After the Phoenix lander the next mars scout mission has just been chooses, and get this it was chosen because it was the safest easiest of all the candidates! http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0809/16maven/ Where did NASA balls go? I wonder if not only have the lost their testicles but if they even have a spine anymore and have not reached a state of complete gelatinous pansies! SCIM was my favorite scout mission of all time, it would have "skimmed" the martian atmosphere during a fly by, collect some dust (using technology proven on Stardust) and a small thimble of atmospherica gas, then fly back to earth and drop of the sample in a return module (again using technology proven from Stardust, and Genesis). DeepImpact also provides proof of a secondary mission for SCIM which would be after droping off the samples at earth the mother ship could have carried on for an return orbit to mars and impact at any specific point to excavated a fresh crater for a future mars rover to explore. Now SCIM was a really daring and potentially excellent paying off mission, bring back samples of martian dust and atmosphere to earth, which could be studied in detail no space probe can do. But did NASA go with it, NO, they were to busy worrying about failure, I seriously wonder how they got the Mars rover mission started with that attitude!