School of Earth and Space Exploration Director Meenakshi Wadhwa has been appointed as the Mars Sample Return program scientist. In this role, she will be responsible for the scientific integrity and the overall scientific success of the program. Bobby Braun, Director of planetary Science at JPL, said he couldn’t imagine a better person to take this role at this critical time in the Mars Sample Return program.
The Mars Sample Return program (planned jointly by NASA and ESA), will return samples collected by the Perseverance rover from the surface of Mars to Earth by way of a Sample Retrieval Lander (SRL) and an Earth Return Orbiter (ERO). Launch dates for both the SRL and ERO missions are anticipated to be in the 2026–2028 timeframe, with samples of Martian rocks, soils and atmosphere returning to Earth as early as 2031 for detailed laboratory analysis.
Congratulations Dr. Wadhwa!
Karin Valentine | Media Relations & Marketing Manager
Arizona State University | School of Earth & Space Exploration