Repurposing Curiosity

The recent cuts to NASA’s budget (after many delays, my article about the budget will be up tomorrow) has effectively killed the agency’s plan of returning Martian samples to Earth within a decade. But could Curiosity, the rover currently en route to Mars, be modified to collect samples? The rover could theoretically become the first stage in a sample return mission, requiring just one follow-up mission to collect and return the samples. That is, if everything works perfectly. Check out the full article on Motherboard. (Left, an artist’s impression of the rover Curiosity on Mars. It is about the size of a Mini Cooper.)

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