Sample Return or Rover?

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CalliArcale

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Just throwing a question out there. Say you will be able to get adequate funding for either project. Which would you rather do: a sample return mission to a celestial body, or a rover to land on the same celestial body? For the sake of argument, let's pick Phobos, as there have been plans for both to that little world. ;-)
 
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JonClarke

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CalliArcale":30spf02v said:
Just throwing a question out there. Say you will be able to get adequate funding for either project. Which would you rather do: a sample return mission to a celestial body, or a rover to land on the same celestial body? For the sake of argument, let's pick Phobos, as there have been plans for both to that little world. ;-)
The trouble is the missions deliver quite different types of data, so are hard to compare. I'd have both. Rover first possibly, and then sample return. But I would be happy with either (fingers crossed for Phobos Grunt)
 
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3488

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JonClarke":2vcn9v7c said:
CalliArcale":2vcn9v7c said:
Just throwing a question out there. Say you will be able to get adequate funding for either project. Which would you rather do: a sample return mission to a celestial body, or a rover to land on the same celestial body? For the sake of argument, let's pick Phobos, as there have been plans for both to that little world. ;-)
The trouble is the missions deliver quite different types of data, so are hard to compare. I'd have both. Rover first possibly, and then sample return. But I would be happy with either (fingers crossed for Phobos Grunt)
I agree with Jon.

I think both would be imperative. Perhaps also a static lander that observe the same area under differing illumination, thermal properties & seismology.

A rover to scout around, sample & image many different regions & a sample return (could be linked to the fixed lander option) to actually return samples for scientists to analyse first hand.

My guess is that getting a 'genuine' Phobos sample might be difficult. Phobos has been seen to have many boulders, etc, but how many are impact ejecta, genuine Phobos rock & how many are shattered impactors from the Asteroid Belt, etc?

I supose if a sample could be extracted from exposed bedrock, then we would know that it would be Phobos rock.

Also there was talk of a sister mission of Phobos-Grunt called Deimos-Gulliver, to carry out a similar mission on Deimos. Lets hope Phobos-Grunt succeeds.

Andrew Brown.
 
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MarkStanaway

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I think a rover mission would return far more information if you could find some way of keeping it anchored to the surface of a low G body like Phobos. A sample return mission has too much of a 'lucky dip' aspect to feel confidant that you have a representative piece.
I am looking forward to the Russian Phobos-Grunt mission and hope they have a lot better luck than they did with their previous Phobos probes.
 
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brandbll

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I think it's all relative to where the mission is taking place. Phoenix made some sense as a lander as it was limited to it's time in the position it landed. The rovers were in a position to be able to use the sun for power and therefore could have a very long and extensive mission which is always a HUGE plus IMO. But had those same landers been sent where Phoenix was they would never of had such a long running mission.

Personally i'd much rather have the long extensive mission of a rover than a return sample mission, but if it were something like Phobos with lots of boulders and rocks that would be difficult to navigate with a rover, than of course i'd vote for a lander return sample mission by all means.
 
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abq_farside

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CalliArcale":38o37joc said:
Just throwing a question out there. Say you will be able to get adequate funding for either project. Which would you rather do: a sample return mission to a celestial body, or a rover to land on the same celestial body? For the sake of argument, let's pick Phobos, as there have been plans for both to that little world. ;-)
Sample return from a celestial body like Phobos does not excite me as much as a sample return from one that has an atmosphere. I understand the science behind any sample could potentially yield some very interesting information but I would prefer something like Mars.
Sending a rover to other celestial bodies would be exciting and hopefully one day that will be the norm with a whole fleet of rovers landing on as many celestial bodies in the solar system as possible. Then if the science really warrants it, a sample return from these bodies can be performed.
 
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Astrochimp

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I would like to see a joint mission that does both. Imagine a lander that contains a rover that can go out and gather and document samples from a number of locations, return those samples to a central location where each one is loaded into a large return ship. When all the samples are documented and loaded the rover backs off some distance and the sample return unit lifts off to bring the samples back to earth. the river then can continue exploring on its own.
 
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bbfreakDude

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Both are missions that with different goals ultimately, but that being said why do you have to choose? Its best to have both. With rovers you get extended range, and sample return missions meanwhile give you meaningful science to do that really tell you something about the celestial body. MSL is a good step in the right direction, as it almost takes the need for a sample return mission out of the picture. The problem with sample return missions on a celestial body like Mars is they are very very complex missions. Expensive too, which is why we haven't done one yet despite it being on the wish-list forever.

