Illustration of Earth Return Orbiter (ERO) flying over Mars.

April 06, 2023

The Earth Return Orbiter (ERO) is one of the flight missions making up the Mars Sample Return campaign to bring martian rock and atmospheric samples back to Earth.

This European Space Agency (ESA) orbiter would be the first interplanetary spacecraft to capture samples in orbit and make a return trip between Earth and Mars. ERO would also be the largest spacecraft to orbit the Red Planet. In addition to the rendezvous and return mission, ERO would provide critical Mars-Earth communications coverage for NASA's Perseverance rover and the Sample Retrieval Lander to deliver the martian samples.

The Earth Return Orbiter is part of the multi-mission Mars Sample Return campaign being planned by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).

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