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  • A martian dust sample return mission

    Paper ID



    • O. Grosjean
    • J.P. Bibring


    Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales






    Sample return of martian materials will be a fascinating first performance,but it will be also a first order scientific mission, with the final aim to understand the formation and evolution of Earth and similar planets . In fact. Mars is a planet, intermediate to the Earth and Moon in its size and,very likely in its stage of evolution, so it may reveal intermediate' processes of evolution of "terrestrial" planets. To carry out such comparative planetology studies, sample return is a powerfull tool for comprehending the geochemistry and mineralogy of Mars; It enables analyses of martian materials made in Earth laboratories, which are , presently the only way to obtain absolute datings, accurate and detailed chemical compositions. In past years,several missions of sample return from Mars have been carried out, specially by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The sampling, these missions may provide in the future is very efficient; Two kilogrammes of martian materials will be picked up by rovers from various sites and carried back to Earth after a rendez-vous between an orbiter and a lift-off collector.