Not that it is exactly a strange concept either, having both that is.

 
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benfire401

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That is a difficult question. Either system has different goals and potential returns for scientific data. A sample return gives you physical evidence to study first hand that could be data valuable or financially valuable. A rover provides a long term presence and opportunities to observe a wider range of geology. A third potential is a combination rover return vechicle that could potentially accomplish both. You could not have a large rover like the MSL currently being prepared but something to give some roving capability plus return sample payoff.
 
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Wablam

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Like others have said, I would figure a sample return mission is the next step after a rover mission. Send a rover, get data, then do a sample return mission.
 
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arsampson

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There seems to be an assumption that future rover missions would contain instruments similar to what have already been used. What about more capable rovers?

What instrumentation would it take for a rover to be able to deliver a substantial portion (say, 80%) of the results possible from a sample return mission? If one were to look back at the Apollo samples, what earth bound instrumentation produced the most information from the samples? If those instruments could be provided on a rover, would sample return even be a reasonable avenue?
 
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Jenson

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This is an easy choice: if you spend the millions needed for a "return to Earth" phase of the mission on a better rover with a range of analysis instruments, you're always going to get more science for your money.
 
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invisible_ghost

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I'd make it a two in one project. Design a new rover that carries the sample return platform with it. This way the rover can selectively grap samples as it goes from target area to target area. Then at some predetermined point the rover could detach from the sample return launch platform and continue on it's way while the sample return container launches homeward. A two in one science platform like this should be cheaper then two separate missions of launching one rover to scout out an interesting area then launch another mission with a sample return platform to the interesting area.
 
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CalliArcale

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arsampson":1dohvfir said:
There seems to be an assumption that future rover missions would contain instruments similar to what have already been used. What about more capable rovers?

What instrumentation would it take for a rover to be able to deliver a substantial portion (say, 80%) of the results possible from a sample return mission? If one were to look back at the Apollo samples, what earth bound instrumentation produced the most information from the samples? If those instruments could be provided on a rover, would sample return even be a reasonable avenue?
One of the big advantages of sample return (other than the ability to use instruments which are unfeasibly large for a lander to carry, such as electron microscopes) is that it doesn't limit you merely to what instrumentation is available now, or to what kinds of experiments people are able to think up during the design phase. Scientists continue to study the Apollo samples today, in novel ways that may not have been considered forty years ago. So the sample return mission buys you the chance for *future* study using new instrumentation or techniques not conceived of when the mission flew.

But that does come at a price, mainly the lack of flexibility in obtaining those samples. A sample return mission would most likely take a sample from a predetermined position. Rovers can pick their targets months after they land -- or even years, as the MERs are demonstrating. So you trade flexibility in study of the samples for flexibility in selecting the samples.
 
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arsampson

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CalliArcale":2yk8csgu said:
arsampson":2yk8csgu said:
There seems to be an assumption that future rover missions would contain instruments similar to what have already been used. What about more capable rovers?

What instrumentation would it take for a rover to be able to deliver a substantial portion (say, 80%) of the results possible from a sample return mission? If one were to look back at the Apollo samples, what earth bound instrumentation produced the most information from the samples? If those instruments could be provided on a rover, would sample return even be a reasonable avenue?
One of the big advantages of sample return (other than the ability to use instruments which are unfeasibly large for a lander to carry, such as electron microscopes) is that it doesn't limit you merely to what instrumentation is available now, or to what kinds of experiments people are able to think up during the design phase. Scientists continue to study the Apollo samples today, in novel ways that may not have been considered forty years ago. So the sample return mission buys you the chance for *future* study using new instrumentation or techniques not conceived of when the mission flew.

But that does come at a price, mainly the lack of flexibility in obtaining those samples. A sample return mission would most likely take a sample from a predetermined position. Rovers can pick their targets months after they land -- or even years, as the MERs are demonstrating. So you trade flexibility in study of the samples for flexibility in selecting the samples.

Sorry, trick questions. An analytical SEM is being developed for these purposes. Assuming morphological and compositional (elemental & structural) results similar to those obtained on earth, would that, along with cost and ecological concerns, likely keep rover missions preferred? Granted, instrumentation will always be changing, but would such rovers provide sufficient information as a prelude to manned missions or in exploration to more exotic destinations for the forseeable future? From the figures I've seen floated, there is at least a 10 to 1 cost advantage for rovers. Even a combined rover/return mission would have limited geographic scope where for a similar cost 10 or more rovers could be dispersed across a very broad area.
 
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