NASA selects company to build first rocket to launch on another planet

NASA has selected the company that will construct the first rocket that'll be launched off the surface of another planet.

1 minute & 25 seconds read time

NASA's newest Mars rover named Perseverance is a very sophisticated piece of technology and is currently collecting rock samples for a long journey back to Earth.

Unfortunately, Perseverance isn't able to send back Mars samples, but NASA has a plan, and it involves a rocket being launched from the surface of Mars. NASA has dubbed the mission "Mars Sample Return Program," and according to the space agency's recent announcement, it has tapped Lockheed Martin to construct the first rocket to do a round-trip mission to Mars to pick up samples.

Lockheed Martin will construct the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), which is a small, lightweight rocket that will launch from the surface of Mars. NASA's plan is for the Sample Retrieval Lander (SRL) to take the Mars Ascent Vehicle to the Red Planet's surface, where it will land relatively close to Perseverance. The SRL will act as a launch platform for the small MAV rocket, which will be shot up into orbit and the payload caught by the European Space Agency's Earth Return Orbiter.

NASA plans on the Mars samples returning to Earth sometime in the mid 2030's.

"This groundbreaking endeavour is destined to inspire the world when the first robotic round-trip mission retrieves a sample from another planet - a significant step that will ultimately help send the first astronauts to Mars," NASA administrator Bill Nelson said.

"We are nearing the end of the conceptual phase for this Mars Sample Return mission, and the pieces are coming together to bring home the first samples from another planet. Once on Earth, they can be studied by state-of-the-art tools too complex to transport into space," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA headquarters.

A more in-depth explanation of the entire process can be found here.

NASA selects company to build first rocket to launch on another planet 01

Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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