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NASA needs a new plan to return rocks from Mars

In a significant shift from its original plan, NASA has announced a major change in its strategy to bring back samples of Martian soil and rock to Earth. The initial mission design, which has been in development for years, involved a complex, multi-stage process.

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This process was set to begin with the Perseverance rover, currently on Mars, which has been tasked with collecting promising samples for future retrieval and analysis.

The subsequent phase of the mission was expected to see a second spacecraft land on Mars, secure the samples, and then ascend to orbit to meet a third spacecraft. This final spacecraft was then to transport the samples back to Earth. However, this intricate plan has hit a significant obstacle.

Recent revelations from NASA indicate that the current budget constraints make the execution of such a mission unfeasible before the year 2040. This timeline and the associated costs have led NASA to reconsider its approach.

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NASA administrator Bill Nelson stated, “The bottom line is that $11bn is too expensive, and not returning samples until 2040 is unacceptably too long.”

While the Perseverance rover has successfully collected sample caches, the challenge now lies in devising a method to retrieve these samples and return them to Earth within a reasonable timeframe and budget.

To address this, NASA is reaching out to the scientific community and industry experts to brainstorm new, more economical solutions for the sample return.

Dr. Nicola Fox, director of NASA’s science directorate, emphasized the need for creativity and innovation, saying, “We are looking at out-of-the-box possibilities that could return the samples earlier and at a lower cost.”

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She added, “This is definitely a very ambitious goal, and we’re going to need to go after some very innovative new possibilities for design, and certainly leave no stone unturned.”

NASA’s call to action reflects its commitment to advancing space exploration while also being mindful of budgetary limitations. The agency’s openness to novel ideas and collaboration could potentially lead to groundbreaking approaches in space mission design and execution.

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Jake Carter

Jake Carter is a researcher and a prolific writer who has been fascinated by science and the unexplained since childhood.

He is not afraid to challenge the official narratives and expose the cover-ups and lies that keep us in the dark. He is always eager to share his findings and insights with the readers of, a website he created in 2013.

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