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Mars Sample Return
nprev
post Jul 4 2007, 05:51 AM
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Sounds like one of the old Soviet manned Mars mission proposals, IIRC.


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dvandorn
post Jul 4 2007, 04:24 PM
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Such a mission has a lot to be said for it. For one thing, it's easier to send a lot of lab equipment to, say, Phobos than to the surface of Mars, and it's likely cheaper (in terms of energy) to get the mass of the equipment you want to use to study Mars rocks to Phobos than it is to bring the rocks all the way back to Earth.

So, you set up a manned microgravity habitat on/in Phobos, outfit it with the best analysis tools you can easily get out there, and send down small sample return probes that bring you up a few kg of carefully selected rocks and soils every few months. Your PIs live on Phobos and send the detailed data back to colleagues on Earth.

What would be the minimum lab requirements for a Phobos geological analysis base? You'd want to have fine-scale composition and isotope analysis, as well as the best rock dating equipment you can afford to transport. You'd also want equipment for examining micro-fossils (just in case) and for examining ices and such for possible biological activity or remnants.

What suite of instruments would best serve your purposes in such a set-up? What are their power requirements? And how much of it can be feasibly transported via rocket from Earth to Phobos? Those are the questions I'd be asking right now...

-the other Doug


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helvick
post Jul 4 2007, 05:32 PM
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One fairly big problem that I see with the idea though is that the stuff that you loft up from the Martian surface would also have to land on Phobos and do so incredibly precisely and without damaging your lab. That's pretty hard if you ask me - It seems to me that it would be a lot easier to send stuff all the way back to Earth. The Delta-V difference between "Mars-Surface to landed on Phobos" and "Mars-Surface to Earth C3=0 orbit" is only 1.5km/sec.
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tty
post Jul 5 2007, 02:11 PM
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QUOTE (dvandorn @ Jul 4 2007, 06:24 PM) *
So, you set up a manned microgravity habitat on/in Phobos, outfit it with the best analysis tools you can easily get out there, and send down small sample return probes that bring you up a few kg of carefully selected rocks and soils every few months. Your PIs live on Phobos and send the detailed data back to colleagues on Earth.


It seems to me that the most efficient way to use a manned outpost on Phobos would be to search for bits and pieces of Martian rock on Phobos itself. Nearly every large impact on Mars must have caused some debris to end up on Phobos. You could do the preliminary selection and analysis on Phobos and send the most interesting bits back to Earth for detailed study. In this way it should be possible to get at least a rough outline of Martian historical geology and also "ground truth" data to interpret orbital imagery.

Another fairly simple and cheap, though very limited form of sample return would be to expose a Stardust-type collector during aerobraking and returning it using a small Earth-return stage.
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gpurcell
post Jul 5 2007, 02:57 PM
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QUOTE (tty @ Jul 5 2007, 02:11 PM) *
Another fairly simple and cheap, though very limited form of sample return would be to expose a Stardust-type collector during aerobraking and returning it using a small Earth-return stage.


SCIM has been proposed in the last two Scout competitions and would follow that mission profile.
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mchan
post Jul 5 2007, 11:13 PM
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QUOTE (dvandorn @ Jul 4 2007, 09:24 AM) *
Such a mission has a lot to be said for it. For one thing, it's easier to send a lot of lab equipment to, say, Phobos than to the surface of Mars, and it's likely cheaper (in terms of energy) to get the mass of the equipment you want to use to study Mars rocks to Phobos than it is to bring the rocks all the way back to Earth.

So, you set up a manned microgravity habitat on/in Phobos, outfit it with the best analysis tools you can easily get out there, and send down small sample return probes that bring you up a few kg of carefully selected rocks and soils every few months. Your PIs live on Phobos and send the detailed data back to colleagues on Earth.

Would it be cheaper to bring the rocks or the PIs back to Earth? The PIs are coming back, right? unsure.gif
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dvandorn
post Jul 6 2007, 03:54 AM
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Well, it depends... the PIs have to get their results published before they can come home, after all... wink.gif

-the other Doug


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centsworth_II
post Jul 6 2007, 05:27 AM
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Publish or perish? ohmy.gif
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dvandorn
post Jul 6 2007, 06:06 AM
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Literally!

-the other Doug


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lyford
post Jul 6 2007, 03:23 PM
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biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif


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"Zis is not nuts, zis is super-nuts!" Mathematician Richard Courant on viewing an Orion test
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jul 6 2007, 11:40 PM
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Mars Mission May Be Moved Up
By Frank Morring, Jr.
Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
July 6, 2007
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ustrax
post Jul 26 2007, 10:44 AM
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Didn't know where to put this...

"Let's get this done ... make some history," Stern concluded.

This is how I like to hear them talking! biggrin.gif


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gndonald
post Jul 26 2007, 12:17 PM
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QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Jul 4 2007, 08:22 AM) *
Antipode, funny you should mention that, as I am now writing up a description of a mission which includes some elements of what you describe. More on this later.

Phil


Was this by any chance the 'Mars Twilight Flyby' that NASA was planning in 1966?

As I remember the documents I looked through the plan was to fly past Mars, drop off six probes (1 orbiters, 3 hard landers & 2 soft landers), one of which would rocket into orbit a capsule containing a Mars rock/atmosphere sample and film from a high resolution camera for pickup by the manned flyby craft.

On the way back the astronauts would analyze the surface samples and beam the results back to Earth.
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Phil Stooke
post Jul 26 2007, 06:07 PM
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gndonald:

"Was this by any chance the 'Mars Twilight Flyby' that NASA was planning in 1966? "

No. It's about Phobos, and has evolved into my abstract for the Phobos conference.

Phil


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JRehling
post Jul 26 2007, 08:56 PM
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[...]
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