Dec 20 2004, 03:45 PM
All the talk about Phoenix and MSL reminded me, isnít ESA planning a rover for 2009?
Is 2009 still the planned launch year?
Any info about its capabilities? How will it compare to MSL?
What sort of EDL is it going to use?
Dec 20 2004, 03:56 PM
Dec 20 2004, 04:16 PM
To be honest - it's unlikely to go ahead. It would be slightly larger than MER - solar powered - and have a payload a little more like MSL called 'Pasteur' - for biology research.
However imho - before dedicating E500m+ to it, they need to prove they can do ANY EDL to mars with a Beagle follow up - in the mould of Netlander.
Dec 20 2004, 05:44 PM
It kind of suprises me that there is no test mission such as you describe planned. I hope the Europeans can get something to Mars this decade. I also wish the Russians would send some of those penetrators they sent on Mars '96. I have always thought that pride keeps them from getting back in the game. The only mission they have in the works is the Phobos-Grunt Phobos sample return mission, which will probably never fly. If they were willing to fly a small scale mission, with a flyby bus and copies of the Mars '96 penetrators, they could cheaply return to Mars and get a lot of science, assuming that the U.S. and European probes already in place would provide a data relay.