Fwd = Returning Rocks from Mars: The Latest Plans
- Forwarded by: fwestra@... (Frits Westra)
Originally from: baalke@...
Original Subject: Returning Rocks from Mars: The Latest Plans
Original Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001 09:18:32 -0700 (PDT)
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Returning Rocks from Mars: The Latest Plans
By Leonard Davis
01 October 2001
WASHINGTON -- The robotic reach to the Red Planet includes grabbing, bagging
and then shipping Martian soil and rocks back to Earth.
But bringing home the goods, Mars style, is neither easy nor cheap to do. In
terms of engineering difficulty, some officials call it "Apollo without
For years, NASA has wrestled with numerous cash and carry concepts to return
chunks of the extraterrestrial terra firma, enough material so
electron-microscope peering scientists can get a hands-on feel for Mars.
Scrutiny of those bits and pieces may well reveal a message of life. Whether
it's old news or a fresh communique from the Sun's fourth planet is part of
Bolstered by the purported finding of microfossils in Mars meteorite ALH
84001, top NASA officials once ballyhooed plans to have Martian material
here on Earth by 2005. That enthusiasm was squashed with the back-to-back
Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander losses.
Now under way is another look at how best to return Martian samples to
Earth. Industry and NASA teams are scoping out a strategy to scoop up a
healthy serving of Mars and lob it our way. On the table is a novel approach
to utilize the space shuttle as part of the Mars-to-Earth transportation
Full story here:
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