Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket carrying NASA's nuclear-powered Perseverance Mars rover roared to life and lifted off from planet Earth early Thursday, the first step in a decade-long program to search for signs of past microbial life and to collect rock and soil samples for eventual return to Earth. The $2.4 billion rover and its supporting cruise stage " equipped with solar panels, thrusters, navigation and communications systems " were released onto a near-perfect trajectory to Mars about 57 minutes after liftoff from Cape Canaveral. The journey will take seven months, putting Perseverance on track for landing on the red planet next February.



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One of the best parts is that the new Mars rover has a helicopter it can deploy to investigate

#1 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2020-08-11 07:16 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Getting Martian core samples back to Earth would be a cool trick.

#2 | Posted by REDIAL at 2020-08-11 11:14 PM | Reply

To piggyback off Redial's comment:

The next step, if all goes according to the current (provisional) plan, comes with two launches in 2026. One launch will send the NASA-led Sample Retrieval Lander (SRL) mission toward Mars, and the second will loft the Earth Return Orbiter (ERO), which is helmed by the European Space Agency (ESA).

The SRL includes a rocket and a small, ESA-provided "fetch rover," which will do exactly what its name indicates: find the cached samples and bring them back to the lander. The samples will then be loaded into a football-size canister on board the rocket, which will launch itself into Martian orbit.

Once up there, the rocket will deploy the sample canister, which the ERO will pluck out of the void and ferry back toward Earth. When it nears our planet, the ERO will release the canister, which will land in the Utah desert in 2031.

#3 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2020-08-12 08:29 AM | Reply

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