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Mars Sample Return: The Double Walled Isolator

NASA were recently in the spotlight with media headings like, “…one of our samples is missing!”

Mars Sample Return is hard and the Perseverance rover is moving onto a rock that we hope will be more forgiving and willing to yield its secrets to the rock coring tool on the end of the rover arm. In 2031, NASA and ESA will bring rock samples, from the Martian surface, to the Earth where they will be painstakingly analysed for the tell-tale signs of biological activity. Extra-terrestrial samples are the stuff of Hollywood science fiction, but, the scientific reality is far more exciting. In this short talk, we discuss some of the containment technology solutions being designed for the ground segment of this Mars mission and how we are preparing for analytical science in the 2030s.

John Holt is a research engineer at the University of Leicester and has worked on five different space flight projects. John has a very multi-disciplinary approach to science, which has seen him use his expertise in contamination control, honed from a background in astrobiology, to working on projects as diverse as Richard III. His current responsibility is to the European Space Agency Double Walled Isolator where he is leading the engineering development of a specialist high containment facility to support a Mars Sample Return mission.

Date: August 2022

Author: John Holt (University of Leicester)

Category: Webinar