Seeing as Rosalind the rover will never come back to Earth with it’s samples, will we ever touch martian rocks for ourselves?
It seems likely that one day, probably a few decades form now, there will be regular manned flights to Mars. So that’s one way you might be able to touch Mars rocks.
But before then we’ll be able to touch Mars rocks here on Earth!
How are we planning to get martian rocks to Earth?
There is ANOTHER team of space engineers who are working on ANOTHER rover.
They are scientists from NASA and the European Space Agency, and they’re working on a joint mission called the Mars Sample Return Campaign.
This rover will be able to collect samples and leave them in special canisters on the Martian surface.
Then in a later mission, a European ‘Sample Fetch Rover’ will collect the canisters and load them onto a ‘Mars Ascent Vehicle’ which will lift off and carry them into orbit around Mars.
The final stage will see a European ‘Earth Return Orbiter’ capture the basketball-size sample container orbiting Mars and return it to Earth.
So will we be able to see and touch Mars rock in a museum in our life-time?
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