| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Spare parts will be used to build next Mars rover

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By Reuters
Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 9:10 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — NASA plans to follow up its Mars rover Curiosity mission with a duplicate rover that could collect and store samples for return to Earth, the agency's lead scientist said on Tuesday.

The rover will use spare parts and engineering models developed for Curiosity, four months into the $2.5 billion, two-year mission on Mars to look for habitats that could have supported microbial life.

Replicating the rover's chassis, sky-crane landing system and other gear will enable NASA to cut the cost of the new mission to about $1.5 billion, said John Grunsfeld, the space agency's associate administrator for science, said Tuesday at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.

Budget shortfalls forced NASA to pull out of a series of joint missions with Europe, designed to return rock and soil samples from Mars in the 2020s. Europe, instead, will partner with Russia for the launch vehicle and other equipment that was to have been provided by NASA.

Grunsfeld said NASA will provide a key organics experiment for Europe's ExoMars rover, as well as engineering and mission support under the agency's proposed budget for the year beginning Oct. 1.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. House votes to thwart power plant regulations
  2. GOP senator may back partial repeal of Obamacare core
  3. Prosecutor: Airline attendant accused of in-flight assault a danger
  4. Special ops force to head to Iraq to carry out raids on ISIS
  5. Retired general, Obama adviser says re-election bid skewed response to early intel on growth of ISIS
  6. U.S. better prepared for attacks in Africa, member of Benghazi panel says
  7. Cleveland officer says he, partner repeatedly yelled ‘show me your hands’ to 12-year-old who was shot
  8. Person of interest ID’d in deaths of Mont. woman, son
  9. Case made for dismissal of charges against Texas attorney general
  10. In letter to Congress, former national security experts back settling Syrian refugees
  11. Death of Juneau mayor remains unsolved