Author Topic: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission  (Read 178091 times)

Offline zubenelgenubi

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NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« on: 03/12/2019 07:01 pm »
I'm starting a new thread in the Mars mission sub-forum for Mars Sample Return, as MSR may be proposed for a new mission start in the Fiscal Year 2020 NASA planetary science budget.  (A new start request has not yet been apparently confirmed.)

Previous Mars sample return updates and discussion can be found in this thread, in the Space Science sub-forum.

I couldn't find a separate line item for MSR in the NASA budget documents released yesterday.  However, The Planetary Society has such in this piece by Casey Dreier, dated March 11: Amidst Cuts to NASA, Mars Sample Return May Finally Happen

Quote
The Mars 2020 rover will take the first step by caching a carefully selected and well-documented set samples on the surface. The next mission will be to retrieve these samples from Jezero crater and launch them into Mars orbit. The Administration proposes $109 million for FY2020 to develop this sample-retrieval mission.

A third mission would rendezvous with the orbiting samples and return them to Earth. ESA is considering a major contribution to that third spacecraft, with a decision due later this year.
« Last Edit: 07/07/2019 02:12 pm by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline kc0081

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #1 on: 05/26/2019 08:32 am »
The thought of a Mars sample return has always intrigued me, there would be so much that we would learn.

 Sending a NASA mission to collect a sample and return it to Earth is extremely costly and time consuming for a US Government ran organization.
   
  I sometimes wonder, what if a private space craft company were to send a robotic mission to the red planet and bring back, say, 5, 10, or so samples and offer to sale the pristine red regolith to the highest bidding country’s.

  What would be a fair asking price per sample considering the cost of the mission for a single country?

Maybe 1 b for each of your 10 samples? 2 b for each of your 10 samples? It would save a sole country billions.

  What would your price be if you just brought back  samples from Mars?


Offline Dalhousie

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #2 on: 05/26/2019 10:56 pm »
The thought of a Mars sample return has always intrigued me, there would be so much that we would learn.

 Sending a NASA mission to collect a sample and return it to Earth is extremely costly and time consuming for a US Government ran organization.
   
  I sometimes wonder, what if a private space craft company were to send a robotic mission to the red planet and bring back, say, 5, 10, or so samples and offer to sale the pristine red regolith to the highest bidding country’s.

  What would be a fair asking price per sample considering the cost of the mission for a single country?

Maybe 1 b for each of your 10 samples? 2 b for each of your 10 samples? It would save a sole country billions.

  What would your price be if you just brought back  samples from Mars?

Why should they pay?  Samples returned from the Moon by the US and the USSR are made available free of charge.
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Offline speedevil

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #3 on: 05/26/2019 10:58 pm »
Why should they pay?  Samples returned from the Moon by the US and the USSR are made available free of charge.
Fine, if random companies can access tax revenue to get those samples, rather than being paid for them.

Offline kc0081

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #4 on: 05/27/2019 06:00 am »
The idea I have here is, a thought experiment so to speak, you have a country such as the United States that has interest in a sample return mission at Mars, due to the cost and delays it will take decades. Look how the JWST has ballooned way over budget and the launch date slipped year after year. Look at the SLS, billions over budget and behind on schedule. It seems every time the government gets into building/contracting space vehicles, its over budget and delayed and delayed.

Now, what if we take a private company, I will use SpaceX, and imagine that they decide to build a Mars sample return vehicle and launch a sample return mission on there own. Why would they do this? {this is all hypothetical} EM has the awesome goal of putting people on Mars to stay. He needs funding, he is gonna get a lot of that pretty soon with StarLink but he could get even more.

So again, imagine if they decided to do the sample return mission, it would go so much faster then a government contractor and  way, way cheaper.

I can only guess at how much it would cost SpaceX to do this, but they own there own rocket company. Would it take one Falcon Heavy launch? Maybe two FH's to get the vehicle to Mars. Maybe one Falcon 9 to retrieve the cargo in Earth orbit?  Would it cost SpaceX one billion? two billion?

I have seen one estimate for a NASA sample return mission with a projected cost of 10 billion, but that would surely double or triple and be delayed a decade or so.

So, back to my point, if a private company could do it cheaper and quicker than NASA, why not let them do it. What if SpaceX brought 10 samples back and sold them for 1 billion a piece, NASA and us tax payers would have one heck of a bargain. And SpaceX would profit 6-9 billion dollars {guesstimates}.

EM would be even closer to having us on Mars to stay.

As far as giving free samples away, that is a very noble gesture for a powerful nation, but that idea doesn't fit with  this particular mechanism.

