With the Mars 2020 rover mission just around the corner, NASA has created a Returned Sample Science Board to grapple with the scientific, technological, and policy issues that come with such a robotic venture. Members will discuss the best strategy for hauling Red Planet rock and dirt to Earth. Harry McSween, UT professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, was named a co-leader of the board.
A workshop was held to familiarize the international sample-analysis community with the Mars 2020 rover mission. As the workshop wrapped up, McSween said: “I hope everyone leaves this workshop with the belief that this is real now.”
He added: “We are developing the technological ability to collect these samples and bring them back home. What is missing is the will. And the will is going to have to come from lobbying by the science establishment, particularly the sample community. I hope you’ll take that message back.”