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Scouts: Using Numbers to Explore Mars In SituMars is a planet with a complex geologic history involving fluvial, volcanic, aeolian, atmospheric, and impact processes. Many critical questions about Mars are still heatedly debated within the scientific community and we still have much to discover. The current Mars exploration philosophy involves remote observation of the planet from orbit and intensive in situ study of a few sites on the surface. Orbital data provides a global picture while in situ investigations provide detailed knowledge at a single location. Mars Scouts are proposed to provide access to multiple locations on Mars. They address the emerging program needs of exploring the diversity of the planet globally in ways that cannot be achieved from orbit. The goal of the Scout is to find a way to investigate many locations on the surface of Mars in an affordable and efficient manner. We have only visited three locations on the surface of Mars, which have very similar characteristics. Increased numbers allows more types of locations to be investigated. The hallmarks of Scouts are numbers and access. Thus the capability of a single Scout will be limited. The science return from a single Scout will be significantly less than from a large science lander or an orbiting spacecraft. Scouts rely on their numbers to collectively provide a substantial increase in our knowledge of Mars. Scouts potentially serve two purposes in the Mars exploration architecture. First, Scouts are a science exploration tool. They provide access to places on Mars we currently can't explore because program focus, surface roughness, elevation, or latitude that we know are scientifically interesting. Scouts can react to new discoveries and evolving ideas about Mars. They can be used to test theories which until proven would not warrant the investment of a large lander. Second, Scouts enable better large scale missions by providing ground truth of remote sensing data and allowing us to "know" sites in advance before sending large landers and sample return missions. This increases the probability of success for these expensive missions both from safety and science return stand-points.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Document Type
Conference Paper
Blaney, D. L.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Wilson, G. R.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 2000
Publication Information
Publication: Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration
Issue: Part 1
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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