NASA Awards Contract To Build Rocket To Get Samples From Mars


NASA announced that it has awarded the contract to build the Mars Ascent Vehicle to Lockheed Martin Space in Colorado. The Mars Ascent Vehicle is a small and lightweight rocket that will be sent to Mars to retrieve samples collected by the Perseverance rover.

The rocket that Lockheed Martin builds will be used to launch rock, sediment, and atmospheric samples from the surface of Mars and return them to Earth. It will be the first rocket fired from another planet and is considered a crucial part of the mission to retrieve samples that Perseverance collected.

Another crucial part of the mission is the Sample Retrieval Lander that would carry the Mars Ascent Vehicle to the surface of the Red Planet. It would land near or within Jezero Crater, where it would gather the samples, which would be returned to the lander. The lander itself would be the launch platform for the rocket Lockheed Martin is building.

In orbit, the Mars Ascent Vehicle would be captured by the ESA Earth Return Orbiter spacecraft to bring the samples home. NASA is currently targeting the early to mid-2030s for the mission to begin.