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Old July 1 2009, 04:52 PM   #41
Location: New York City
manned mission to Phobos [moon of Mars]

NASA legend Buzz Aldrin, the second person to ever walk on the moon, believes the U.S. space agency should focus more on heading to Mars, rather than going back to the moon. Aldrin said the current race to get back to the moon -- spearheaded by NASA, China, Russia, and JAXA -- is nothing but a "glorified rehash of what we did 40 years ago."

Instead of returning to the moon in 2020 and setting up a possible lunar research post, Aldrin suggest it should be used simply as a staging area for a mission to the Martian moon Phobos.
July 1, 2009 SOURCE
A mission to a moon of Mars?
Here is the relevant info:
Phobos has also been proposed [in 1993-1997] as an early target for a Manned mission to Mars, since a landing on Phobos would be considerably less difficult (and hence, much less expensive) than a landing on the surface of Mars itself. A lander bound for Mars would need to be capable of atmospheric entry and subsequent in-situ return to orbit without any support facilities (a capacity which has never been attempted in a manned spacecraft of human design), or would require the creation of support facilities in-situ (a "colony or bust" mission), while a lander intended for Phobos could be based on equipment designed for lunar and asteroid landings.

Spectroscopically it appears to be similar to the D-type asteroids,
it is known to have significant porosity. These results led to the suggestion that Phobos might contain a substantial reservoir of ice. Spectral observations indicate that the surface regolith layer lacks hydration,but ice below the regolith is not ruled out.

The Russian Space Agency is planning to launch a sample return mission to Phobos in 2009, called Phobos-Grunt. The return capsule will include a life science experiment of The Planetary Society, called Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment, or LIFE. A second contributor to this mission is China with a surveying satellite called "Yinghuo-1" that will be released in the orbit of Mars, and a soil grinding and sieving system for the scientific payload of the Phobos lander.

Not a terrible idea. Let's see where the sample return mission Phobos-Grunt and Yinghuo-1 survey lead us...
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