Marco Polo-R is a mission that aims to bring back to Earth a pristine sample from a primitive near-Earth asteroid (NEA). It was proposed as a candidate M-class mission in response to the 2010 call for medium-size (M-class) missions for ESA's Cosmic Vision plan. In February 2011, it was shortlisted for study as one of the four candidate M3 missions.
The Marco Polo-R proposal is based on a previous mission study - a mission called Marco Polo - that was selected for assessment after an earlier call for Cosmic Vision missions.
The Marco Polo-R mission scenario and spacecraft design has been analyzed in an internal ESA study at the Concurrent Design Facility at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC). Detailed industrial studies are scheduled for 2012 before the candidate M3 missions are down-selected in 2013.
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