We all know that NASA is seriously considering the idea that in the future humans will build themselves a colony on Mars. But this is part of a difficult and long process that can take decades or maybe even centuries. Until then, humanity has to do all it can to uncover as many mysteries as possible about Mars.
Astronomers had been thinking a lot in the past about bringing to Earth a sample from Mars in order to analyze better the Martian soil. Now, it looks like it will become a reality since the budget for 2021 will provide about $2.7 billion for planetary science. This amount includes $233 million for the Mars Sample Return mission.
The Mars 2020 rover should do the job
The Mars 2020 rover is expected to launch this summer towards the Red Planet, seal some samples in tubes and leave them close to the Jezero Crater. Afterwards, a smaller rover will have to pick them up and give them to a lander. Finally, a rocket will be carrying the samples to Earth.
Jonathan Lunine, a planetary scientist at Cornell University, claims that bringing Martian samples to Earth for further study “will be an enormous advance in terms of the science of Mars and … [the] possibility that it might have even had life at some point,”
Finding any life forms elsewhere in the Solar System besides Earth is the ultimate goal for a lot of astronomers. Mars seems to be the only candidate, considering that the other two rocky planets besides our own are way too hot to sustain any life: Mercury and Venus. Another chance of finding alien life forms is to explore some of Jupiter’s and Saturn’s moons.
However, NASA cannot bring those Martian samples to Earth on its own. The American space agency is set to collaborate with ESA (European Space Agency) to get the job done.