Nasa is building a US facility that could house extraterrestrial life brought back from Mars
Nasa has given the green light for a new facility that can house samples of Mars – and maybe extraterrestrial life.
The Texas-based facility is scheduled to be ready by 2033, when samples of the Mars rover Perseverance are due to arrive on Earth.
It will be the first time in human history that scientifically selected samples from another planet exist on Earth.
To bring the samples to Earth, humans must first launch from the surface of another planet – another first of its kind.
Scientists from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) will use the facility to contain and transfer the samples, assess safety and coordinate the scientific investigation of the samples.
The facility, known as the Office of the Mars Sample Receiving Project, will be located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“The safe and rapid release of Martian samples upon their return to Earth to laboratories around the world for scientific study will be a priority,” NASA said in a statement.
It allays concerns from scientists that scientific samples from the Red Planet could fall under the responsibility of the Space Force, the US government’s space defense organization.
Vanessa Wyche, director of the Johnson Center, said, “Nasa Johnson houses the largest and most diverse collection of astromaterials in the world, beginning with samples returned from the Apollo program.”
“With our expertise, we look forward to leading the project, which will obtain scientifically compelling samples from Mars collected by the Nasa Perseverance rover.”
The valuable samples will help deepen human understanding of Mars through detailed chemical and physical analysis from laboratories around the world.
Perseverance is currently collecting samples around Jezero Crater, where scientists believe a river flowed into a lake billions of years ago.
Areas like this, filled with rocks and sediments, are one of the best places on Mars to look for possible signs of ancient microbial life.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/10140132/nasa-building-us-facility-alien-life-mars/ Nasa is building a US facility that could house extraterrestrial life brought back from Mars