NASA is commissioning 10 studies on Mars Sample Return—most are commercial

Enlarge / An artist’s concept of a Mars Ascent Vehicle orbiting the red planet.NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA announced Friday that it will award contracts to seven companies, including SpaceX and Blue Origin, to study how to transport rock samples from Mars more cheaply back to Earth.

The space agency put out a call to industry in April to propose ideas on how to return the Mars rocks to Earth for less than $11 billion and before 2040, the cost and schedule for NASA’s existing plan for Mars Sample Return (MSR). A NASA spokesperson told Ars the agency received 48 responses to the solicitation

→ Continue reading at Ars Technica

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