NASA has a wild idea for a mission that will require a robotic tag-team effort, a rocket lifting off from the surface of Mars and a spacecraft that will scoop up Martian rocks orbiting the Red Planet.
Ashwin Vasavada, the new project scientist for NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity project, said scientists are working on a plan to not just send a rover to study rocks on Mars. Vasavada and his team are working to bring some of those rocks back to Earth so geologists can study them here.
Getting those rocks from Mars to Earth won’t be an easy task. Vasavada has a plan for that.
Vasavada, a planetary scientist, has been the deputy project scientist for NASA’s Curiosity rover since 2004. On Monday, he took over as the project head, succeeding John Grotzinger, who had held the post for seven years. Grotzinger recently became chairman of Caltech’s Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences but will remain a member of Curiosity’s science team.