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LifeSprings Mars Logo

A new sample return mission concept to Columbia Hills, Mars,
in the search for life beyond Earth


LifeSpringsMARS is a novel sample return mission concept designed by a multinational consortium of scientists and engineers from Australia, Japan, the United States, and New Zealand to search for signs of ancient life.

The mission is driven by the desire to investigate one of humanity's greatest scientific questions - are we alone in the universe?


This mission is informed by scientific experts in hot springs, early Earth and Mars geology and designed by engineers with world-leading capabilities for sample return. LifeSpringsMARS targets hot spring opaline silica deposits discovered by the Spirit Rover in the Columbia Hills that may represent humanity's best chance to find signs of past life on Mars. 

Fig 13_NASA visit on outcrop_PIA23551_or

    A Mission Motivated

by Science

The principal aim of the LifeSpringsMARS mission is motivated by science, with engineering designed to suit the science needs.

      A Single Launch

From Earth

LifeSpringsMARS employs a disruptive mission architecture relative to current mission designs in being low-cost, and light and nimble, able to complete sample return with just a single launch from Earth.


    Risk minimisation by ground truth 

By utilising existing geoscientific information from the Spirit rover mission, the LifeSpringsMARS mission minimises the risk brought on by the exploration of new areas that are reliant solely on remotely sensed data, and lowers costs by avoiding time-consuming exploration of new terrain.

       A light-and-nimble approach

Any investigation for signs of life must be conducted using the best labs on Earth. 

By utilising a lightweight, small, relatively inexpensive rover for sample collection, the LifeSpringsMARS mission reduces overall mission costs by forgoing the costly requirements of a  large, heavy, science-lab type rover.


      The future of Mars


These are only some of the innovative features unique to LifeSpringsMARS.

        Advancing Australia's Involvement In Space Exploration

LifeSpringsMARS will be an Australian first, advancing national capability and fostering closer ties with allied nations and regional partners.

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