Discover the new, very daring scenario of re-sampling the rocks

A new scenario for a Mars sample return mission is being developed by the European Space Agency and NASA. The two agencies yesterday presented a new mission architecture in order to reduce its complexity, and what changes in the scenario of operations on Mars. The date of the return of the Martian samples remains unchanged, in 2033.

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[EN VIDÉO] inflatable mars sampler
To retrieve a container of freshly taken samples from the Red Planet in Mars orbit, Thales Alenia Space designed this inflatable clutch. Here we see it opening (movement is accelerated ten times) and then closing on the container (the ball) and closing it. This device can also be used to capture space debris. © Thales Alenia Space

Since landing at Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021, perseverance rover Eleven samples were collected from Carrots of rocks and a sample of the atmosphere. While the rover was a model NASA Her group continues, on Earth, the mission that will bring them back to Earth continues.

Yesterday, NASA and the European Space Agency announced a new mission structure and new scenario on Mars Return these samples. Thomas Zurbuchen, associate director of the US Space Agency’s Science Mission Directorate, said: Important and beneficial changes have been made to the program, which can be directly attributed to the recent successes of perseverance Jezero and the impressive performance of [l’] Mars helicopter “.

Concretely, NASA would like to use perseverance to bring samples to the MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle), The Rocket Which will be used to send it to Mars orbit. So the European Space Agency’s Fetch rover, built by Airbus, which was to retrieve samples and bring them to the MAV, as well as the lander that was to take them to Mars, were abandoned. Thus, relying on a persistent rover alone to transport samples is a huge technological adventure.

Two helicopters to support perseverance

The most surprising announcement is NASA’s decision to use two helicopters for this mission! Their design is inspired by the design ofcleverness Who made 29 trips to Mars and survived more than a year after it Duration Initially planned life. NASA did not detail the role and modus operandi of these two flying mechanisms, only stating that they will be used as a backup to retrieve samples if Perseverance cannot bring them to the MAV. still important Robotics Very complicated to implement.

The platform from which you will bring the MAV and the two helicopters sample lander loopback, with a robotic arm provided by the European Space Agency to retrieve and transport samples in the container and the contents of the MAV. This arm will also have a spare function. If persistence and two helicopters can’t bring the samples to the MAV, this European arm will be able to do the relief collection.

release dates Capture the satellite and return it to Earthprovided by the European Space Agency and sample lander loopbackare respectively provided inFall 2027 and summer 2028. Samples are expected to arrive on Earth in 2033, two years later than those from Chinese MSR mission.

Bringing samples from Mars to Earth will allow scientists around the world to examine samples with sophisticated instruments that are too large and complex to be sent to Mars. Above all, this will allow future generations to study it at more or less regular intervals as analytical techniques advance, just as with the Lunar samples from the Apollo missions.

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