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sample-return mission




An unmanned mission designed to collect material from another celestial body and bring it back to Earth. The first successful project of this kind was Lunokhod. Over the next decade or so, a number of sample return missions are scheduled to harvest dust and/or rock from comets (see comet sample return probe), Mars, and other bodies in the Solar System, leading to increased concern over the possibility of back-contamination.


Related category

   • TYPES OF SPACECRAFT