Here’s how NASA might bring home pieces of Mars…in a Darth Vader helmet?

That mission could launch as soon as 2026


Scientists studying Mars have wanted pieces of the Red Planet here on Earth for decades, and they are finally getting their shot at designing a mission to acquire such souvenirs.

The Apollo program’s legacy of carefully collected moon rocks here on Earth reshaped the science of the moon and Earth alike. A Mars sample-return mission could offer the same sort of potential, but the Red Planet is a more daunting target than the moon. More daunting but well worth the effort, Brian Muirhead, who is leading the effort to develop a Mars sample-return mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, said in a presentation here at the 70th International Astronautical Congress.

“It’s the consensus of science community today,” Muirhead said, “that if we’re going to answer the hardest questions about Mars — like, for example, whether life showed up on Mars — we’re going to need to bring material from Mars to our terrestrial laboratories.”

Read more HERE