Mars Sample Return collection, artwork

Mars Sample Return collection, artwork

C011/7637 Rights Managed

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Credit: DAVID DUCROS, CNES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Mars Sample Return collection, 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 design shows the collection stage in orbit around Mars, using optical and radio methods to locate and collect a spherical ball (centre left). This contains samples injected into orbit by a Mars lander, and then returned to Earth by this collection spacecraft.

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