Agency (JAXA) by 2029. Bring it back 10 grams of soil samples from Phobos collected as part of the Mars Exploration Mission to the Moons.

(space news Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)



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