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NASA, ESA Establish Research Group That Will Study Martian Rock Samples

Mars exploration

NASA, ESA Establish Research Group That Will Study Martian Rock Samples

NASA and the European Space Agency have set up a new group that will focus on studying Mars rock and sediment samples.

The Mars Sample Return Campaign Science Group consists of 16 scientists from the U.S., Europe, Canada and Japan who will create a roadmap for Martian sediment research. According to Michael Myers, Mars Exploration Program lead scientist at NASA headquarters, the group will establish the process for decision-making and will design the procedures that will allow other scientists to contribute to advancements in the field.

The first group meeting is slated for June 28 and 29, NASA said Tuesday.

Some of the scientists who are part of the group are Laura Rodriguez from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Michael Thorpe from the Johnson Space Center, Lydia Harris from the University of Glasgow, Ernst Hauber from the German Aerospace Center, Kimberly Tait from the Royal Ontario Museum and Maria-Paz Zorzano Mier from Spain’s National Institute for Aerospace Technology.

The Mars Sample Return Campaign is a joint mission between NASA and ESA that aims to gather Martian rock and sediment samples and send them back to Earth for study. Samples will be collected by the Perseverance rover at the Jezero Crater. Another rover will travel to the Martian surface, retrieve the samples from Perseverance, then blast off into Martian orbit, where it will be captured by a spacecraft for transport back to Earth.

The samples are expected to reach Earth by the early- to mid-2030s.

The Mars Sample Return Campaign would be the first mission to return samples from another planet and would be the first launch from the surface of another planet. It would also fulfill a solar system exploration goal that has been a high priority in the last three National Academy of Sciences Planetry Decadal Surveys.

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Category: Space

Tags: European Space Agency Mars Sample Return Campaign Science Group Mars Sample Return Program Michael Myers NASA partnership planetary exploration research group space