DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID DUCROS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mars Sample Return orbiter. Computer artwork of the Mars Sample Return orbiter using the Martian atmosphere to brake and enter orbit around the planet. This is an aerocapture manoeuvre. This CNES (French) orbiter is planned for a 2007 launch. Once in orbit, it will find and collect samples injected into orbit by an earlier Mars lander, returning them to Earth for analysis. As part of its mission, the orbiter will also deploy four NetLander probes before it begins the braking manoeuvre. These probes are designed to land on, and investigate, widely separated areas of Mars.
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