NASA has an ambitious plan to get the first samples from the surface of Mars to be brought back to Earth for research. Part of the mission would be to get the containers into orbit around the Red Planet, from where they would then be picked up by a ship. NASA has chosen a company to build a small rocket.
So far, samples taken on Mars have been studied by rovers directly on the Red Planet. However, we know that early in the next decade, NASA wants to get them to study on Earth. To do this, you need to create a small rocket, and now we will find out which company is entrusted with this task.
The contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin, which had previously worked with NASA on Mars projects. A good example here is the InSight lander. The potential value of the contract is $194 million and MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle) should be created within its framework.
MAV is a small rocket that will be delivered to Mars. She will have a sample tank on board, which will be received by Rover Perseverance. Then they will be launched into space, and from the orbit of the Red Planet, the research material will be intercepted by a ship built by the ESA agency called the Earth Return Orbiter.
Then the ESA ship will fly with the samples to Earth. The mission’s current schedule suggests it will be completed in the first half of the next decade.