Sample return mission to the planet Ceres

Monday, December 01, 2008

From Wikipedia: Enhanced-color view of Phobos obtained by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on March 23, 2008.

That's what the discussion I mentioned before on is beginning to focus on. One person has made the good point that by the time we can start to think about a rover and lander / sample-return mission to Ceres, we'll have the experiences of Phobos-Grunt (Фобос-Грунт, a sample-return mission to Mars' moon Phobos) and Hayabusa, which is on its way back to Earth right now. Ceres will be that much harder to get back than a moon like Phobos:
The return rocket will sit atop the spacecraft, and will need to rise at 35 km/h to escape Phobos' gravity. To protect experiments remaining on the lander, springs will vault the rocket to a safe height, at which its engines will fire and begin maneuvers for the eventual trip to Earth.
But certainly nothing close to the level of difficulty/cost in getting back from Mars.


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