Before the year 2030 arrives, we will be able to study rocks from Mars in laboratories on Earth, according to NASA forecasts based on the study of a new procedure to bring the samples .
These samples are planned to be taken thanks to the Mars 2020 mission , which will be launched in July / August 2020, aboard an Atlas V 541 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The procedure would involve launching a Mars lander no earlier than 2026 , equipped with a sample collection vehicle and a rocket, known as a Mars ascent vehicle. The spacecraft would land near the Mars 2020 landing site and send its vehicle to collect the samples stored by said mission .
Those samples would be loaded onto the Mars Ascent Vehicle on the lander, which would then launch them into the orbit of Mars. A separately launched sample collection orbiter would then assemble and collect the sample for a direct return to Earth or cislunar space .
The three finalist landing sites for NASA’s next Martian rover include Northeast Syrtis (a very old part of the surface of Mars), Jezero Crater (once home to an ancient Martian lake), and Columbia Hills (potentially home to an ancient hot spring, explored by NASA’s Spirit rover).