MSL Heads Toward a Risky Landing on Mars (Update)

For NASA's Huge Mars Rover, Stakes High for Landing Success,

"There's no doubt that the MSL rover is a high-stakes Mars mission. As one high-ranking NASA Mars mission leader recently said: "We know it will land ... but the only question is how fast will it be going?"

NASA MSL Teleconference

"NASA will host a media teleconference at noon EDT, June 11, to provide a status update on the Aug. 5, 2012, landing of the most advanced rover ever to be sent to Mars."

Keith's note: MSL has been in the development pipeline for a long time. Indeed it was supposed to have flown 2 years ago but cost overruns/delays forced a postponemnt. In other words, NASA Has had a lot of time to think ahead beyond MSL - and what to do if something goes wrong. When I asked NASA SMD a few months back if they had a plan for what to do if MSL does not make a sucessful landing, the answer was "there is no plan". No back up. No Plan B.

Keith's update: Contrary to what SMD has told me before, Dave Lavery says that a contingency plan is being put in place for a variety of scenarios that MSL might have to encounter- including mission failure. PAO says that they will try and release some of that plan. It a little odd that they are still working on this plan will MSL is en route to Mars given how close they were to launching MSL several years ago. Also, Michael Meyer said that if MSL is lost that "certainly a second MSL (maybe not identical) should be built an flown since having a mobile laboratory on the surface of Mars is very important" to future missions including sample return.

- NASA's Out of Date Search for Life on Mars, earlier post
- MSL Was Launched WIth Incomplete and Flawed Software, earlier post
- JPL's Overruns and Gutting Mars Exploration, earlier post

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 11, 2012 1:45 PM.

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