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Fwd = Returning Rocks from Mars: The Latest Plans

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl (Frits Westra) Originally from: baalke@jpl.nasa.gov Original Subject: Returning Rocks from Mars: The Latest Plans Original
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2001
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      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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      http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/missions/marssample_return_011001-1.html

      Returning Rocks from Mars: The Latest Plans
      By Leonard Davis
      space.com
      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
      astronauts."

      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
      the allure.

      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
      link.

      Full story here:

      http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/missions/marssample_return_011001-1.html

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