By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
Almost 2 weeks ago, researchers found a martian meteorite that contained strong evidence for life on Mars. However, scientists don’t want to rely on sheer luck to obtain another rock from the Red Planet, so NASA wants to team up with private rocket company SpaceX to send a spacecraft to Mars.
By joining forces, they could collect evidence and bring it back to Earth for some serious lab testing by 2022. In their cost-effective plan, NASA wants to use what they call the Red Dragon – a specialized version of SpaceX’s cargo craft designed to take equipment and people to their destination.
In this case, the destination would none other than the barren surface of the Red Planet! The reason NASA wants this craft in particular is because it can carry more than 6 tons of weight. Whoa.
This would allow researchers to send a heavy duty drill to dig down about 6.5 feet into the martian surface, collect samples, then return with the goodies in hand. Besides collecting samples, however, the trip would also test a landing technique to send humans to Mars sometime in the future.
As elaborate as the plan sounds, this is more of a proposal than an actual plan of action. The good news, however, is that NASA’s budget could afford to fund the project.
Images courtesy of SpaceX.