The Planetary Society’s Lou Friedman has an interesting post on the status of efforts by NASA and ESA to mount a Mars sample return (MSR) mission.
Friedman reports that although there is much interest in the idea, cost estimates keep growing because of the complexity of the effort. He reaches the following conclusions:
- There will never be enough money in the science budget for NASA to do a Mars Sample Return mission alone;
- The MSR mission will require international cooperation: technically, politically, and economically;
- MSR is not a single mission — it is multiple missions, or in NASA-speak, a program.