"This combination of features led us to speculate that it might be possible to land enough mass and volume with a Red Dragon to enable a Mars sample-return mission, " Lemke said.
In addition, the mission would not require the transfer of samples from one vehicle to another in Mars orbit before making the trek to Earth, he said.
"This potentially lowers the risk and cost of a sample-return mission, " Lemke said.
Chain of contact
As currently envisioned, the sample-toting Red Dragon return vehicle would blast off the Martian surface (with the aid of the MAV) and head directly for Earth.
A study scenario sees a later mission, using a Dragon and launched by a Falcon Heavy, performing a rendezvous with the return vehicle in high Earth orbit. The mission would then retrieve...
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