Experts say NASA’s Mars sample return plan is deeply flawed

Talk about a bad review.

Total confusion

Houston, we have a lot of problems.

as Space news reportsNASA has delayed its Mars Sample Return (MSR) initiative after an independent review board found several serious problems with the mission’s schedule, price tag and technical details.

The return mission, initially planned for 2026, was always incredibly ambitious. Still, it’s highly anticipated; The scientific implications of such a project are huge, and researchers around the world are eager to get their paws on the coveted Martian samples.

But the mission — essentially, a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) — is plagued by uncertainty. In June, news that its budget was starting to spiral out of control raised a lot of eyebrows. After some time, the A two-month study Conducted by an independent review committee.

Unfortunately, to call the review „harsh” might be an understatement. Noting that the MSR mission is „NASA’s deep space exploration priority,” experts argue that „MSR’s strategic and high scientific value has not been adequately communicated to Congress, the scientific community, or the American public,” causing confusion. and erodes credibility. More harshly, experts say the mission was „organized under an impractical structure” and set up „with unrealistic budget and planning expectations from the outset.”

„As a result, there is currently no reliable, compatible technology or properly allocated schedule, cost and technology base that can be accomplished with available funding,” the board concluded.

In other words, according to the review, even if the model returns will do While holding great scientific promise, NASA’s effort has been an expensive, disorganized and generally incoherent mess.

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Review times are two

It’s unclear where NASA goes from here. In response to the report’s findings, the agency announced it had convened an internal review board — essentially, a review board for the review board — to assess the review and restructure the work according to a new, more feasible timeline.

To be fair, this task is quite complex. It’s the first time humanity has launched a spacecraft from an extraterrestrial planet — a destination fraught with unknowns and massive technological challenges — never mind landing it back on Earth.

But it is Further It’s the first time humanity has gotten a bona fide sample of Mars, and in the face of blistering reviews, NASA remains steadfast in its belief in the mission’s importance.

„NASA has plans for an exploratory approach from the Moon to Mars,” said Nicola Fox, NASA’s new associate administrator for science. New The study group said in a statement. „It’s Tuesday [a] A rich target for scientific discovery and understanding of the Red Planet supports the agency’s Artemis program to send humans to Mars.”

More about MSR: Oh, and the cost of NASA’s Mars model return mission is spiraling out of control

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