Two Directions for Sample Return Mission Universe Today

Since it was awarded a contract to study the feasibility of return samples of Mars back Earth, EADS Space has come up with two different directions. The first is to launch the sample ascent vehicle from the surface of Mars and dock with the return vehicle in space. In the second design, the ascent vehicle would reach orbit and then eject the samples for the return vehicle to “catch”. How the samples are returned to Earth will make a big difference on the mission’s cost, mass and complexity.