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#1 2002-04-16 14:15:29

Mark S
Member
Registered: 2002-04-11
Posts: 343

Re: Ideas for MSR - unmanned exploration

NASA is unacceptably delaying the Mars sample return mission. It is not expected to launch until 2016, and it probably will not incorporate in-situ propellant production.

My suggestion to NASA is to get back on track, and launch not one but two MSR missions during the 2011 launch opportunity. One will use in-situ propellant production, granted that NASA will do enough ISPP research between now and then. The other will use ion propulsion with a small lander that will retrieve smples and return them. This mission could be built cheaply using an RTG from Cassini, an engine similar to the one used on Deep Space 1, and a lander based on the Mars Polar Lander with a small solid rocket to boost the return capsule.

Ion propulsion and ISPP will both be important to a manned trip to Mars. Teting both on MSR would be great, and it gives NASA two opportunities for success on the mission.


"I'm not much of a 'hands-on' evil scientist."--Dr. Evil, "Goldmember"

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#2 2002-04-16 15:30:32

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: Ideas for MSR - unmanned exploration

It always bugs me when I hear of missions being postponed to far off dates like "2016."  We seem to have a hard enough time trying to keep schedules that are only a few years in the future.   ####, by 2016 NASA might not even exist!  Well this was just a useless rant. smile


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#3 2002-04-16 16:20:15

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Ideas for MSR - unmanned exploration

Mark S writes:

<<NASA is unacceptably delaying the Mars sample return mission. >>

Unacceptable to whom?

I share your frustration, however, until you or I have sufficient influence with the US Congress - - whatever you (or I) find "acceptable" is simply irrelevant.

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#4 2002-04-17 16:49:38

Mark S
Member
Registered: 2002-04-11
Posts: 343

Re: Ideas for MSR - unmanned exploration

Bill, you're right on target. Congress is not convinced that space is a priority (because it doesn't provide enough pork-barrel projects for states other than California and Florida.)

Once Congress is on our side, NASA will fall in line. I'm considering joining the National Space Society and taking part in their annual "March Storm" on Washington. An educated Congress will be a better Congress.


"I'm not much of a 'hands-on' evil scientist."--Dr. Evil, "Goldmember"

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