31st Annual Meeting of the DPS, October 1999
Session 21. Science and Technology of Future Space Missions I
Special Contributed Oral Parallel Session, Tuesday, October 12, 1999, 8:30-10:00am, Sala Kursaal

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[21.06] ESA Advanced Planetary Mission Studies: Venus Sample Return and Mercury Sample Return

F. W. Taylor (Oxford University), J. P. Lebreton, G. Scoon (ESTEC), P. Logonne (IPG, Paris), P. Masson (Univ. Paris-Sud), H. Waenke (MPI Mainz), M. Coradini (ESA HQ Paris), VSR and MSR Study Team

Looking into the next decade, the Mercury Orbiter mission is the only future Planetary Exploration mission which has been identified as a potential element of ESA's Horizons 2000 Science programme. In order to prepare for the next steps in planetary exploration beyond the Mercury Orbiter mission, ESA is carrying out advanced studies of Planetary Sample Return Missions. The Venus Sample Return mission was first studied in early 1998 and was completed in June 1998 with the publication of the study report ESA SCI(98) 3. A similar study has now been undertaken for a Mercury Sample Return. The study was initiated in September 98 and completed in June 1999. In this presentation we describe the scientific objectives of both missions and give an overview of the two baseline mission scenarios that have been identified. Although there are technical challenges that have to be worked before undertaking such ambitious missions, those initial studies demonstrate that such very exciting missions are within Europe's technical capabilities.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: f.taylor@physics.oxford.ac.uk

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