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Assessment of NASA’s Mars Architecture 2007–2016
Recommendation:Develop and articulate criteria for distinguishing between the three options formissions to launch in 2016. Similarly, define a strategy that addresses the short lead time between scienceresults obtained from MSL and selection of the mission to fly in 2016.
Recommendation:Clarify how trade-offs involving mission costs versus science were made for thevarious launch opportunities to justify the rationale behind the proposed sequence of specific missions andthe exclusion of others.
Recommendation:Maintain the Mars Scouts as entities distinct from the core missions of the MarsExploration Program. Scout missions should not be restricted by the planning for core missions, and thecore missions should not depend on selecting particular types of Scout missions.
Recommendation:Immediately initiate appropriate technology development activities to support all ofthe missions considered for the period 2013-2016 and to support the Mars Sample Return mission as soon aspossible thereafter.
Recommendation:Ensure a vigorous research and analysis (R&A) program to maintain the scientificand technical infrastructure and expertise necessary to implement the Mars architecture, and encouragecollaboration on international missions.
1. D.J. McCleese et al., Mars Exploration Strategy 2007-2016, NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., 2006, p. 9.
2. D.J. McCleese et al., Mars Exploration Strategy 2007-2016, NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., 2006, pp. 9-18.
3. D.J. McCleese et al., Mars Exploration Strategy 2007-2016, NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., 2006, p. 19.
4. The launch window stretches from January to April, 2016.
5. A spacecraft launched during the October-November, 2009, launch window will reach Mars between May and October of 2010.
6. National Research Council, An Assessment of Balance in NASA’s Science Programs, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2006, p. 2.
7. See, for example, J.W. Schopf, A.B. Kudryavtsev, D.G. Agresti, T.J. Wdowiak, and A.D. Czaja, “Laser-Raman Imagery of Earth’s Earliest Fossils,” Nature 416: 73-76, 2002; and M.D. Brasier, O.R. Green, A.P. Jephcoat, A.K. Kleppe, M.J. Van Kranendonk, J.F. Lindsay, A. Steele, and N.V. Grassineau, “Questioning the Evidence for Earth’s Oldest Fossils,” Nature 416: 76-81, 2002.
8. K. Zahnle, “Xenological Constraints on the Impact Erosion of the Early Martian Atmosphere,” Journal of Geological Research 98: 10899-10913, 1993.
9. L.L. Watson, I.D. Hutcheon, S. Epstein, and E.M. Stolper, “Water on Mars—Clues from Deuterium/Hydrogen and Water Contents of Hydrous Phases in SNC Meteorites,” Science 265: 86-90, 1994.
10. Recent discoveries of sustained surficial water and potential biogenic gas emissions strengthen the need to characterize the subsurface environment on Mars. Because of the hostile nature of the martian surface, the capability to reach some distance (>3 m) below the surface must be provided on future missions. The capability to drill to a depth of several meters or to reach under rocks, rock ledges, or overhangs will be an important asset on missions beyond the scope of this report (e.g., Mars Sample Return). In the long term, the technology necessary to access even greater depths in the martian subsurface—on the order of tens to hundreds of meters—will be required to access putative martian aquifers.
11. National Research Council, Review of NASA’s Aerospace Technology Enterprise, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2003, p. 82.
12. National Research Council, An Assessment of Balance in NASA’s Science Programs, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2006, p. 18.
13. National Research Council, An Assessment of Balance in NASA’s Science Programs, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2006, p. 20.
14. Luther Beegle, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “Status of Astrobiology Instrument Development,” presentation to the Space Studies Board’s Mars Astrobiology Strategy Committee, May 11, 2006.