NASA Considering SpaceX "Red Dragon" for Returning Mars Samples to Earth
March 10, 2014 2:43 PM
comment(s) - last by
This could happen as soon as 2022
NASA wants to analyze some terrain samples from Mars in an effort to answer whether life exists there, but the problem has been transporting such samples from the Red Planet back to Earth.
But now, it looks as though NASA has found a potential solution: customize a
SpaceX Dragon capsule
While this is just a proposal for now and is by no means a planned mission with set funding yet, NASA said that modifying a SpaceX Dragon capsule into a landing craft could be a cost-effective way of bringing Martian samples back to Earth as soon as 2022.
An internal study at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California revealed that the modified Dragon capsule -- dubbed "Red Dragon" -- would make a direct entry into the atmosphere of Mars and descend to the surface using retro propulsion for a precision touchdown (thanks to SuperDraco rocket engines) instead of a parachute system.
The study suggests a Red Dragon could land roughly 2 metric tons of useful payload on Mars. A Red Dragon has "several times" the volume of the Viking heritage entry vehicle from the 1970s, and would be equipped to carry a Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), an Earth Return Vehicle (ERV), and hardware to transfer samples collected.
From there, the Red Dragon return vehicle would exit the Martian surface, thanks to some help from the MAV, and make its way toward Earth.
A big plus for Red Dragon is that the mission would not require the transfer of samples from one vehicle to another in Mars orbit.
"The significance of the work is that it opens the door to the efficient achievement of an important planetary science objective at a lower complexity level and, by extension, at potentially lower cost than previously considered," said Andrew Gonzales, leader of the NASA study.
This certainly isn't NASA and SpaceX's first project together. SpaceX -- which is headed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk -- flew its Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket to the ISS
for the first time
back in May 2012 for a test supply run. After that successful trip, SpaceX and NASA signed a $1.6 billion contract that allows SpaceX to complete 12 supply trips to the ISS and back.
In October 2012, the Dragon capsule completed its
first official cargo run
to the ISS, bringing home 1,673 pounds of cargo.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: So this is what budget cuts get us?
3/11/2014 5:06:06 PM
The money supply is a function of money's velocity and the quantity of money. That 'real, unleveraged money' is sitting in banks just like most of the QE funds. As soon as either pile of money starts getting spent inflation will increase, ceteris paribus. Of course, the Fed thinks they will be able to stay ahead of the inflationary curve by raising interest rates. I am doubtful.
RE: So this is what budget cuts get us?
3/11/2014 8:54:11 PM
They won't be able to at all given the amount of potential inflation out there. I'm preparing for sky-high interest rates. I can't wait to buy 30-year bonds at 10 - 15% again.
If it happens, that is. I think there is a decent case for it.
"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs
SpaceX's Dragon Completes First Official Cargo Run to the ISS
October 29, 2012, 10:35 AM
SpaceX's Dragon Reaches Pacific Ocean, Ends Successful ISS Journey
May 31, 2012, 7:33 PM
Texas Chosen as Site for SpaceX's First Commercial Launchpad
August 5, 2014, 1:44 PM
South Carolina Prison Finds Crashed Drone Carrying Drugs, Phones
August 1, 2014, 2:49 PM
NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Gains Seven New Instruments for Exploration
August 1, 2014, 1:30 PM
NASA Opportunity Rover Breaks Record for Most Miles Traveled on Another Planet
July 29, 2014, 1:38 PM
Commercial Drones to Get Privacy Guidelines Via Executive Order
July 25, 2014, 5:34 PM
Pentagon's Priciest Project, F-35, Misses International Debut
July 25, 2014, 10:18 AM
Most Popular Articles
Lumia 830 Gets Major Upgrades Including New 20.1 Megapixel Toshiba Sensor
August 15, 2014, 6:00 PM
Windows Phone, BlackBerry Smartphone Market Share Falls to 2.5%, 0.5% Respectively
August 15, 2014, 9:44 AM
GM Concedes That the Cadillac ELR Doesn’t Really Compete with the Tesla Model S
August 15, 2014, 5:42 PM
Report: Windows 9 “Threshold” Tech Preview Coming Next Month
August 15, 2014, 11:29 AM
Apple Scores Patents, Preps New Reversible USB Plug for iPhone 6 Connector
August 18, 2014, 1:32 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information