Mars Sample Return
The Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission intends to collect several samples from the Martian surface and return them back to Earth for detailed analysis, including the search for evidence of past or present life.
The scale of such a mission implies that it is simply too large and complex to be carried out by just one country or agency. It is likely the MSR mission will be carried out through an international cooperation led by NASA. With NASA indicating a possible launch date of 2016 for MSR it is important to begin addressing the technological requirements of this mission.
ESA has already performed systems studies into one possible MSR concept and so already has a good understanding of some of the requirements of such a mission. This so-called ground breaking sample return mission will obtain a rock or soil sample from directly beneath the lander and return it to Earth.
Based on this study, several technology requirements have been identified, and some development activities are already initiated or planned to mature technologies for this.
Click on the various sections of the images below to find out more about these.
Last update: 17 October 2005