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#1 2006-03-03 06:45:54

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

*Haven't yet seen this posted:

Read me

robotic mission to haul samples back from Mars to Earth should be on NASA’s "most wanted" list, but a risk adverse space agency has left the project in limbo.

Bringing back the goods from Mars by robotic means—designated as MSR—is still downstream in NASA thinking, Hinners said. While a high science priority for almost three decades, the U.S. has yet to commit to MSR, he said, with the project always a decade or more away in plans and "safely down far enough so it’s just out of harm’s way."

"Unless you are a geochemist, you don’t quite understand what it is about a handful of, some would say, ‘dirt and rock’, that enables you to decipher the history of the planet," Hinners explained.

Hinners said that Viking exhibited, what he tagged, the seven habits of highly successful projects...

Back three decades ago, Viking was roughly a $1 billion project. In 2006 dollars that equates to $3.5 billion, Hinners advised STAIF attendees, and MSR can be implemented for less than today’s Viking cost.

First of all, Hinners pointed out, much critical science cannot be done remotely at Mars.

While the work of the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers is exemplary, they lack the ability to carry out precision age dating of martian materials, evaluate isotopic geochemistry, gauge trace element abundances, perform detailed mineralogy, and search for nano-biology.

"Nobody in [their] right mind, and that doesn’t preclude NASA from doing it, would send humans to Mars without having had samples back here first," Hinners argued. Additionally, MSR can help define what humans will do once they are footing around the planet, as well as show a sense of direction to the public, he suggested.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#2 2006-03-23 04:58:43

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 907

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

thanks for that news

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#3 2006-03-23 06:40:37

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

thanks for that news

*Hello newcomer.  smile  You're welcome.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#4 2006-04-13 01:44:48

EuroLauncher
Member
From: Europe
Registered: 2005-10-19
Posts: 299

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

Next Phase Reached in ESA Definition of Mars Sample Return Mission

http://eu.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=19555

ESA recognises the importance of this mission in the frame of the European Aurora Programme, and is now embarking on a twelve month Mars Sample Return Systems Study. This work, which builds on a first study step initiated in 2003, will prepare the way for Europe to play a key role in an international MSR mission. Past ESA work has already defined as a starting point an MSR mission launched in two parts. The first consists of a Mars orbiter and an Earth return capsule, while the second carries the surface lander and the Mars ascent vehicle which will launch the sample into Mars orbit ready for return to Earth. The new "MSR Phase A2 Systems Study", which will be undertaken by European industry in close coordination with ESA, will be performed in two main steps.

The first step will address the remaining options still to be assessed and choices to be made with respect to the overall mission design. This includes the option of having the orbiter "capture" the sample container in Mars orbit, or having the ascent vehicle perform a docking manoeuvre. This trade-off, as with much of the work to be performed in this first step, will draw upon the technology development and experience gained during the initial phases of the Aurora Programme.

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#5 2006-09-07 11:46:23

Yang Liwei Rocket
Member
Registered: 2004-03-03
Posts: 993

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

Returning To Sample Mars

At the recent Viking thirtieth anniversary celebration, Noel Hinners championed what could be the next great challenge for planetary science: a Mars Sample Return mission. Hinners pointed out that, like Viking, Mars Sample Return will prove to be extremely difficult but immeasurably rewarding.

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Retur … s_999.html

...Competition played a role at the time of the Viking program. Prior to Viking, there were only four successes out of the six U.S. Mars missions: Mariner 4, 6, 7 and 9. Part of the support for Viking which made it "affordable" and sustainable was that we were in the space race with the Soviet Union, which had a vigorous Mars program. Today, we don't have that competition, although some people are trying to drum up the Chinese as a competitor to worry about today.

But I think we are now in an era of cooperation. We should cooperate on Mars Sample Return -- it will cost a lot to do it, so if we could bring in partners who could shoulder a significant part of the science and technology engineering and budget, that helps us get this mission into the U.S. space science budget. It also could provide a model for international cooperation. We have failed gloriously with our cooperation on shuttle and Space Station. We have tended to design a mission, find out that we can't afford it, and then go hat in hand to our friends and say, "Please come help us; we'd really like you to join us." There's nothing wrong with wanting their money, but let's bring them in early.

