Reports say that China is having major plans to Get mars Sample return to Earth two years before the NASA-ESA. All of us know that NASA’s Perseverance rover is presently moving around Mars and collecting various samples. So, NASA has a plan of returning those samples to Earth in the 2030s for which it planned to seek the help of the European Space Agency (ESA). But now China has made a new plan of bringing these samples even faster by designing a Tianwen-3 that has a simpler design than the NASA-ESA’s one.
What does the chief designer of Tianwen-1, Sun Zezhou, say about China’s Mars Sample Return Project?
The chief designer of the Tianwen-1 rocket which is a Mars orbiter and rover gave a presentation on June 20th. As part of his presentation, he mentioned that there are chances of launching the sample collection mission in 2028 and it could return with the materials in 2031. So this newly proposed mission could help in receiving the Mars samples two years earlier when compared to the NASA-ESA plan.
What was NASA’s plan to return the Mars samples to Earth?
NASA has made several plans to divide its Mars sample return mission into multiple parts. This is done to lessen the risk which on the other hand is going to consume a lot of time. Perseverance which is already present is on its mission of collecting samples in its ultra-clean sealed tubes. After this, the mission needs to undergo several steps to return Mars samples to Earth.
A lander is used to physically collect the tubes containing samples from Perseverance. There is another lander with the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) that helps in taking the collection tubes to orbit. Finally, there is a spacecraft present in the orbit that will ultimately carry the samples to Earth. On the other hand, reports say that ESA has no plans of launching the return vehicle until 2027 which means there won’t be any samples until 2033.
What is China’s new plan about Mars Sample Return?
The new plan made by China consists of two major launches. These launches are planned to be made using the Chinese Long March rockets. One of the launched rockets will work on featuring a lander that includes a four-legged robot to collect the Mars samples return and the lander also includes an ascent vehicle. The second launch includes an orbital return craft that is ultimately used to pick up the ascent vehicle from the previous lander and set up the course for Earth.
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What is the motivation behind China’s plan of Mars Sample Return to Earth?
According to the reports given by Sun Zezhou, the newly planned mission will consider the experience gained from the Chang’e-5 lunar sample return mission that took place in the year 2020. On the other hand, the landing technologies are demonstrated with the Tianwen 1 rocket.
The new plan says that the robot doesn’t need to travel around Mars for years to get cores from different regions. It just collects whatever is necessary and then attaches it to the ascent vehicle. This also concludes the fact that the return module can start its way back in 2030 and has a high chance of reaching Earth in July 2031.
China’s new plan has gained all the required support from the top space and government authorities in China. In their development plans for 2021-2025, the China National Space Administration emphasized the need to collect samples from Mars. China also has a plan to launch Tianwen-2 before Tianwen-1.
The Tianwen-2 is an asteroid sampling mission. On the other hand, there are also plans on conducting an aerobraking test with the already launched Tianwen-1 orbiter. This is also used further to evaluate the working of the Tianwen-3 plan.
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Que 1. How will Mars samples be returned to Earth?
Ans – The Mars sample mission is planned to make use of several robotic systems and a Mars ascent rocket that collects and sends the samples of Martian rocks to Earth.
Que 2. Can China colonize Mars?
Ans – China reveals its latest plans to colonize space starting with Mars and further moving to the other alien cities.