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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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  • Re:Pathetic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by demachina ( 71715 ) on Saturday March 03, 2012 @12:08PM (#39231497)

    Its a circular problem because the "US lack of excitement" for space exploration is because NASA seldom does anything particularly exciting. The Shuttle and ISS were/are an exercise in tedious boredom, very expensive exercises too.

    Some of JPL's missions and some of the great observatory's are modestly interesting, almost exciting even, but they aren't going to capitivate the public.

    This submission seems a lot like the Saturn oxygen submission yesterday. I'm starting to think /. is the new forum for JPL/ESA/university teams to lobby for funding for their pet projects.

    A sample return mission would be an interesting technical achievement, but I seriously can't see the payoff being worth the expense. Curiosity is going to be able to examine samples in fairly considerable depth and probably in greater volume than a sample return mission. We also think we already have 99 samples from Mars from metereoites [] that were ejected from Mars and have landed on Earth.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva