The European Space Agency (ESA) may join NASA in mounting a low-cost sample cache on its next rover mission to Mars, as discussions advance on a joint U.S.-European Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission as early as 2016. Engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Ames Research Center have finished their conceptual design for a $2 million cache system to store interesting rocks on the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, which is set for launch in 2009. To help pay for the ...

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