The Mars Sample Return mission is going to be exorbitantly expensive. NASA is looking at alternative methods to accomplish the mission. Entertainment. Science. Science. Sign up to receive the latest tech and entertainment news.
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That new report essentially deemed the entire mission unrealistic based on the current budget and schedule. Now, the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group, which comprises five subcommittees, is looking for a way to pull the mission off in a way that isn’t quite as unrealistic.
As a refresher, the current schedule and budgeting for NASA’s Mars Sample Return mission currently says the project will cost between $8 billion and $11 billion throughout its entire lifecycle. Further, NASA hoped to launch the mission in 2028, with the samples returning to Earth in the mid-2030s.
While that might not sound that bad, the space agency has been struggling to keep the budget where it needs to be to keep things moving smoothly. The mission received $822. 3 million in a 2023 spending bill, while NASA had requested $949. 3 million. Further, the agency says it needs an additional $250 million this fiscal year and in 2024 to keep the mission on schedule.
That’s an insane amount of money to dish out, but the mission will require multiple spacecraft and robots to pull off its objectives. It’s a complex mission, and while it isn’t unusual for it to cost so much, NASA needs to find an alternative way to move the Mars Sample Return mission forward.
The space agency is working to reduce the overall cost by utilizing as much work that has been done. The agency also wants to improve the reliability of the mission. It’s unclear what an alternative to the Mars Sample Return might look like at the moment.
The Mars Sample Return mission is an important scientific mission that could finally teach us more about the Red Planet, as it would put samples from that world into the hands of human scientists here on Earth. NASA will do everything they can to pull off the mission, even though it is a huge gamble.
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