Scientists believe that in the next decade, only one major mission on the Red Planet will be affordable. It will be a program to return samples that are currently being collected and preserved by the Perseverance rover.
Mars Sample Return will leave little money for other Martian missions. Source: Mars.nasa.gov
Mission to return Martian specimens
On April 19, American scientists are preparing to publish a new ten-year review of planetary sciences and astrobiology. In it, they are going to recommend NASA missions to launch to different celestial bodies since 2023 till 2032.
The last such review was published in 2011. In particular, it was about the need to send a flagship mission to the Red Planet, which will preserve samples of rocks to deliver to Earth. NASA has implemented this task in the rover Perseverance.
Experts now agree that the new review will include only one Martian mission of the same scale as Perseverance. This will be a project to deliver the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission to deliver the samples collected by this rover to the Earth. Mars in general is now in the spotlight, but even under such conditions, there will not be enough money for a second super-expensive spacecraft.
Inexpensive Martian missions
Another factor that may influence the selection of American missions to the Red Planet is the desire to send a manned mission there as soon as possible. No one can say whether this project will be implemented by 2040, but gathering of resources for it have already begun.
However, this does not mean that MSR will be NASA’s only Martian mission before 2032. However others will be much cheaper. Besides, all this applies only to Mars. Missions to other planets in the solar system will not be affected in any way.
But at least one Martian mission has already been sacrificed to the MSR. This is a device for the study of polar caps International Mars Ice Mapper (I-MIM). It was planned to be launched in cooperation with Canada and Japan. However, this project has already been deleted from NASA funding for 2023. It seems that there is really not enough money to explore the Korolev Crater and other objects at the Martian poles.
According to Spacenews.com