August 10, 2023

As part of a NASA-ESA campaign to return rock and soil samples from Mars to Earth, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are designing a lander which will be the heaviest spacecraft ever to touch down on the Red Planet. Engineers are dropping prototype lander legs and footpads to measure how they absorb the shock of hitting Martian ground. One test involves a model that is roughly one-third the size of the spacecraft’s final design. Meanwhile, in a sandbox, a full-size foot pad is being dropped into simulated Martian soil.

Mars Sample Return will revolutionize our understanding of Mars by returning scientifically selected samples to Earth for study using the most sophisticated instrumentation around the world.

For more information on Mars Sample Return, visit



Speaker 1: Three, two, one. Drop.

Speaker 2: Three, two, one. Fire!



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