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MoonRise lander
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Nearly 40 years after the Apollo astronauts first brought samples of the Moon to Earth for study, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis are leading an effort to return to the Moon for samples that could unlock secrets of the early Solar System.
Known as MoonRise, the proposed Moon mission is one of three finalists now bidding to become NASA's next big space science venture, a $650 million mission that would launch before 2019.
The MoonRise lander, unmanned and robotically controlled, would scoop up about two pounds of pea-sized lunar rocks and return them to Earth for further analysis.

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