NASA weighs plans to grab Mars samples Denver Post

The prospect of bringing home Martian soil and small rocks – the whole sample not weighing more than a half-sack of flour – puts a gleam in scientists’ eyes. Martian meteorites found on Earth, surface scrutiny from the sky and up-close eyeballing by rovers give clues about the Red Planet’s evolution. But scientists say there’s nothing quite like getting their hands on samples collected from a few choice locations. “A sample return is so fundamentally important for improving our understanding of Mars,” said Bruce Jakosky, a University of Colorado planetary scientist. “It is truly the next step for understanding possible life, history of the atmosphere, the surface and the interior.”