NASA is asking the public for comment on the environmental assessment of their Mars sample return effort.
The project in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) aims to bring to Earth samples collected by the Mars Persistence rover, perhaps as early as 2033. Once they are here, the Scientists in laboratories around the world will scrutinize them for signs of life on Mars and clues to the Red Planet’s evolutionary history.
Comments are due May 16, either online or by mail. The agency also plans to hold two virtual public meetings at the link. Meetings will take place on Wednesday (May 4) at 3pm EDT (1900 GMT) and Thursday (5 May) at 8pm EDT (0000 GMT on Friday, May 6).
“Public meetings will include briefings on the status of the National Environmental Policy Act process for the proposed program, as well as its scientific goals and objectives,” NASA said. know in a statement April 29.
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“The meetings will also cover why the U.S. Air Force-operated Utah Test and Training Range is a suggested landing site for samples and what planners are doing to ensure the safe and secure return of samples – a topic known as protecting the planet backward,” the agency added.
Public comments will be considered during the development of a draft Mars sample return environmental impact statement, which will also be published for public comment in 2022 if the schedule is in line. case, NASA officials said.
The request for public input comes after a number of changes to the sample return campaign were announced a few weeks ago.
In March, NASA determined it would be more appropriate to develop a second lander due to the mission’s mass requirements. The second lander will carry a “fetch detector” from the ESA, while the first will carry a NASA-developed Mars rover (MAV).
The mission required the Fetch rover to take Perseverance’s cached samples, which the rover was collecting on the floor of Jezero Crater on Mars, and then place them in the MAV. MAV will launch samples to Mars orbit, where an ESA-powered Earth-returning orbiter will capture them and deliver them to our planet.
The addition of a second lander to the proposed launch date push-up procedure adds two years to 2028, with test samples reaching Earth delayed to 2033 from 2031.
NASA officials said the revised plan “is consistent with the results of the Independent Mars Sample Return Review Board (IRB) that a dual lander architecture could improve the probability of a mission’s success. .”
https://www.space.com/nasa-requests-public-comment-mars-sample-return NASA wants your input on its Mars sample return project