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Mars Exploration 2003 to 2013: An Integrated PerspectiveThe science goals for the Mars exploration program, together with the HEDS precursor environmental and technology needs, have been carefully laid out over the last several years and serve as a solid starting point for re-planning the program in an orderly way. Most recently, the science and HEDS communities have recognized the significance of subsurface sampling as a key component in "following the water": 1) to achieve science goals related to the search for evidence of life and 2) to gain access to the most valuable resource -- water. Accessing samples from hundreds and even thousands of meters beneath the surface is a challenge that will call for technology development and for one or more demonstration missions. Recent mission failures and concerns about the complexity of the previously planned MSR missions indicate that, before we are ready to undertake sample return and deep sampling, the Mars exploration program needs to include 1) technology development missions and 2) basic landing site assessment missions. These precursor missions should demonstrate the capability for reliable & accurate soft landing and in situ propellant production. The precursor missions will need to carry out close-up site observations, ground-penetrating radar mapping from orbit and conduct seismic surveys. The needs of the science and HEDS program requirements have much in common and clearly the programs should be planned as a single, continuous exploration effort. (We note that, although we are not yet ready to carry out sample return missions, we already have the capability to make impressive gains in in situ exploration by deploying full-scale rovers with mobility upward of ten kilometers.) A prudent minimum list of missions can be derived from the numerous goals and requirements; they can be sequenced in an orderly way to ensure that time is available to feed forward the results of the precursor missions.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Briggs, G.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
McKay, C.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, 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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