Recently, at the International Mars Sample return conference in Berlin, the panel discussed about the feasibility of bringing Martian samples back to Earth. And the scientists have come to the conclusion that collecting rocks from Mars and bringing them back to Earth for study, will be the possible way to search for past life on Mars.
Ten years ago, such type of conference happened in Paris. At that time, the scientists were also enthusiastic about bringing Mars sample back to earth but they had fewer resources and information at that time. Now, after 10 years, the technology has advanced and so is the information sharing. Scientists are now feeling more optimistic about successfully bringing back samples to Earth from Mars. The Curiosity rover has been doing a great job on Mars.
The Mars landing has become more precise, the capability of the rover has increased significantly. The spacecrafts are now capable of drilling the surface of Mars and also the remote sample collection and manipulation have become sufficiently advanced. Now, the situation has become more favorable for undergoing Mars sample return missions. Also, scientists have been able to develop cutting-edge technology to avoid any contamination of Mars due to Earth microbes brought by its spacecrafts.
Also, scientists now feel that the technology has become enough advanced so as to prevent the contamination of Earth from Martian samples or the spacecrafts that come from Mars to Earth. Scientists believed that it is very important to closely look at the rock samples of Mars to get information about its past habitability. The images of Martian landscape sent by Curiosity rover shows that there might be a chance that the currently inhospitable Mars, was once habitable and life somehow managed to exist on this barren, dusty, rocky land.
The depressions looking like seas and lakes on Mars show that the red planet once hosted water. The instruments aboard the orbiting Mars-orbiting spacecrafts have found out minerals produced by water distributed across the Martian surface. Now it becomes important to study the Martian surface in details and for that, the samples need to be brought back to earth. And who knows there might be some microbial fossils that will be found on these samples. The US space agency NASA and the European Space Agency have joined their hand to make a sample return mission to Mars possible. If this sample return mission becomes successful then it can play a major role in sending humans to Mars.