These scripts enable navigation. It requires javascript be enabled in your browser. Human Space Flight WebHuman Space Flight WebHuman Space Flight WebHuman Space Flight WebHuman Space Flight WebHuman Space Flight WebHuman Space Flight WebHuman Space Flight WebHuman Space Flight Web
Skip navigation to content.
Human Space Flight WebReturn to Human Space Flight home page
Human Space Flight Web
Human Space Flight Web


high res (4.4 M) low res (191 K)
S93-50646 (1993) --- (Artist's concept of possible exploration programs.) The Mars In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Sample Return (MISR; pronounced "miser") mission will send a small, robotic lander to Mars in order to collect Martian rock, soil and atmospheric samples, and then return those samples to Earth. The key to a low-cost mission is to send as small a mass as possible to Mars. Consequently, the two-meter-tall MISR lander will set down on the Mars surface with empty propellant tanks for its return trip home. Utilizing ISRU technology, a propellant production facility will take in carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere and manufacture the needed Mars-ascent and Earth-return propellants. During the approximate 300 day stay required to manufacture the propellants, two small micro-rovers - each the size of a big shoe box - will be teleoperated from Earth to collect the rock and soil samples. By the time the appropriate Earth-Mars planetary alignment occurs, the Martian samples will have been safely stowed in the return capsule and the propellant tanks will be fully fueled. The vehicle ascends off from Mars and begins its voyage to bring the Martian treasures back to Earth. These images produced for NASA by John Frassanito and Associates. Technical concepts from NASA's Planetary Projects Office, Johnson Space Center (JSC).

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 01/04/2006
Web Accessibility and Policy Notices