Russia Readies Mars Moon Sample Return
Russia is fueling its Phobos sample return mission. Phobos is one of two moons orbiting Mars. The launch date is November 9th, next Wednesday. Have you heard about this or has this been quietly pushed aside by the influential main stream media? If successful, Russia will be the first nation to return a sample from a Martian celestial body. I hope America takes notice. We used to go to Mars every two years, just on general purpose. We went to explore, because that’s what America does.
We missed our last window and now Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is set for launch later this month. MSL is about $1.5 billion over budget and for the first time we missed a launch window. America right now is in a dangerous position. We are still the best, but we are lazy. We think that no one can stop us. We think we know better than the Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and European Union. I submit we will fall behind within five years if we do not change our course.
We are the only ones arrogant enough to claim we need a super heavy lift vehicle. Russia canceled theirs. Why? Too expensive. I really hope the congressional staffers who inform their bosses realize we are putting NASA in harms way by continuing down a path we all know is unsustainable. We are, using a term from Mississippi, “getting too big for our britches”.
Good luck to the Russians and their Phobos probe. We in TPIS love science, and the science return on this mission will truly be "out of this world". Since our astronauts are now required to speak Russian, I will close with бог скорости!