Editor's note: In his opening presentation Mike Meyer was dumping on bloggers again because they do not seem to understand the way that NASA is running its Mars program.
Editor's note: From MEPAG organizers: Mike Meyer: "The lack of money is pushing sample return further out. We just cannot do it yet. This is due to the MSL slip. We are taking a lot of money out of Mars technology. A benefit of collaboration (with ESA for example) is that it affords us an opportunity sooner rather than later, using combined resources, to do sample return in the 2020 time frame. But the reason I say that we have to have a program that does not have sample return in the program is because you have to have a program that stands on its own legs even if sample return is at a distant time."
ESA presentation: EXOMARS: solutions to cost problems: we could ask for more money, we could seek to cover financial shortfall via collaboration with international partners, or we can reduce the ambitions of the mission. We are talking about a 2016 restructured mission with NASA. We have discussed with Russia possible position of a Russian launcher for EXOMARS and possibly some Russian science hardware. A major payload review is currently under way.
Editor's note: From MEPAG organizers: "All, Questions at the MEPAG meeting can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org We will do our best to get all you questions into the meeting."
Editor's note: You can dial in too: 1-888-456-0353 passcode 6939533 - just note that a radio feed is apparently playing through the telephone feed making it almost impossible to understand at times. "We've talked to the manager but it does not seem to have resulted in any action" said the speaker. Update: now it seems to work.
Editor's note: From MEPAG organizers: Dear colleague, For those unable to attend the March 3-4 MEPAG meeting in person, you may remotely participate via WebEx and teleconference. The meeting will run from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time) on March 3 and from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm on March 4.
To register to remotely access the meeting online (this will allow you to see the presentations):