As reports the edition, the BBC, the European space Agency (ESA) agreed with the aerospace giant AIRBUS on the construction of a space cargo vehicle Earth Return Orbiter (ERO), intended for delivery to Earth of Martian soil.
ERO weight of 6.5 tons, it will be equipped with ion engines that will operate massive solar panels, capable of providing spacecraft flight on the route Earth-Mars-Earth. Start of expedition is planned for 2026.
It should be clarified that this is a joint U.S.-European project, which aims to prove the existence of life on the red planet. In the implementation of the project will involve several robotic NASA and ESA.
In the first phase of the American Rover Perseverance will produce the required rock samples, and then give them to another device by ESA, which will be delivered to the surface of Mars lander NASA.
The next step is to deliver rocks into orbit using a small rocket Mars Ascent Vehicle, where it will wait for the ERO. The soil will be loaded into a small container the size of a soccer ball, after which the expedition will go in the opposite way. If all goes according to plan, the capsule with the Martian soil should land in the Utah desert in 2031.