MEPAG Chair's letter on Mars Inputs to the Decadal Survey, NASA MEPAG
"A significant part of the discussion at the townhall meeting related to the kinds of inputs the Decadal Survey panels need or could benefit from to achieve their purpose, and the timing required in order for those inputs to be useful. As stated on Slide #9 of the presentation cited above, "broad community input is a defining feature of a decadal survey". For Mars, we can see two classes of written inputs to the process: 1). White papers prepared by MEPAG on behalf of the entire community, and 2). White papers prepared by subsets of the Mars community on topical areas of interest. "
Editor's note: Here's Steve Squyres presentation for you to download.
There's a special note about Mars in the presentation: "Mars missions will be considered on an equal basis with all other missions. No set aside for Mars exploration will be assumed a priori."
With the Mars Science Laboratory significantly over budget and with the launch delayed one wonders what's to become of the Mars program over the next decade. When will the coveted Mars Sample Return mission be slotted in?