Mars 2020: First Step towards Mars Sample Return

Day: Tuesday 26 October
Time: 13:30-14:30 GST
Location: Sheikh Rashid Hall E, Dubai World Trade Centre

During this plenary event we will present early results from Mars 2020, which delivered Perseverance and Ingenuity to the Red Planet, and preview the upcoming Mars Sample Return mission.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover landed on February 18, 2021 in the Jezero Crater. The largest and most capable robotic explorer in human history will search for signs of ancient microbial life, test new technologies – including a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere -- and collect core samples of Martian rock and soil for eventual return to Earth.

Other mission goals include identifying crucial resources for human explorers, improving landing techniques, and characterizing weather, dust, and other potential environmental challenges that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars. Strapped to the rover's belly for the journey to Mars was a technology demonstration — the Mars Helicopter Ingenuity. During its several historic flights, Ingenuity proved the feasibility of powered flight even in the thin atmosphere of an alien planet. To advance NASA's quest to explore the past habitability of Mars, a future mission, Mars Sample Return, will retrieve sealed tubes left by Perseverance and ferry them to Earth for detailed analysis. The first delivery of Martian matter to Earth will require a robotic pick up system, a Mars ascent vehicle, and a transfer vehicle that includes an Earth re-entry system. NASA and the European Space Agency have made a joint commitment to accomplish this bold mission by the early 2030s.


Larry D. JAMES

Deputy Director, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

United States


Jennifer TROSPER

Mars 2020 Project Manager, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

United States


Professor and Director of Space Programs, ETH Zürich



Special Advisor in charge of in particular strengthening the relations with the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency (ESA)