Mars sample return

On July 30, a powerful AtlasV rocket left Earth with the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity drone on board. The Mars 2020 mission is designed to operate until 2030 and should help NASA and ESA to reach important milestones in the exploration of the Red Planet.

It will begin with a planned landing on February 18, 2021 near the Jezero crater, which presents an interesting profile for the quest of traces of past life. We now know that this crater was a lake several billion years ago.

The rover Perseverance on Mars. Source : NASA/JPL-Caltech

Mars 2020 is in fact the first step in an ambitious project consisting of three missions designed to bring samples back to Earth for further examination. The rover will carry out drilling cores that will be carefully stored before their return to Earth. The Sample Retrieval Lander (SRL), built by NASA, and the Earth Return Orbiter (ERO), developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), are scheduled to launch in a few years to retrieve these precious samples from the Martian soil.

The SRL module, which will also be used for the take-off of the MAV. Source : NASA/JPL-Caltech

You can follow the itinerary of Mars 2020 in W3 by downloading the module of the same name. The trajectory of the probe is directly taken from the Horizons server of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.