PIA25967: Mars Ascent Vehicle Second Stage Test
 Mission:  Mars Sample Return (MSR) 
 Product Size:  1872 x 1053 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  NASA
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA25967.tif (5.916 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA25967.jpg (285.5 kB)

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A development motor based on the second-stage solid rocket motor design for NASA's Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) undergoes testing March 29, 2023, at Northrop Grumman's facility in Elkton, Maryland. The two-stage MAV rocket is an important part of the NASA-ESA (European Space Agency) Mars Sample Return campaign, which would retrieve samples collected by NASA's Perseverance rover and deliver them to Earth for advanced study. The MAV would be the first rocket fired off another planet.

NASA's Sample Retrieval Lander would carry the MAV to Mars' surface, landing near or in Jezero Crater to gather the samples taken by the agency's Perseverance rover. The samples would be returned to the lander, which would serve as the launch platform for the MAV. With the sample container secured, the MAV would then launch. Once the MAV reaches Mars orbit, the container would be captured by an ESA (European Space Agency) Earth Return Orbiter spacecraft outfitted with NASA's Capture, Containment, and Return System payload. The spacecraft would bring the samples to Earth safely and securely in the early-to-mid 2030s.

For more information on Mars Sample Return, visit: mars.nasa.gov/msr.

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