This artist's concept of the proposed NASA Mars Sample Return mission shows the orbiter and lander, just after the orbiter would release the lander to descend through the martian atmosphere.

This artist's concept of the proposed Mars Sample Return mission shows the orbiter and lander, just after the orbiter would release the lander to descend through the martian atmosphere. This image is part of a series designed to describe the current groundbreaking Mars Sample Return mission concept (see figure 1 below for a composite of the series), with a tentative launch date of 2013.

figure 1 for PIA05486
Figure 1: series composite

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