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Mars NASA Space News Science

Could Curiosity Rover Moonlight As Part of a Sample Return Mission? 65

pigrabbitbear writes "After recent budget cuts to NASA's Mars program, the agency's dream of a sample return mission within the next decade is dead in the water. But the $2.5 billion rover Curiosity is on its way to the red planet right now, and speculation is popping up online that it could fairly easily be retrofitted with the hardware needed to collect and store samples. Theoretically NASA would just need one more mission to collect and return those samples, turning Curiosity into the first phase of the sample return dream."
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Could Curiosity Rover Moonlight As Part of a Sample Return Mission?

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  • Cost (Score:4, Informative)

    by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @01:52AM (#39229463)
    Most of the cost of a sample return mission is the launcher to get the rocks back into space. Compared to that a basic rover is cheap.
  • Re:Pathetic (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 03, 2012 @02:26AM (#39229559)

    Are you fucking KIDDING me? How could a manned mission NOT have MASSIVE appreciable scientific return? Transporting humans to the surface of another planet with a long voyage, keeping them fed, radiation free, healthy and happy. Actually performing more science in a few days than the rovers have in their entire history. The list goes on and on. Just the engineering of the space craft and habitat would have IMMENSE value to mankind. Let alone the vast amounts of technology that come collaterally from such endeavors.

    Its not wonder we don't do these things, because dipshits like you are making decisions out of stupidity and total blind ignorance.

    Lets just instead give trillions of dollars to billionaire gamblers (err, bankers). That does a lot for the world.

  • by Bomazi ( 1875554 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @06:45AM (#39230119)

    Do you know that the MERs lowered the landing platform on a cable, followed by rocket engine ignition and a brief hover period ? Do you know that, for some reason, it worked, twice, with no broken or tangled cable ?

    See it here [] (3:03 - 3:33).

    MSL uses the exact same technique, only it is simpler since after the cables are cut the rover is already on the ground. So the second part with the platform egress is not required. The only new elements are the detection of the touchdown and the fly away. The first has been extensively studied after the failure of Mars Polar Lander and the second is trivial. So no surprise there.

    In summary, the MSL EDL sequence is simpler than that of the MERs and almost entirely flight proven.

    Yet for some reason I see a number of jackasses like yourself who see the video and claim that it is too complicated. Maybe you could document yourself or (shockingly) admit that the JPL is not staffed by idiots.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall