As we know Mission Mars 2020 These include the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity drone, both of which aim to discover traces of past (microbial) life Mars. To do this, on-site analyzes will be carried out using the instruments the rover is equipped with, during which it collects rock samples, Martian atmosphere and regolith to bring them back to Earth thanks to the probe Mars Sample Return Program.
This program has been under investigation for several years and would be the first time a mission has brought back samples from another planet (we have examples of rocks brought back from asteroids and the moon instead). China is developing a similar program, and might “beat on time” The NASA-ESA duo will respect the programs. Now the MSR program faces another unknown: US Senate funding. A delicate situation that could even lead to the cancellation of the show, as has already been suspected in recent months.
Mars Sample Return: Budget is an issue for the mission
Second what is reported The US Senate would be particularly concerned about the cost Mars Sample Return Program as a whole. With the approval of the budget for 2024, an outlook on what is happening was given 300 million dollars against the $949 million demanded by NASA. This is a significant cut, which of course could have implications for the development of the mission.
The situation becomes even more serious because if NASA and JPL do not manage to limit the budget of the entire mission, both for that planned for 2024 and for the future, it could be canceled completely and the lunar exploration (with the Artemis missions ) be assigned to. This would mean the end MSR program and of US and European hopes of bringing back champions Mars.
About $1.74 billion has currently been spent on mission development. In order not to be cancelled, the mission must stay within an estimated budget of $5.3 billion in total. However, according to some NASA projections, the cost could reach $9 billion, which would result in the mission being aborted.
The Budget Approval Committee is awaiting the results of an independent review board to assess technical feasibility road map and the actual expenses of Mars Sample Return. As Ars Technica recalls, the JWST also went through a similar process, but in the end, thanks in part to the broad support of the Planetary Society, the telescope was actually completed and launched, as we know. In the case of MSR, support would be broad, but not as big.
In particular, the budget is aimed at Mars Sample Return could block, postpone or cancel other scientific missions. For example, the VERITAS mission to Venus may never be completed. If MSR cut its budget instead would be split also with Dragonfly (the drone used to explore Titan), a mission to Uranus and the Geospace Dynamics Constellation mission to explore Earth’s upper atmosphere. The next step is for the US House of Representatives and Senate to negotiate next year’s budget. When the results of the independent commission arrive in the fall, there will be further clarification as to whether the Mars Sample Return Mission actually confirmed or not.