MarsNews.com

Mars Rock Return Mission Planned by British Space.com

British scientists may be the first to dig up a piece of Mars rock and return it to Earth, under a new proposal that could leapfrog them ahead of NASA in the race to find signs of life at Mars. The mission, which could launch in 2009 if approved by the European Space Agency (ESA), is designed to cost well under the $1 billion that NASA had allotted for a similar mission that presently is on indefinite hold.