The European Space Agency is very interested in Mars Sample Return. In fact, their Aurora human spaceflight program has Mars Sample Return as a key component. It's only in a study phase at this point, but the interest is there, so the potential for having them as a partner is there, along with other countries. Other countries are showing that they can now accomplish many things which we used to think only we could do. ESA has Mars Express, and the Japanese recently did land on an asteroid. Although they had some problems, we think maybe they're bringing samples back. The capability is all over the world now. I say, let's bring them in early during the conceptual stage, and make them true partners.

The Viking heritage story is telling. In all the systems and subsystems, there was mostly new technology. Some technology existed but wasn't used, like solar arrays, because we didn't think solar arrays would survive the dust problem on Mars. So instead we used RTGs that had to be adapted for the Mars environment. All the new technology, for the most part, worked.

The lesson learned is that new technology is not something to be afraid of; new technology is to be embraced. You test the bejeebers out of it, and do everything you can to understand it. One of the most frightening things in our business is heritage technology, which frequently is misapplied. So let's bring on the new technology for Mars Sample Return.


'first steps are not for cheap, think about it...
did China build a great Wall in a day ?' ( Y L R newmars forum member )

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#6 2007-01-09 09:37:59

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

Report from MEPAG

Michael Meyer (NASA's lead scientist for Mars exploration):  We expect by 2009 we can put money back into sample return. That puts it in the 2020 time frame.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#7 2007-02-05 13:37:35

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

I've worried about this for some time, and I think by "sample return" we should mean return to LEO. Remember how the Apollo astronauts had to be quarantined with medical staff before being allowed to mingle with us again within the confines of Earth's ecosphere...? Whether this was a viable quarantine is questionable, but it conveyed the concern for the unknown that was prevelent at the time regarding possible dangerous contaminents from the Moon. Why should we be less concerned today, regarding the possibility of much more dangerous contaminents from Mars, especially now that we know the conditions for microbial lifeforms and their spore equivalents exist there. A special receiving dock and lab module should be at least considered for the ISS, as part of a Mars Sample & Return mission, and argued publically, rather than blindly assume the reentry sample vessel could be retrieved intact, transported, and confined to a lab on Earth.

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#8 2007-02-06 17:28:14

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

So little was known about the possibilities of backward contamination during Apollo compared with today. A sample return mission won't happen until after Phoenix, MSL  and probably AFL - those missions will have increasing capability to detect life directly or indirectly and tell us about the risks.

Bringing a sample back to LEO compared with direct reentry will be far more expensive. AFAIK it has never been done before, so the development cost and risk would be higher. Unless the capsule has its own propulsion system (a lot of weight),  there will need to be a new capability to recover it from whatever orbit it reaches (probably highly elliptical). Then add the cost of the onorbit, presumably automated, quarantine facilities and the mission cost would be enormous. A basic sample return mission has been estimated around $2 billion, the extra cost of LEO capture would most likely prevent it being funded at all.

Unless there is a demonstrable contamination risk as a result of life detection on the surface, a robust capsule and an earth based quarantine facility would be more effective and far cheaper.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#9 2007-02-21 12:23:03

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 907

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

There are some who don't like the idea of a sample return

The dilemma of Mars sample return

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#10 2007-04-10 09:43:42

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,342

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

Here is an excellent attempt to design a sample return by Terry Wilson
After Columbia Project


Mars Challenger

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#11 2007-04-11 12:28:28

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

Better define what you mean by "return." Even astronauts returning from Mars shouldn't be allowed to step from their lander without first being quarantined--preferrably in LEO, say I--so let's agree that initial robotic sample-and-return missions mean just that, and to hell with any delays incurred for the safety, real or imagined of the Home Planet, at least until we know better.

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#12 2007-07-06 16:08:01

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

Mars Mission May Be Moved Up

Jul 6, 2007

By Frank Morring, Jr./Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

NASA is looking for a way to accelerate its long-planned Mars sample return mission, possibly by fitting upcoming landers like the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory with sample caches that could be retrieved and delivered back to Earth later.

A new Mars astrobiology strategy recommended by the National Research Council's Space Studies Board sets "analysis of a diverse suite of appropriate samples" as the highest priority Mars-science objective. In keeping with that recommendation, NASA's Science Mission Directorate has ordered studies that could lead to the launch of a sample-return mission to the Red Planet as early as the 2018 planetary launch window.

