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Mars sample return, a concept point design by Team-X (JPL's advanced project design team)

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1 Author(s)
R. Oberto ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA

A Mars sample return mission will answer critical questions concerning the possibility of life on Mars. Shallow drilling from the Lander provides pristine samples while the rover provides samples from a variety of sites. Included are discussions of a Mars sample return mission point design where requirements development, mission design, flight system design and identification of technology developments needed to enable the mission are presented. After launch on a Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle, the Lander and Orbiter are separated and individually guided to Mars. The Lander is targeted for direct atmospheric entry where it will use active aerodynamic control to arrive within a few kilometers of the landing site. After surface operations the Mars Ascent Vehicle is launched into low Mars orbit where the Orbiter, after Mars orbit insertion and aero-braking, has arrived to rendezvous with the sample. Once the sample is placed in the Earth Entry Vehicle (EEV), the Orbiter returns the EEV for direct Earth entry. Many technology advances are needed to enable a Mars sample return mission. The spacecraft must be able to perform an autonomous landing on Mars while avoiding hazards. An autonomous Mars launch system will need to be developed along with an autonomous system for rendezvous and capture of the sample.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference Proceedings, 2002. IEEE  (Volume:2 )

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