NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) announced yesterday, during a meeting in Berlin, in Germany, a statement with the purpose to offer each other support in the future Mars exploration missions and bringing Martian soil probes back home for further studies. The upcoming NASA’s Mars Rover 2020 and ESA’s ExoMars Rover (2nd part of the ExoMars mission which already runs ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter) missions were in the center of the attention during the meeting.
The deal was endorsed by ESA’s David Parker, the head of the Human Exploration and Robotics department within the European Space Agency, and Thomas Zurbuchen, the administrator of the Science Mission Board department within NASA.
At this moment, the space probes which studied Mars from its orbit or even from the surface have yielded a lot of thrilling revelations, changing our comprehension regarding the Red Planet and uncovering hints about the creation and evolution of our Solar System.
However, logically, the next phase of Mars exploration is to take the samples of these discoveries back to Earth so that they can be examined in depth, with the sophisticated equipment in the ESA’s and NASA’s labs. This procedure will help to verify the findings in an independent manner and to reanalyze the obtained samples, over time, as better laboratory technology will come up as the time passes by.
NASA’s Mars Rover 2020 and ESA’s ExoMars Rover- Upcoming Mars exploration missions
In the beginning, the Mars Rover 2020 mission, conducted by NASA, will gather ground probes as it navigates on the Red Planet.
In parallel, ExoMars Rover mission run by ESA is scheduled to reach Mars in 2020, too. ExoMars Rover has the job to pierce the Mars’ surface, drilling up to two meters below the surface of the planet, hoping to discover the evidence that life could have existed on the Red Planet once or, as well, to find life forms living on Mars, as we speak, if they exist.
Besides these two missions, another rover will be landed on Mars to collect the obtained samples, bring them back to the base, place them on a small rocket, and launch the rocket on Mars orbit.
In the end, NASA and ESA will launch a rocket which has the job to retrieve the small container, which contains the probes collected by NASA’s Mars Rover 2020 and ESA’s ExoMars Rover, and once it collects them successfully, the rocket will return the probes to the United States where the samples will be collected and quarantined by an international team of scientists for more in-depth examination of the results of these Mars exploration missions.