Mars Sample Return separation, artwork

Mars Sample Return separation, artwork

C011/7636 Rights Managed

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Credit: DAVID DUCROS, CNES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Mars Sample Return separation, artwork. This CNES (French) spacecraft 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 separate into stages with the stage at left used to find and collect samples injected into orbit by an earlier Mars lander, and then return them to Earth. The stage at right would also enter orbit around Mars and carry out other mission objectives.

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