Japan aims to bring back soil samples from Mars moon by 2029

  • FILE - In this April 30, 2021, file image taken by the Mars Perseverance rover and made available by NASA, the Mars Ingenuity helicopter, right, flies over the surface of the planet. Japanese space agency scientists said Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021 they planned to bring soil samples from the Mars region back to Earth ahead of the U.S. Perseverance and Chinese missions now operating on the planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS via AP, File)

TOKYO — Japan’s space agency plans to bring soil samples back from the Mars region ahead of the U.S. and Chinese missions now operating on Mars, in hopes of finding clues to the planet’s origin and traces of possible life.