Houston - June 1, 2000 - NASA's Space Science Enterprise is openly considering all facets of its Mars Exploration Program starting with the 2005 opportunity and carrying through 15 years and beyond.
In order to cast a wide net for capturing ideas and potential participants for missions, mission elements, and experiments that fit within the broadly defined scope of this program, NASA is sponsoring a two-and-a-half-day workshop to be held at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), which is housed in the Center for Advanced Space Studies, 3600 Bay Area Boulevard, Houston, Texas. The dates for this workshop are July 18-20, 2000.
The workshop is open to scientists, engineers, technologists, and other colleagues from academia, NASA centers, federal laboratories, the private sector, and international partners.
The intent of the workshop is to provide an open forum for presentation, discussion, and consideration of various concepts, options, and innovations associated with a strategy for Mars exploration.
This strategy not only highlights "life, climate, and resources," calling for "following the water" as part of a "quest for life," but also includes studies of the martian environment as it relates to short- and long-term human presence.
Ideas are sought in three broad areas, each of which will be considered in depth by associated working groups during the workshop:
This identification will be accomplished using assessments from the working groups as well as by a team of NASA-designated reviewers who will be present at the workshop. Concepts that emerge from the workshop will be input to NASA's overall planning for robotic exploration of Mars.
Those wishing to attend this workshop MUST submit a brief abstract (no more than two pages) indicating which of the topical areas the idea belongs in and outlining the idea. These abstracts are to be submitted electronically to the LPI using the electronic abstract submission form.
Washington - May 12, 2000 - In 2003, NASA may launch either a Mars scientific orbiter mission or a large scientific rover which will land using an airbag cocoon like that on the successful 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission. The two concepts were selected from dozens of options that had been under study. NASA will make a decision on the options, including whether or not to proceed to launch, in early July.
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