Mars Rover 2020 Science Definition Team Report

Science Team Outlines Goals for NASA's 2020 Mars Rover, NASA

- Report of the Mars 2020 Science Definition Team (PDF), NASA

- Appendices (PDF)

- Audio of today's teleconference (MP3)

"The Mars 2020 Science Definition Team (SDT) has outlined a mission concept for a science-focused, highly mobile rover to explore and investigate in detail a site on Mars that likely was once habitable. The SDT-preferred mission concept employs new in situ scientific instrumentation in order to seek signs of past life (had it been there), select and store a compelling suite of samples in a returnable cache, and demonstrate technology for future robotic and human exploration of Mars. The mission concept fully addresses the requirements specified by NASA in the SDT charter while also ensuring alignment with the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey for Planetary Science (Visions and Voyages, 2011).

Key features of the integrated science mission concept include:
- Broad and rigorous in situ science, including seeking biosignatures
- Acquiring a diverse set of samples intended to address a range of Mars science questions and storing them in a cache for potential return to Earth at a later time
- Improved landing technology to allow unprecedented access to scientifically compelling geological sites
- Collection of critical data needed to plan for eventual human missions to the martian surface
- Maximizing engineering heritage from NASA's successful Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission to constrain costs

"The chartering document of the 2020 Mars Rover Science Definition Team (SDT) contains a clear rationale to continue the pursuit of NASA's plans for "Seeking the Signs of Life". It also calls for a mission that enables concrete progress toward sample return, thereby satisfying the Planetary Decadal Survey science recommendation for the highest priority large mission for the decade 2013-2022. Combined with the intent to make progress toward future human exploration of Mars, the formal SDT charter presents a set of four primary objectives:

A. Explore an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars to decipher its geological processes and history, including the assessment of past habitability.

B. Assess the biosignature preservation potential within the selected geological environment and search for potential biosignatures.

C. Demonstrate significant technical progress towards the future return of scientifically
selected, well-documented samples to Earth.

D. Provide an opportunity for contributed Human Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) or Space Technology Program (STP) participation, compatible with the science payload and within the mission's payload capacity."

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This page contains a single entry by Marc Boucher published on July 9, 2013 3:01 PM.

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