Scientists hope a future mission will ferry Mars rocks back to Earth.

Scientists hope a future mission will ferry Mars rocks back to Earth.

NASA/JPL-CALTECH

NASA planners gear up for martian sample return

Planetary scientists have begun to plan the first stage of a Mars sample return mission: a rover to be launched in 2020. Scientists want the rover to drill at least 31 rock samples weighing about 15 grams apiece during its 2-year mission and pack them in a cache that a later mission will retrieve. But the rover will have to work faster than the current rover, Curiosity, which has drilled just three samples in its 20 months on Mars.

Read the Full Text. (Login may be required.)

Posted in Space