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Assessment of NASA’s Mars Architecture 2007–2016
To the extent that the specific science objectives of the proposed missions are defined, one of the threecrosscutting themes for the exploration of Mars identified in the SSE decadal survey is largely neglected, asare very high priority topics related to understanding near-surface and boundary-layer atmosphericsciences, and so, in this respect, balance is sorely lacking.
To optimize efforts to implement a balanced portfolio of missions, the committee offers the following recommendations to NASA:
Recommendation:Include the Mars Long-Lived Lander Network in the mix of options for the 2016launch opportunity.
Recommendation:If the Mars Long-Lived Lander Network cannot be implemented in the periodunder consideration, provide for an effort to make some of the highest-priority measurements on thelanded missions that are included in the proposed Mars architecture.
Recommendation:Ensure that the primary role of the Mars Science and Telecommunications Orbiteris to address science questions, and not simply to serve as a telecommunications relay. This distinction is particularly important with respect to the required orbital parameters that are adopted.