NASA inaugurates facility to house rocks extracted from Mars in search of extraterrestrial life

The facility will be located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and will be intended to house the rocks on Mars most likely to be key to determining extraterrestrial life.


NASA has announced the opening of a facility designed to house rocks from Mars collected by its current Perseverance rover .

The facility is located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, United States. It will be oriented to receive the rocks and house them impeccably to start their studies.

Martian rocks on Earth

The office will reside within Johnson’s Astromaterials Research and Exploration Sciences division, the NASA organization with expertise in processing and preserving extraterrestrial samples.

Johnson will work with the agency ‘s Mars Exploration Program to develop and design plans for sample recovery and subsequent transition to scientific investigations. The project team will recover, contain, transfer, safety assess, curate, and coordinate scientific research on the collected samples.

These rocks are being collected by Perseverance on the surface of Mars .

In the next few years, a rover from the European Space Agency (ESA) will have to collect them to bring them to Earth.

What is the mission?

The samples returned to Earth will enhance humanity’s understanding of Mars through detailed chemical and physical analyzes in laboratories around the world that are beyond the capabilities of instruments sent to the Red Planet.

Perseverance is collecting samples in and around Jezero crater, where billions of years ago a river once flowed into a lake and deposited rock and sediment in a fan-shaped delta formation. Deltas are one of the best places on Mars to look for potential signs of ancient microbial life.

A key goal for the Perseverance Mars mission is astrobiology , including caching of samples that may contain signs of ancient microbial life. The rover is currently characterizing the planet’s geology and past climate, paving the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and is the first mission to collect and store Martian rocks and regoliths.