Mars Sample Return mission, artwork

Mars Sample Return mission, artwork

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Caption: Mars Sample Return mission, artwork. This CNES (French) spacecraft (here, firing its engines) was based on plans proposed in the late 1990s to obtain samples from Mars and return them to Earth. One plan was proposed for launch in 2007, with sample return in 2008. This was cancelled, but various sample return missions are still being planned (such as ExoMars, scheduled for 2018). This one was designed to deploy four NetLander probes (brown cones) to descend to the Martian surface. The other aim of the mission would be to find and collect samples injected into orbit by an earlier Mars lander, and then return them to Earth.

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