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MarcoPolo-R is a proposed space mission to return a sample of material to Earth from the surface of a Near Earth asteroid (NEA) for detailed study in laboratories. Selected together with three other missions for further study under the European Space Agency's Cosmic Vision program ,[1] the mission is in competition for a single slot (M3) in the plan and if successful would launch around 2022.

The mission is derived from a previous proposal to ESA science programmes called Marco Polo, which was planned to be conducted in cooperation with the Japanese space agency JAXA.

Potential targets[edit]

The baseline target of the MarcoPolo-R is the near-Earth asteroid (341843) 2008 EV5. Prior to late 2012, the mission had been planned to go to the binary asteroid (175706) 1996 FG3 and EV5 was a backup target .[2] Cost and engineering constraints led to the change to EV5, which allows a much shorter mission while still meeting the project's science goals.[3]

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