'Red Dragon' on Mars: Sample-Return Mission Concept with SpaceX Capsules (Images)

'Red Dragon' Mars Sample-Return Concept

SpaceX

The private spaceflight company SpaceX is flying unmanned Dragon space capsules to the International Space Station, and hopes to launch manned astronaut-carrying versions. The company has its target set on Mars (shown here). Check out mission concepts for a potential Red Dragon mission to Mars using SpaceX's Dragon capsules. [Read the Full Story Here]

'Red Dragon' Mars Sample-Return Mission Concept

NASA Ames Research Center/Red Dragon Internal Study Team

A Red Dragon study team blueprinted a Mars sample-return mission architecture based on the use of SpaceX's Dragon capsule and Falcon Heavy booster. The mission could bring to Earth samples already collected on the Red Planet, perhaps by NASA's next Mars rover, which is slated to launch in 2020. [Read the Full Story Here]

SpaceX Dragon Commercial Cargo Craft

NASA

SpaceX's unmanned Dragon capsule in space. A version of this spacecraft could fly a robotic mission to Mars in 2022 according to a study by scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center in California. [Read the Full Story Here]

How SpaceX's Dragon Space Capsule Works (Infographic)

Karl Tate/SPACE.com

A look inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule and its Falcon 9 rocket. [Read the Full Story Here]

Falcon Heavy Rocket

SpaceX

Illustration of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, which the company says will be the most capable rocket operating today. [Read the Full Story Here]

NASA Mars Rover 2020 Design Sketch

NASA/JPL-Caltech

A sketch of the design for NASA's 2020 Mars rover. Planning for NASA's 2020 Mars rover envisions a basic structure that capitalizes on re-using the design and engineering work done for the NASA rover Curiosity, which landed on Mars in 2012, but with new science instruments selected through competition for accomplishing different science objectives with the 2020 mission. [Read the Full Story Here]

Mars Rover 2020: Sample Canister

NASA/JPL-Caltech

This shows one prototype for hardware to cache samples of cores drilled from Martian rocks for possible future return to Earth. A major objective for NASA's Mars 2020 rover, as described by the Mars 2020 Science Definition Team, would be to collect and package a carefully selected set of up to 31 samples in a cache that could be returned to Earth by a later mission. For scale, the diameter of the core sample shown in the image is 0.4 inch (1 centimeter). [Read the Full Story Here]

NASA's 2020 Mars Rover: Timeline

NASA/JPL-Caltech

This graphic depicts the mission timeline for NASA's 2020 Mars rover, which will seek signs of past life on the Red Planet. [Read the Full Story Here]

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