Alan Stern, associate administrator for science, says the studies are very preliminary and intended primarily to support a "major budget decision down the road." But by accelerating work on a sample-return mission now, the U.S. Mars-exploration program can stake a better claim to the funds that would be needed to fly it later.

"The Mars program represents 46 percent of the planetary division's budget, and it's my assessment that the Mars program needs to really turn heads if it's going to continue to have that level of budget support," Stern says. "So I challenged the program to come up with something that's worth the investment over the next decade. Let's either go find life or let's bring rocks home."

NASA has planned a Mars-sample-return mission for years, but as the agency's focus has shifted to human exploration of the moon, the notional launch date of such a mission has slipped into the 2022-2024 timeframe. Now, says Stern, it might be possible to advance that launch to 2020 or even 2018.

One approach may be to outfit the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) - an advanced rover building on the success of the Mars Exploration Rovers still in operation - with a sample cache that could be filled as the rover moves across the surface and later retrieved by a sample-return mission.

The European Space Agency is interested in cooperating with NASA on a Mars-sample-return mission as part of its Aurora program, and the U.S. agency has raised the possibility of installing a cache on ESA's ExoMars rover as well.

"The reason that Mars sample return has failed to happen over the past 30 years is that it always runs into budgetary problems because of requirements creep, and it gets out of control and it ends up unaffordable and it gets set back a decade," Stern says. "I like to tell people you can have 70 percent of something or 100 percent of nothing. Which do you want?"

The purpose of the sample return would be to find chemical evidence of life or its absence on Mars, says Bruce Jakosky, chair of the panel of scientists that produced the astrobiology strategy. Scientists would have much more flexibility to find that evidence in their labs on Earth than by trying to guess what robotic equipment to send to Mars for in situ analysis, he says.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#13 2007-07-26 10:47:11

redhorizons
Banned
From: Oklahoma
Registered: 2005-09-27
Posts: 50

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

Do we really need a Sample Return Mission.  What would gain, that we couldn't achieve with robots?  Would the benefits out weigh the loss?
Or do we just want to do it, to prove we can?

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/0 … eturn.html

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#14 2007-07-26 11:03:08

noosfractal
Member
From: Biosphere 1
Registered: 2005-10-04
Posts: 824
Website

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

Hi redhorizons, good to see you.

Scientists have near infinite tests they want to conduct on Martian soil.  We can keep shipping up parts of the lab, doing one experiment at a time, but from the bigger perspective, it gets kinda expensive.  And there is always the risk that a particular probe will just become a smoking crater. 

Once you've got the basics (and Phoenix[1] and the Mars Science Lab[2] will get us most of those), getting the subtle details is best done in a comprehensive lab on Earth.


[1] http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/

[2] http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/


Fan of Red Oasis

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#15 2007-07-26 14:19:51

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

One argument against MSR is that a human mission will be far better to select samples and return them. A basic MSR will cost billions and will take money from the human program.

Already there's oodles of data flowing back from the MERs, Mars Odyssey, MEX and now MRO. As noosfractal says Phoenix and MSL will be on Mars soon. Also Phobos-Grunt (2009) will return a sample. ExoMars is in development and Mars Scout 2011 (orbiter) is now being competed. MSO (Mars Science Orbiter 2013) is being considered as well as another rover (AFL 2015).

Mars scientists should have plenty of data to keep them busy for a while. If they really need a sample then it's possible to scoop one from the  atmosphere  and return that far more cheaply than one from the surface.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#16 2007-07-26 14:40:57

dicktice
Member
From: Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: 2002-11-01
Posts: 1,764

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

I would object to Mars sample return missions which don't first involve investigation of the black hole(s) on Mars, which may make mere scratching on the surface a foolish waste of time and effort. The surface is already open at the sites of the black holes, for us to investigate in depth, without "scratching." What we find down there, may indeed change our entire approach to current Mars mission planning.

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#17 2007-07-27 15:14:55

redhorizons
Banned
From: Oklahoma
Registered: 2005-09-27
Posts: 50

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

I have read about the "black holes" on Mars, when the photos were first released.  any more recent news about what they are. 
I think getting some BOTS into these will answer a ton of questions, but as always--generate a bunch of new ones.  Those holes are very exiciting.
Buy the way, thanks for the feedback everyone.