Offline vjkane

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #5 on: 05/27/2019 04:04 pm »
I have seen one estimate for a NASA sample return mission with a projected cost of 10 billion, but that would surely double or triple and be delayed a decade or so.
You may want to check your estimates.  With ESA contributions, NASA's costs will be much less than $10B.  The last Decadal Survey estimated that the portions of the mission that NASA principally would contribute would be about $4B with the portions ESA principally would contribute being about another $2B.

As for a NASA/ESA mission being decades away, you might want to read this from the House appropriations bill currently under consideration:

Mars Exploration Program.—The Committee provides $570,000,000, which is $23,500,000 greater than the requested level, for the Mars Exploration Program to ensure launch of the Mars 2020 mission and to further development of a Mars Sample Return mission to be launched in 2026. Given that sample return was the highest priority of the previous planetary science decadal survey, NASA shall provide the Committee with a year-by-year fu-ture funding profile for a planned focused Mars sample return mis-sion to be ready for a 2026 launch.

Offline bolun

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #6 on: 05/27/2019 07:33 pm »
Mars Sample Return overview infographic

Bringing samples from Mars is the logical next step for robotic exploration and it will require multiple missions that will be more challenging and more advanced than any robotic missions before. Accomplishments in robotic exploration in recent years have increased confidence in success – multiple launches will be necessary to deliver samples from Mars.

ESA is working with NASA to explore mission concepts for an international Mars Sample Return campaign between 2020 and 2030.

Three launches will be necessary to accomplish landing, collecting, storing and finding samples and delivering them to Earth.

NASA’s Mars 2020 mission will explore the surface and rigorously document and store a set of samples in canisters in strategic areas to be retrieved later for flight to Earth.

Two subsequent missions are foreseen to achieve this next step.

A NASA launch will send the Sample Retrieval Lander mission to land a platform near the Mars 2020 site. From here, a small ESA rover – the Sample Fetch Rover – will head out to retrieve the cached samples.

Once it has collected them in what can be likened to an interplanetary treasure hunt, it will return to the lander platform and load them into a single large canister on the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV). This vehicle will perform the first liftoff from Mars and carry the container into Mars orbit.

ESA’s Earth Return Orbiter will be the next mission, timed to capture the basketball-size sample container orbiting Mars. The samples will be sealed in a biocontainment system to prevent contaminating Earth with unsterilised material before being moved into an Earth entry capsule.

The spacecraft will then return to Earth, where it will release the entry capsule for the samples to end up in a specialised handling facility.

ESA and NASA are exploring the concepts for these missions, with ESA assessing the Sample Fetch Rover and Earth Return Orbiter. These will provide input to ESA’s 2019 council at ministerial level, where approval will be sought for the missions.

Related article: Europe to Mars and back!

https://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2019/05/Mars_Sample_Return_overview_infographic

Image credit: ESA–K. Oldenburg

Offline vjkane

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #7 on: 05/27/2019 08:02 pm »
ESA and NASA are exploring the concepts for these missions, with ESA assessing the Sample Fetch Rover and Earth Return Orbiter. These will provide input to ESA’s 2019 council at ministerial level, where approval will be sought for the missions.
Under the division of work, NASA would also provide the Earth sample return capsule.

Online Zed_Noir

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #8 on: 05/27/2019 10:55 pm »
The viability of the current NASA/ESA Mars Sample Return mission concept presumes a certain commercial company will not get to Mars by 2026. What is plan B, if said company get to Mars by 2026?

Offline joek

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #9 on: 05/27/2019 11:28 pm »
The viability of the current NASA/ESA Mars Sample Return mission concept presumes a certain commercial company will not get to Mars by 2026. What is plan B, if said company get to Mars by 2026?

Viability of current sample return mission is independent of other efforts.  Current mission will proceed apace unless and until there is an existence proof (or at least high probability) of alternatives.  When and if a certain commercial company demonstrates that, we may see different.  Until then, assume and expect more of the same.

Offline kc0081

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #10 on: 05/28/2019 06:30 am »
I do feel that I understand the logistics of the sample return infrastructure. Multiple vehicles and launches ect. I am addressing only one single entity, not a co-effort sample mission such as NASA/ESA.

My simple question here is, if I landed on Earth today and offered 1 once of Martian soil to a nation,  with all the knowledge of the above replies, what is it worth?

$1.00?
$$ 1,289.77?

