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Human Mars Landing Site and Impacts on Mars Surface OperationsThis paper describes NASA's initial steps for identifying and evaluating candidate Exploration Zones (EZs) and Regions of Interests (ROIs) for the first human crews that will explore the surface of Mars. NASA's current effort to define the exploration of this planet by human crews, known as the Evolvable Mars Campaign (EMC), provides the context in which these EZs and ROIs are being considered. The EMC spans all aspects of a human Mars mission including launch from Earth, transit to and from Mars, and operations on the surface of Mars. Studies related to Mars surface operations and related system capabilities have led to the current definition of an EZ as well as ROIs. An EZ is a collection of ROIs that are located within approximately 100 kilometers of a centralized landing site. ROIs are areas that are relevant for scientific investigation and/or development/maturation of capabilities and resources necessary for a sustainable human presence. The EZ also contains one or more landing sites and a habitation site that will be used by multiple human crews during missions to explore and utilize the ROIs within the EZ. With the EMC as a conceptual basis, the EZ model has been refined to a point where specific site selection criteria for scientific exploration and in situ resource utilization can be defined. In 2015 these criteria were distributed to the planetary sciences community and the in situ resource utilization and civil engineering communities as part of a call for EZ proposals. The resulting "First Landing Site/Exploration Zone Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars" was held in October 2015 during which 47 proposals for EZs and ROIs were presented and discussed. Proposed locations spanned all longitudes and all allowable latitudes (+/- 50 degrees). Proposed justification for selecting one of these EZs also spanned a significant portion of the scientific and resource criteria provided to the community. Workshop results will be used to prepare for follow-on workshops to refine our understanding of proposed EZs and ultimately select a single location to be explored and utilized by human crews. Another significant workshop outcome was a recognition that new data will be needed to refine our understanding of the value of proposed EZs. These new data will come in part from existing spacecraft at Mars and may come from future robotic Mars missions as appropriate consideration is given to these new data needs during mission definition and development.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Bussey, Ben
(NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)
Hoffman, Stephen J.
(Science Applications International Corp. Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
October 22, 2015
Publication Date
March 5, 2016
Publication Information
Publisher: IEEE
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Science And Exploration
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: 2016 IEEE Aerospace Conference
Location: Big Sky, MT
Country: United States
Start Date: March 5, 2016
End Date: March 12, 2016
Sponsors: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
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