NASA needs help retrieving Mars samples that could confirm existence of alien life

Can anyone help? Elon?
  • NASA needs help to bring back Mars samples
  • The Perseverance rover collected 24 samples
  • NASA has put its original plan to retrieve the samples on hold

Published on Apr 16, 2024 at 4:12PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Apr 17, 2024 at 7:26PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Tom Wood
mars samples nasa

NASA sent out the Perseverance rover to Mars to collect samples, but it now needs help to bring them back.

While the space agency had plans to get samples from Mars back to Earth, its original plan doesn’t seem that appealing now.

Hence, NASA’s initial plan is now on hold until there’s a better and faster way to bring those samples back.

READ MORE: China developing rail gun longer than Boeing 737 for launching astronauts into space

When the Perseverance rover first went out a few years ago, it landed in the middle of the Jezero Crater.

That was a site where there was previously a lake.

It was the perfect place to collect samples to confirm any sign of life that existed in the past.

So far, it has 24 samples in its inventory.

The rover did its job perfectly there and even shared several photos of the red planet’s surface.

But now there’s the problem of bringing them back to our home planet.

NASA’s original plan was too expensive and would take too long.

How much does it cost, you say?

The old plan’s budget was set at $11 billion.

Not only that, but it would take the samples another 16 years to land back on Earth if NASA follows the original plan.

Now, the idea of finding a better way to retrieve those samples starts to make sense.

“We are looking at out-of-the-box possibilities that could return the samples earlier and at a lower cost,” Nicola Fox, head of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a press statement.

He added, “This is definitely a very ambitious goal.

“We’re going to need to go after some very innovative new possibilities for design, and certainly leave no stone unturned.”

But what was the space agency’s original plan?

The general idea was to fire two rockets — one orbiter rocket and another a lander — at Mars.

Essentially, the lander rocket would land on the red planet’s surface, where the Perseverance rover stashed samples.

There, it would launch another rover to load the test tubes onto a smaller rocket inside the big one, then fire away to reach Earth.

As complex as it may seem, NASA will likely not proceed with this plan.

Other space agencies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX are also working on Mars missions and might assist NASA with this mission.

Some images used in this story were generated using AI.

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