[FPSPACE] Mission to bring back soil samples from Mars gets 2018 launch
ljk4 at msn.com
Thu Jul 10 10:51:03 EDT 2008
ission to bring back soil samples from Mars gets 2018 launch
In the most optimistic scenario, a US Atlas A 551 rocket would lift off in
2018 carrying a mobile rover -- or alternatively, a non-mobile lander --
that would be dropped down to Mars to pick up samples selected to give the
broadest picture possible of the planet's geological past. Included in the
package would be a small rocket, a Mars Ascent Vehicle, that would later
blast off with the sample onboard.
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) July 9, 2008
Space experts on Wednesday set a date of 2018 for launching the Mars Sample
Return mission, billed as the most complex and costliest exploration of the
Red Planet ever planned.
The unmanned mission aims to pick up soil and rocks from Mars and bring them
back to Earth, where big labs can wring far more data from them than by
remote control using small instruments on a scout vehicle.
"2018 will start the era of Mars Sample Return," Doug Mc Cuistion, director
of NASA's Mars Exploration Programme, told a press conference.
The preliminary report, issued in Paris by a working group, sketched a
mission profile and flight design but also cautioned that many challenges
Its authors said that, regardless of the start date, it would take five
years for the precious 500-gramme (1.1-pound) sample to be brought back to
Earth and space powers had to pool resources to achieve the extraordinary
Stephane Janichewski, deputy director of France's National Centre for Space
Studies (Cnes) said "at least a transatlantic cooperation" was needed
between Europe and the United States to fulfil this "very challenging"
"It's a sort of (Holy) Grail we are looking for," said Janichewski,
referring to the project's scope.
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