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#18 2007-08-07 11:02:13

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

MEPAG meeting report 10 July 2007 - 31 Jul 2007

To accomplish MSR by 2020, or even as soon as 2018, within that framework will likely require skipping at least one Mars launch opportunity. A commitment and focus towards MSR will require rethinking the Mars exploration program science plan, beginning as early as the 2013 opportunity. As one possibility to keep the Mars science activities moving forward, Dr. Stern is considering opening the Discovery and New Frontiers programs to Mars proposals, possibly by the time of the next Discovery round. The science community will need to pick moderate sampling goals for a sample return. Dr. Stern announced that he has requested serious consideration of adding sample caching to MSL (see more detail below), and he has also suggested this for ExoMars.

NASA HQ has asked Ames Research Center to support the MSL mission and the center appointed Christopher McKay as the lead scientist in the design and construction of a simple sample cache. Dr. McKay relayed that the cache’s purpose would be to allow a future sample-return mission to take advantage of MSL's capability to acquire a diverse set of samples. The cache would be a secondary payload and would not be allowed to levy requirements on MSL. It would provide the option of returning a previously characterized set of samples and, if returned, might form only part of the set of returned samples. We have formed an informal science team to support the cache design. Some illustrative terrestrial analyses for which the cached samples are anticipated to be suitable, given their anticipated years-long stay on the surface without environmental control or monitoring, include light-element geochemistry (elemental, mineralogical, & isotopic), nano-scale structural and elemental analysis, and absolute age dating of rocks & minerals. The preliminary science requirements are ~10 small samples of ~5 grams, the ability to accept both powdered and small rock fragments, covered containers, and a contribution to sample-sample cross contamination similar to the level required of MSL's sample-acquisition and handling system (~5%).


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#19 2007-08-07 21:34:40

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,342

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

I am glad that Nasa is still working on mars some day in the future but like most we would rather push that time scale into fast forward towards a more near term date.

MarsDrive has been holding a contest to create a viable mission for the sample return. As of this date the winner has not been selected due to judging is behind scheduel and the entrants have been allowed some additional time to beef up there work.

Mars Sample Return Update

The MarsDrive Sample Return contest is entering a new phase. All current entrants have a 3 month window to update their designs after the inital comments provided by our judges. The deadline for this closes November 2nd 2007 and the final judging phase will be completed by May 1st 2008.

Current designs can be found

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#20 2007-09-06 10:22:06

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

Maybe MSR is a big opportunity despite fears that it will suck money from the human mission. It could be a great demonstration of ISRU fuel production, with the lander/ascent vehicle being a scaled prototype of a MAV  design using a LCH4/LO2 engine. ISRU needs to be proven before it can be relied on for human missions, this maybe a real chance to move the Mars architecture ahead faster. Good synergy between robotic and human exploration.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#21 2007-09-07 03:27:12

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

This brief article indicates it's possible to do MSR using ISRU

Prior to the project reported on here, a study, also funded by the [Planetary Missions and Materials Branch] of JSC, had been undertaken at Martin Marietta, to examine the benefits and feasibility of accomplishing a Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission using locally produced propellant to fuel the rocket vehicle that would return the sample to Earth. That study, led by Robert Zubrin, found that a large mission enhancement could be achieved by such means, and recommended that the propellant production process employed be one termed the Sabatier/Electrolysis" or "S/E" cycle. Using such a system, it was found that an S/E unit producing 1 kg of propellant per day could be used to support an MSR mission that would return a 4 kg soil and rock sample from Mars to Earth. A single Delta 7925 launch vehicle was found sufficient to support the mission, which consisted of a single spacecraft being sent directly from Earth to the Martian surface, refueling there during a year and a half surface stay, and then returning directly from the Martian surface to Earth, without any intervening Mars orbit rendezvous maneuver.

4kg of samples would be more than enough, the proposed cache for MSL and ExoMars is only about 100g


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#22 2007-09-07 09:32:37

RedStreak
Banned
From: Illinois
Registered: 2006-05-12
Posts: 541

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

I hope they take this seriously - an unmanned rendevous in Martian orbit is nearly impossible with what we got now.  I'm sure even DARPA's renowned lil satellite duo actually did much of their work with human support on the ground.

