NASA is providing new details on bringing samples from Mars and is inviting people to comment about this. Here’s how
Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 01 May 2022, at 12:27 pm Los Angeles time
NASA is providing new information on bringing rocks from Mars to Earth and is requesting public comment "on the scope of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the agency's proposed Mars Sample Return (MSR) campaign."
Comments for this purpose will be accepted by the NASA space agency until May 16, 2022, and you can send them both online and by mail.
Also, in 3 days, on May 4, NASA will host a public meeting at 3:00 p.m. EDT. A second one will also be hosted by the space agency, the next day on May 5 at 8 p.m. EDT.
You can find more details about the meeting in the useful NASA announcement here.
About bringing samples back from Mars to Earth:
The Perseverance Rover, which landed on Mars last year in February, has since amassed a wealth of samples that can help us better understand geology, the past, and more about Mars.
In the new announcement, the US space agency NASA says that it together with the European space agency ESA intends to use the robotic orbiting and landing missions on Mars that will be launched in 2027 and 2028 to take the samples collected by the rover and then bring them to Earth.
Since the missions will be launched only in 2027 and 2028, we would expect the samples to be brought to Earth at best in the early 2030s.
The grounding system will then be transported to a specialized MSR sampling unit, NASA said.
How do I submit comments to NASA?
It's simple, you have to go to https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nepa-mars-sample-return-campaign/, read all the instructions first, and then go down to the Request for Comments section and choose the method by which you want to send the comment: online or by mail.
In the online section, go to https://www.regulations.gov, and follow the instructions to submit your comment.
In the mail section, the address is indicated by NASA in the announcement.
"NASA will consider all comments received during the scoping process in the subsequent development of the MSR Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which is currently scheduled to be released for public comment later this year," said NASA.