The United States and the former Soviet Union have sent spacecraft to mars as early as 1966, with Mars' exploration being priority for NASA spacecraft. Both sides, however, have failed as well as succeed. The inability to determine if life exists on Mars is considered one of NASA's failures and undercut political support for additional Mars missions in the U.S. until the launch of the Mars Observer in 1992. Thus, the exploration of life on Mars continues, but with a new approach.
Assessment of NASA's Mars Architecture, 2007-2016 is an assessment by the Committee to Review the Next Decade Mars Architecture of the National Research Council (NRC) conducted by request of Dr. Mary Cleave, NASA's Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate. The Committee addresses the following questions: Is the Mars architecture reflective of the strategies, priorities, and guidelines put forward by the National Research Council's solar system exploration decadal survey and related science strategies and NASA plans?, Does the revised Mars architecture address the goals of NASA's Mars Exploration Program and optimize the science return, given the current fiscal posture of the program?, and Does the Mars architecture represent a reasonably balanced mission portfolio?
After several months of study, consideration and incorporation of the guidance from NRC studies, especially New Frontiers in the Solar System, and the Vision for Space Exploration; community consultations via individual inputs; and a MEPAG-sponsored working group, a plan was created. This report includes the plan, which has an Astrobiology Field Laboratory or two Mild Rovers mission planned for 2016, recommendations from the committee, NRC guidelines for mars exploration, and more.
Table of Contents
|2 NRC Strategies, Priorities, and Guidelines for the Exploration of Mars||10-23|
|3 The Goals of NASA's Mars Program||24-32|
|4 A Balanced Mission Portfolio||33-36|
|A SSE Decadal Survey Mars Priorities||39-48|
|B MEPAG Goals and Objectives||49-50|
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