21. National Research Council, Review of NASA’s Planned Mars Program, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1996, pp. 3, 26, and 29.


22. National Research Council, Assessment of Mars Science and Mission Priorities, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2003, pp. 3, 83-88, and 99-102.


23. MEPAG reports can be found at <mepag.jpl.nasa.gov/reports/index.html>.


24. MEPAG’s study of MSTO is available at <mepag.jpl.nasa.gov/reports/MSTO_SAG_report.doc>.


25. Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group Goals Committee, Mars Scientific Goals, Objectives, Investigations, and Priorities, MEPAG, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., 2006. Available at <mepag.jpl.nasa.gov/reports/MEPAG%20Goals_2-10-2006.pdf>.


26. Estimates provided to the committee by NASA representatives suggest that a Mars sample return mission would likely cost $3 billion to $5 billion. Given the Mars Exploration Program’s current budget, a Mars sample return mission would likely require that NASA bank the resources of three to five Mars launch opportunities. Implementing such a strategy would have numerous scientific, technical, programmatic, political, and budgetary pitfalls. Some have argued that a sample return mission will cost far more than NASA’s current estimates, whereas others have argued that a simple “grab sample” can be acquired at far less cost. Commenting on the realism of these competing claims and the scientific usefulness of grab samples versus carefully selected samples is beyond the scope of this current study.


27. See, for example, NASA, The Vision for Space Exploration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, D.C., 2004, inside front cover.


28. NASA, 2006 Strategic Plan, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, D.C., 2006.

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