Zubrin's been screeching about this for years, and sooner or later someone has to demonstrate in-situ fuel production; a MSR sounds like an ideal candidate especially since it needs to cut on the mass.

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#23 2007-12-11 04:30:35

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

International Group Plans Strategy - 10 Dec 2007

WASHINGTON - NASA and an international team are developing plans and seeking recommendations to launch the first Mars mission to bring soil samples back to Earth. The ability to study soil from Mars here on Earth will contribute significantly to answering questions about the possibility of life on the Red Planet. Returned samples also will increase understanding of the useful or harmful properties of Martian soil, which will support planning for the eventual human exploration of Mars.

A task force named the International Mars Architecture for Return of Samples, or IMARS, recently met in Washington to lay the foundation for an international collaboration to return samples from Mars. NASA hosted the meeting. IMARS meeting participants included representatives from more than half a dozen countries and NASA, the European Space Agency, or ESA, the Canadian Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

IMARS is a committee of the International Mars Exploration Working Group, or IMEWG. The group was formed in 1993 to provide a forum for the international coordination of Mars exploration missions.

"The potential paradigm-changing science from Mars samples makes this mission a high priority of the National Academy of Sciences," said Doug McCuistion, NASA's Mars Exploration program director, Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

"The exciting progress being made by the IMARS team is contributing directly to making this mission a reality in the next decade, All spacefaring nations have a standing invitation from IMEWG to participate in IMARS."

Scientists reviewed past engineering work on a Mars sample return mission, international science priorities, and sample receiving facility requirements. The IMARS team made significant progress in many of the key issues associated with the integration of science and engineering challenges. The team established a common strategy for launching a Mars sample return mission and achieving scientific objectives that can be met only by returning Martian soil to Earth.

"For Europe this is a major step to shape the future of the ESA Aurora Exploration Programme in 2008," said Bruno Gardini, ESA's Exploration Program Manager. The Aurora Programme is part of Europe's strategy for space, initiated by ESA in 2001 to create and implement a long-term European plan for robotic and human exploration of the solar system.

The next steps in preparing for a Mars sample return mission includes more detailed international trade studies on engineering and mission specifics, greater detail on science and sample requirements, and definition and requirements for Earth-based facilities. IMARS will address the technical issues in upcoming meetings, along with preliminary discussions of the possible roles of interested nations and agencies.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#24 2008-01-17 08:46:55

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

Mars exploration: Digging Mars - January 2008

“Returning samples from Mars to Earth, selected on the basis of informed decisions as a consequence of the reconnaissance from orbit and from the surface, is a keystone capability that is needed if we are to further open the Mars frontier for exploration,” Garvin says. “Implementation of a highly informed and precision-targeted Mars sample return will be not only a scientific enabler for all future Mars exploration, but also a stepping stone to the era of human Mars exploration that many of us believe is both inevitable and justifiable,” he continues. Garvin advises that, as with the Moon in the Apollo era, it may require human “on-site” adaptability and agility to make the exploration decisions necessary for fully untangling the putative history of life on Mars, if it has ever existed there. To this end, he senses, MSR is an “essential first step” on the journey to human investigation of the planet, even if it is also fully justifiable on scientific grounds.

Without samples of soils, rocks, and possibly the atmosphere, key decisions on both engineering optimization and safety will have to rely on guesstimates and models rather than on the real Mars.

“Achieving a Mars sample return in the next decade, as we return humans to the Moon, will open the Martian frontier to round trips, providing everyone with the confidence that we can scale up to human journeys to and from the exotic and sometimes foreboding ‘shores’ of Mars,” Garvin says. “If NASA can lead implementation of a capable Mars sample return prior to 2020,” he concludes, “I personally believe that we will have the experience and confidence to transition from our human exploration of the Moon era to human Mars missions by the 2030s!”


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#25 2008-01-17 10:12:08

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 907

Re: Mars Sample Return (MSR)

Better define what you mean by "return." Even astronauts returning from Mars shouldn't be allowed to step from their lander without first being quarantined--preferrably in LEO, say I--so let's agree that initial robotic sample-and-return missions mean just that, and to hell with any delays incurred for the safety, real or imagined of the Home Planet, at least until we know better.

So you believe dangerous organisms can come from Mars and harm our Planet ?

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