NASA Awards Over $10 Million to 7 Companies for Mars Sample Return Mission Studies

By Jace Dela Cruz

Jun 08, 2024 05:39 AM EDT

NASA has awarded seven companies a $1.5 million contract each to develop plans and strategies for the restored Mars Sample Return mission. 

NASA Grants $1.5 Million Contract Each to 7 Companies 

The seven recipients are renowned aerospace entities Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Blue Origin, Quantum Space, Northrop Grumman, and Whittinghill Aerospace.

Each company proposed innovative approaches to collecting and returning samples from Mars. NASA received a total of 10 proposals, including two of its centers and the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Applied Physics Laboratory.

They were chosen to produce studies after NASA issued a request for proposals for complete overhauls of the mission design in April.

READ NEXT: NASA Picks 3 Companies to Develop New Artemis Moon Rover Designs 

Concepts for Mars Sample Return | Missions – NASA Mars Exploration

(Photo : NASA)

The Mars Sample Return Mission

The Mars Sample Return mission, a joint endeavor between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), aims to retrieve scientifically curated Martian samples for examination using cutting-edge instruments worldwide.

"Mars Sample Return will be one of the most complex missions NASA has undertaken, and it is critical that we carry it out more quickly, with less risk, and at a lower cost," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a press statement

READ MORE: 2 Private Companies Aim to Get the US Back to the Moon 

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