magic starSummarize by Aili

NASA is asking for help to retrieve Mars samples that could be the first evidence of alien life

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses NASA's Perseverance Mars rover and the challenges surrounding the Mars Sample Return mission to bring the collected samples back to Earth.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover and the Mars Sample Return Mission

1. What is the main mission of the Perseverance rover?

  • The Perseverance rover's main mission is to collect samples of rock and sediment from Jezero Crater, the site of an ancient lake, in the hopes of finding signs of ancient Martian microbial life.

2. What were the original plans for the Mars Sample Return mission?

  • The original plan for the Mars Sample Return mission involved launching two rockets to Mars - one carrying a lander and one carrying an orbiter. The lander would retrieve the samples collected by Perseverance and launch them into Mars orbit, where the orbiter would capture them and return them to Earth.

3. What are the issues with the original Mars Sample Return plan?

  • The original plan has become "mind-bendingly complicated" and the projected cost has ballooned to $8-$11 billion, which is too expensive. Additionally, the timeline has been extended to two decades, which is unacceptably long.

4. Why is NASA scrapping the original plan and asking companies for new ideas?

  • NASA is scrapping the original plan because the $11 billion price tag and the 2040s timeline are unacceptable. The agency is looking for "out-of-the-box" and more innovative proposals from companies that can return the samples earlier and at a lower cost.

[02] NASA's Search for New Proposals

1. What is NASA's timeline for receiving and evaluating new proposals?

  • NASA is asking companies to submit short proposals by May 17, and then the agency will choose a few competitors to further develop their ideas over a 90-day period, with complete proposals due by late fall or early winter.

2. What types of companies is NASA hoping to work with?

  • NASA is looking to work with its most "tried-and-true" contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, and SpaceX, as well as newer startups like Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines that are getting a foot in the door through the agency's new moon program.

3. What are the key challenges for the return trip from Mars to Earth?

  • Launching from Mars and returning the samples to Earth is a major technological leap, as it has never been done before. NASA acknowledges that this will be the most challenging aspect of the mission, no matter what new proposal is selected.
Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
ยฉ 2024 NewMotor Inc.