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View Full Version : Questions About a "Sample Return Mission"



skrap1r0n
2004-Mar-02, 09:47 PM
I seem to have to qualify all my question with the fact that I am interested but very ignorant (I think I am going to make that my sig). So please bear with me on these questions.

The news conference we recently watched making the case for water having been present on mars in the past has opened up several questions, primarily regarding the Mission to return samples for further study.

First, I fail to see why the current rovers are not equipped to take core samples. I have no evidence to back this up, but it seems to me that given the atmosphereic conditions on Mars, Water would most likely sublimate from frost directly to gas if exposed (this is an assumption on my part).

First, how would a core sample that may or may not contain permafrost be extracted without the water evaporating?

Second, Lets postulate that there MAY be bacteria in a core sample, or any sample for that matter. How would these samples be returned to us and yest keep any possible living samples alive? Wouldn't stellar contidions harm or at least damage these samples?

It almost seems like the return probe would have to have a chamber that would be shielded from stellar conditions yet maintain mars surface conditions.

Thoughts or comments?

somerandomguy
2004-Mar-02, 09:49 PM
I seem to have to qualify all my question with the fact that I am interested but very ignorant (I think I am going to make that my sig).

You're speaking my language!! #-o =D>

edit: one stolen sig line, coming up!

skrap1r0n
2004-Mar-02, 09:51 PM
lol I already modified my sig, but feel free to use it. The more I learn the more I realize how ignorant I am

somerandomguy
2004-Mar-02, 10:00 PM
Anyway on the topic, I found these:

Here's (http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/missions/mars_samplereturn_000929.html) a space.com piece on the subject, a little out of date.

Then there's this (http://sse.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/profile.cfm?Sort=Target&Target=Mars&MCode=MarsSamp le) from JPL:

In the second decade of the century, NASA plans additional science orbiters, rovers and landers, and the first mission to return samples of Martian rock and soil to Earth. Current plans call for the first sample return mission to be launched in 2014, and a second in 2016. Options that would significantly increase the rate of mission launch and/or accelerate the schedule of exploration are under study, including launching the first sample return mission as early as 2011. Technology development for advanced capabilities such as miniaturized surface science instruments and deep drilling to hundreds of meters will also be carried out in this period.

Sigh, these guys (http://www.icamsr.org) specifically don't want us to bring back a sample.

edit to add:

Says here (http://sse.jpl.nasa.gov/news/display.cfm?News_ID=6436) that they tested the parts of the Mars Orbit Rendezvous concept on the ISS recently. Can't find the results of the tests, or whether they were actually done.

And JPL's Technology center has heaps of pretty pictures (http://technology.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/techGallery/gallery/gl_pages/mav_launch-550.html) of what a sample return mission would look like.

Seems the basic concept so far is Apollo-esque. An orbiter arrives and dispatches a bunch of rovers. They land, scoop up dirt, stick it in little tiny ascent vehicles, and lob them back to the orbiter, which brings them back to Earth.

Sales of "The Andromeda Strain" skyrocket.

skrap1r0n
2004-Mar-02, 10:32 PM
ok so we build a base on the moon and quarantine all samples to be studied on the moon base. Personally, I would be all for increasing the space exploration budget.

I guess I am curious as to how they are going to preserve the samples on the flight home.

aurora
2004-Mar-02, 11:39 PM
I guess I am curious as to how they are going to preserve the samples on the flight home.

Well, they could just put them in a pressurized (pressurized to Mars surface) container and ship it that way.

Or they could put it in a container that is unpressurized.

There were bacteria that hitched a ride to the moon on one of the earlier Lunar missions (Surveyor 3), Apollo astronauts visited the lander, removed the camera and brought it back to Earth. The bacteria were still viable after having sat on the surface of the moon for two years.

http://www.astronautix.com/graphics/0/10075419.jpg

edited to add the image.