This Week In Space podcast: Episode 107 — Mars Sample Return Blues

On Episode 107 of This Week In Space, Rod and Tariq talk with journalist Leonard David about NASA’s troubled Mars sample return mission.

The robotic program has its roots in the 1960s, when NASA started thinking about sending robots to fetch Mars soil even before Mariner 4’s first flyby of the planet. The Russians pondered it as well, as the Chinese and Japanese are today. The problem? It’s really hard, with multiple spacecraft, possibly on different launches, rendezvousing around the Red Planet to accomplish.

And then there are the concerns about the safety of returning possible pathogens to Earth. But the showstopper, as usual, is cost — and NASA’s not happy. We invited the original Space Ace reporter, Leonard David, to join the discussion.

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Space news of the week

Model Falcon 9!


A Celestron telescope on a white backgroundA Celestron telescope on a white background

A Celestron telescope on a white background

Looking for a telescope to see planets and comets? We recommend the Celestron Astro Fi 102 as the top pick in our best beginner’s telescope guide.

Finally, did you know you can launch your own SpaceX rocket? Model rocket maker Estes’ stunning scale model of a Falcon 9 rocket that you can pick up now. The launchable model is a detailed recreation of the Falcon 9 and retails for $149.99. You can save 10% by using the code IN-COLLECTSPACE at checkout, courtesy of our partners

About This Week In Space

This Week in Space covers the new space age. Every Friday we take a deep dive into a fascinating topic. What’s happening with the new race to the moon and other planets? When will SpaceX really send people to Mars?

Join Rod Pyle and Tariq Malik from as they tackle those questions and more each week on Friday afternoons. You can subscribe today on your favorite podcatcher.

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