The European Space Agency (ESA) have teamed up with Airbus to design a new rover that will head to Mars and retrieve the first ever martian soil samples from the planet to be later brought back safely to Earth for analysis. The rocket will then rendezvous with a European orbiter, which will bring the samples back to earth. It will be used to deploy a so-called Sample Fetch Rover, a machine Airbus is now working on. For the first time about the flight to Mars Alissa thought in 3 years, when I watched the TV show "the Dreamers".
Simultaneously, ESA's ExoMars rover will be drilling below the Martian surface to search for evidence of life, and the ExoMars orbiter now sampling Mars' atmosphere will form a crucial part of the communications infrastructure for the Sample Return mission, for which it will act as a relay satellite. The vehicle will then film it when the rocket blasts off, recording the first liftoff from Mars. It'll a number of years before we see Mars samples arrive on Earth, however. The samples will re-enter Earth's atmosphere and land in the U.S. before the end of the next decade.
Airbus is no stranger to rover designs and is already building the ExoMars rover, which is set to launch to Mars in 2021 and collect data from the planet.
The Toulouse, France-based company said Thursday that the Mars Sample Return mission will involve sending the Mars Sample Fetch Rover to the red planet's surface to retrieve 36 tubes containing soil samples, which NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission will have collected and left for pick-up.
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The job of the preceding Mars 2020 rover will be to drill and dig up soil samples and to place them in more than 30 tubes at various points.
David Parker, Director of Human and Robotic Exploration at ESA, said: "Bringing samples back from Mars is essential in more than one way".
The second mission, ESA's Fetch, launches in 2026 and is tasked with retracing Mars 2020's path and collect these sample containers, which it will be placed inside a "box of delights".