Sample Collection for Investigation of Mars

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the landing capsule as seen on the ground at the Utah Test and Training range
Stardust's returned landing capsule.

Sample Collection for Investigation of Mars (SCIM) was a concept proposed in 2008 for a relatively low-cost, low-risk Mars sample return studied in the former Mars Scout Program.[1] SCIM returns dust and air samples without landing or orbiting,[1] by passing through the atmosphere as it collects samples.[2] The design utilizes heritage from the successful Stardust and Genesis sample return missions.[2] SCIM was studied by the Mars Scout Program,[1] and it achieved finalist status in a mission selection before that program ended.[3] The Mars Scout program includes Phoenix lander and MAVEN.

A pass through the atmosphere about 40 km (25 miles) above Mars would result in millions of particles being encountered.[4] The particles would be captured in an aerogel similar to Stardust's.[4] Analysis of the dust could confirm the origin of the suspected meteorites on Earth from Marss.[4]

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