Airbus was awarded the $5.2 million contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) to design a concept for a rover that can collect the samples on Mars. "This remarkable new project, which will see samples brought back from Mars to Earth for the first time ever, demonstrates Britain's world-leading scientific and engineering innovation".
The 2020 Rover will move around Mars, drilling holes in various parts of the planet, putting the samples in small tubes and drop them off at set sites.
The new rover will be designed at Airbus's site in the United Kingdom town of Stevenage, just north of London, and is another boon to the UK's burgeoning space sector, which is now worth an estimated £13.7 billion to the nation's economy.More news: Pakistani authorities arrest ousted premier Nawaz Sharif's son-in-law
In 2026, the recovery mission will be launched by Nasa and land a rocket on Mars carrying the Fetch rover. The vehicle will then film it when the rocket blasts off, recording the first liftoff from Mars.
"Accomplishments in robotic exploration in recent years have increased confidence in success - multiple launches will be necessary to deliver samples from Mars". The objective of the container is to make sure that the samples not only survive, but that the samples will neither be contaminated by Earth microbes or the Earth by any microbes it might contain.
ESA chose Airbus' team in Stevenage, England, which is already building the ExoMars rover, scheduled for Mars in 2021. "A double first of launching from the planet's surface and the in-orbit transfer of the samples means it will be possible for the first time to directly study Mars soil in laboratories on Earth".More news: Fox falls short in playoff
ESA's ExoMars orbiter, which will act as a relay satellite for the Sample Return mission.
"I am very pleased that with these two studies now being commissioned and in combination with other studies conducted elsewhere in Europe we make another important step to explore Mars". Its sole goal will be to find and collect the canisters of Martian soil samples that NASA's Mars 2020 rover prepares and leaves behind.More news: Police officer harasses woman for wearing Puerto Rican flag shirt