NASA's Mars sample return mission is in trouble. Could a single SLS megarocket be the answer?

May 21, 2021
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Nobody talks anymore of danger to the Earth biosphere from theses martian samples.
So I ask a question : There has not been any danger from the start because there is no life on Mars, only equations to be solved, or the danger has disappeared ? Can you explain please.
 

Wolfshadw

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Dangers still exist. We just don't know.

To my understanding, anything collected and returned to Earth (either from the Moon, Mars or an asteroid) is immediately classified as highly dangerous and placed into our highest level HAZMAT quarantine facility until deemed safe for our biosphere. Whether that is safe enough for humanity, again, we don't know.

Ideally, sample returns would actually be captured by the crew of the ISS or some other orbiting platform and be thoroughly tested as a Bio-hazard before being returned to Earth.

-Wolf sends
 
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Nobody talks anymore of danger to the Earth biosphere from theses martian samples.
So I ask a question : There has not been any danger from the start because there is no life on Mars, only equations to be solved, or the danger has disappeared ? Can you explain please.

When the moon samples were returned to Earth, they were vetted, and the astronauts were quarantined for a while as well.
All this has been thought of before hand.
 
Outstanding questions:
So far, relying on Perseverance for sample transport to MAV and a landed Starship craning down the current - or cheaper - MAV seems the ideal cheap mission for NASA. It would help SpaceX plans too. ESA can pay for the orbiter return stage.
 
Nobody talks anymore of danger to the Earth biosphere from theses martian samples.
So I ask a question : There has not been any danger from the start because there is no life on Mars, only equations to be solved, or the danger has disappeared ? Can you explain please.
There is an ongoing discussion within astrobiology, mainly because planned Mars crew missions means putting a huge source of contamination there.

As for the dangers to Earth biosphere - or vice versa - they are likely low since populations are adapted to their current environment. Of course there will be adaptive encroachment eventually, but e.g. disease risks are unlikely. (Assuming there is still martian life, the separate evolutionary trees would have different metabolic and genetic machinery.)

I don't know what you mean by implying your personal lack of information of the current astrobiology research means there would never have been any risks or they have disappeared, or with suggesting "equations" for areas which are heavily leaning on observations (biology, medicine). But aside from the potential risks the main concern is with contaminating Mars science, since e.g. organics or organisms will dilute, bias or destroy the sample record. Hence (alongside with not taking undue risks) the care with which return samples have to be handled. E.g. the probes and especially their chutes have long been allowed to transfer millions of bacterial spores to Mars surface. The radiative, oxidative environment will kill off the spores eventually.

When ExoMars will drill below the crustal "kill zone" down to 2m, it will be the first time we can contaminate Mars likely habitable environment (wet subsurface strata).

When the moon samples were returned to Earth, they were vetted, and the astronauts were quarantined for a while as well.
All this has been thought of before hand.
Not really, based in part on the lunar experience the current planetary protection protocols are both more lenient and insufficient for future missions.
 

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