"Building on the success of Curiosity's Red Planet landing, NASA has announced plans for a robust multi-year Mars program, including a new robotic science rover set to launch in 2020. This announcement affirms the agency's commitment to a bold exploration program that meets our nation's scientific and human exploration objectives. The future rover development and design will be based on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) architecture that successfully carried the Curiosity rover to the Martian surface this summer."
"Grunsfeld will host a media briefing on these plans at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) today at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco."
Cowing: "When will NASA actually try and find evidence of life on Mars? Viking tried in 1976 but since then NASA has gone out of its way to state that each and every one of its missions cannot actually "detect life" but rather that the hardware can only detect things that might point to the possibility - that maybe there might be something that might hint at life - maybe."
Grunsfeld: "I side with Keith on this. I think it would be interesting to send a mission to a location where there could be extant life on Mars. There would be some planetary protection issues. On the original ExoMars proposal the UK had a life detection experiment planned. During the MPPG the UK wanted to put it on a new lander. All of these things are on the table. The Science Team should evaluate all of these things. I think that this would be a very exciting thing to do."