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Waspie_Dwarf

NASA, ESA to return Mars rocks to Earth

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Waspie_Dwarf

Space agencies intent on mission to deliver Mars rocks to Earth

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The US and European space agencies are edging towards a joint mission to bring back rock and soil samples from Mars.

Nasa and Esa have signed a letter of intent that could lead to the first "round trip" to another planet.

The move was announced as a meeting in Berlin, Germany, discussed the science goals and feasibility of a Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission.

arrow3.gif  Read More: BBC News

 

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Seti42

Now, this is realistic, and with a realistic timetable. I laugh every time someone talks about sending people to Mars.

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Waspie_Dwarf
6 minutes ago, Seti42 said:

I laugh every time someone talks about sending people to Mars.

People laughed when heavier than air flight was proposed.

People laughed when Tsiolkovsky and Goddard said rockets could take humans into space.

People laughed when Kennedy said the USA would land a man on the Moon by the end of the decade.

There are always people that laugh, eventually they always end up looking foolish.

 

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pallidin

The most daunting task, by far, will be lifting those samples into orbit.

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Waspie_Dwarf
7 hours ago, pallidin said:

The most daunting task, by far, will be lifting those samples into orbit.

Obviously it won't be easy, but I'm not sure that it is as daunting as it would have been even a decade ago.

Unlike the moon there is an (albeit very thin) atmosphere on Mars. which complicates things, however the rocket needed to lift those samples to orbit can be surprisingly small. The amount of fuel needed for reaching orbit rises almost exponentially with the gravity of the planet.. higher velocity need to reach orbit requires more fuel, but more fuel increases mass, which requires more fuel. Because Mars has only 1/3 the surface gravity of Earth then a very small launch vehicle will do the job.

Computer technology has advanced hugely in the last few years, Not long ago the automatic rendezvous and docking of the sample capsule with an in orbit booster stage would have been technically challenging. In an age where SpaceX can autonomously land a large booster stage on a small barge then these challenges are easier to solve.

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cyclopes500

They won't manage it. Each time a new president gets into the white House they make changes. Money already spent gets wasted and the hidden total cost goes up even more. The only time this might change is when it becomes likely Chinese and Russian boots will be on the Red planet first. It'll be the same with the moon. You'll see Chinese astronauts standing next to a US rover. On its neck will be flying the Chinese flag. Or worse. A pipe popping out of a space suit and the bloke p***ing on the rover. Meanwhile ESA will be sitting on a US made bus on earth owned by a company called NASA. It'll have no wheels or engine. It will go nowhere under the current system. At the end America and the entire West will be a global laughing stock with zero influence, ESA will wonder if they could have done more, and then innocent scapegoat heads will roll in nasa while the guilty cost cutting politicians fight to save their careers.

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cyclopes500

Remember it's Mars. Out of all the places in our solar system it's the only one likely to be terraformed. Would you want your descendants breathing Marsian air without a suit and looking up at a Chinese monument with a blue sky in the background? I wouldn't with their record.

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Waspie_Dwarf
2 hours ago, cyclopes500 said:

Remember it's Mars. Out of all the places in our solar system it's the only one likely to be terraformed. Would you want your descendants breathing Marsian air without a suit and looking up at a Chinese monument with a blue sky in the background? I wouldn't with their record.

Quite frankly I hope that by the time our descendants are breathing Martian air such petty jingoism is a thing of the past.

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Waspie_Dwarf

Here is a NASA/ESA video on the concept:

 

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