NASA wants to bring Martian soil to Earth for the first time, in an effort to find alien life.
NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are working together to collect soil samples from the red planet and find out if it can support alien life. The potential mission would roll out in 3 stages:
The 1st stage would entail collecting samples. NASA’s 2020 Mars Rover would be in charge of collecting and storing the soil samples as it traverses Mars. Meanwhile, ESA’s ExoMars Rover, which lands in 2021, will drill 2 meters deep into the planet to also collect samples.
The 2nd stage would entail shooting the samples into orbit. To do this, a third rover will be sent to Mars to gather the soil samples and place them in a “Mars Ascent Vehicle” — a rocket that will launch the canisters into Mars orbit, which would be the first ever rocket launch from mars.
The 3rd stage would entail a spacecraft orbiting Mars collecting the samples and heading back to Earth.
The idea for the mission is definitely ambitious and requires pulling off a round-trip mission from another planet, which has never been done before. So, the next step is to analyze how practical the mission is.