Offline jacqmans

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #11 on: 05/28/2019 10:00 am »
Jacques :-)

Offline jacqmans

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #12 on: 05/28/2019 10:02 am »
Jacques :-)

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #13 on: 06/06/2019 10:11 pm »
Re-post from an older thread re: the history of MSR:
History of Mars Ascent Vehicle Development Over the Last 20 Years - Robert Shotwell, Mars program chief engineer at JPL.   March 2016 at IEEE Aerospace

Drivers, Developments and Options Under Consideration for a Mars Ascent Vehicle - Robert Shotwell, Joel Benito, Ashley Karp , JPL, John Dankanich, MSFC

Two accompanying papers from the same team, Technology development and design of liquid bi-propellant mars ascent vehicles and  Technology development and design of a hybrid Mars ascent vehicle concept

Highly recommend the first one at least.
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Offline whitelancer64

Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #14 on: 06/06/2019 10:58 pm »
I do feel that I understand the logistics of the sample return infrastructure. Multiple vehicles and launches ect. I am addressing only one single entity, not a co-effort sample mission such as NASA/ESA.

My simple question here is, if I landed on Earth today and offered 1 once of Martian soil to a nation,  with all the knowledge of the above replies, what is it worth?

$1.00?
$$ 1,289.77?

On the open market, Martian meteorites go for about $30,000 per ounce, so 1 ounce of Mars, if pristine, would probably be worth about ten times that.
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Offline Nomadd

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #15 on: 06/06/2019 11:22 pm »
I do feel that I understand the logistics of the sample return infrastructure. Multiple vehicles and launches ect. I am addressing only one single entity, not a co-effort sample mission such as NASA/ESA.

My simple question here is, if I landed on Earth today and offered 1 once of Martian soil to a nation,  with all the knowledge of the above replies, what is it worth?

$1.00?
$$ 1,289.77?

On the open market, Martian meteorites go for about $30,000 per ounce, so 1 ounce of Mars, if pristine, would probably be worth about ten times that.
Not if there were a thousand of them for sale.
« Last Edit: 06/06/2019 11:22 pm by Nomadd »
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Offline whitelancer64

Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #16 on: 06/07/2019 08:50 pm »
I do feel that I understand the logistics of the sample return infrastructure. Multiple vehicles and launches ect. I am addressing only one single entity, not a co-effort sample mission such as NASA/ESA.

My simple question here is, if I landed on Earth today and offered 1 once of Martian soil to a nation,  with all the knowledge of the above replies, what is it worth?

$1.00?
$$ 1,289.77?

On the open market, Martian meteorites go for about $30,000 per ounce, so 1 ounce of Mars, if pristine, would probably be worth about ten times that.
Not if there were a thousand of them for sale.

That's not what the OP asked.

But there ARE thousands of meteorites for sale, and even a tiny common iron one can sell for the equivalent of hundreds of dollars per ounce. Larger ones fetch much more, and rare types still more. A supply of a thousand one-ounce pristine samples of Mars could still conceivably go for several tens of thousands of dollars each.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline kc0081

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #17 on: 06/08/2019 02:08 pm »
We must take into consideration that the “value” of a sample is based on the scientific return of the sample weighed with the cost of the mission to your government to bring it back to Earth and get it in your hands.

In my earlier post, I gave an estimate of 10 billion {at least} for a NASA sample return mission. Whitelancer64 responded with a, seemingly low, $30,000 for a private third party sample. I had hoped to get few more replies regarding the monetary value of an actual sample.

So maybe the real value or “drive” for the mission is actually for a nation’s bragging rights? Look what we have done, and you can’t? And not so much of the scientific value of the sample itself, i.e. extinct or extant life.

This is interesting, my personal thoughts was that a nation, like the US, would gladly pay 1b for a sample from a third party. So, maybe I am completely wrong in my assumptions. Maybe it’s all about the prestige of the government funded mission after all.

Offline vjkane

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #18 on: 06/09/2019 06:26 pm »
A recent (June 5, 2019) overview of NASA and ESA's Mars sample return plans.

http://fiso.spiritastro.net/telecon/Muirhead_6-5-19/

Offline Lar

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Re: NASA/ESA - Mars Sample Return mission
« Reply #19 on: 06/09/2019 07:01 pm »
kc0081

The value is time dependent. 10 billion or so for the first batch returned  (spread over however many ounces) doesn't seem at all unreasonable.

MSR is prudent to continue funding until and unless it's obvious something else will blow past it. We are not there yet with SS/SH but I can only hope they are looking at how to terminate or repurpose quickly if that actually happens. At this point it's reasonable to assign a low probability to not being first to return samples. But it was not that long ago that it was "very low" rather than low.

This is a bit off topic of the mission specific details that the thread is properly primarily concerned with.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
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