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Rocket will bring samples from Mars back to Earth

NASA entrusts construction to American space and defence company

The Mars Ascent Vehicle (Mav) rocket for the first time will bring to Earth samples collected by the Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars: rocks and sediments recovered during missions. It is the first vector ever launched from another planet. The mission is thus destined to enter the history of mankind, even if it will have to wait a few years.

For the American space agency, this is a first step towards planning the Mars Sample Return Program, through which scientists want to eventually organise round trips to bring samples back to Earth. According to the plans, the Mars Ascent Vehicle would land on Mars near the Jezero crater. There, a robot lander would collect the samples already stored by the Perseverance rover and then deliver them to the Mav launch vehicle, which would bring them back to Earth. 

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has signed a contract to develop the Mav with the American company Lockheed Martin. The order has a potential value of 194 million dollars. The delivery time is approximately six years. 

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency