Mars Sample Return: Do You Have Comments?

Image (Credit): Mars Sample Return campaign poster. (NASA)

NASA and the European Space Agency are still looking for comments on the process to return Martian rock samples to Earth. Of the six steps needed to collect and return the samples (see graphic above), only the first step is currently underway with the Perseverance Rover exploring Mars. Now we need to get those samples home. You have until May 15th to get comments back to NASA on this.

And what is the time frame for getting these samples back to Earth? The current goal is 2033, assuming all goes well. You may recall that China also wants to collect and return Martian samples by 2030. I expect more delays on both sides. When you add this to the race back to the Moon, the space race is getting more interesting every day.