Space Agencies To Explore How They Can Bring Martian Soil To Earth

April 27, 2018 10:29 am Last Updated: April 27, 2018 11:44 pm

The European Space Agency announced on Thursday that it is collaborating with NASA to look into the possibility of bringing Martian soil samples to Earth.

“Spacecraft in orbit and on Mars’s surface have made many exciting discoveries, transforming our understanding of the planet and unveiling clues to the formation of our Solar System, as well as helping us understand our home planet,” the agency said in a statement.

“The next step is to bring samples to Earth for detailed analysis in sophisticated laboratories where results can be verified independently and samples can be reanalyzed as laboratory techniques continue to improve.”

The agency noted that the effort will take at least three missions from Earth. NASA is slated to collect surface samples from Mars in 2020, which it will leave on the planet for pickup later. The European Space Agency will plan to retrieve the samples around 2021, placing them in a small rocket, which would be sent into orbit to meet with a spacecraft launched from Earth. The samples would be transferred to that craft and taken to Earth.

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