Space

April 16, 2012

NASA planning group takes key steps for future Mars exploration


NASA’s Mars Program Planning Group, established to assist the agency in developing a new strategy for the exploration of the Red Planet, has begun analyzing options for future robotic missions and enlisting the assistance of scientists and engineers worldwide.

NASA is reformulating the Mars Exploration Program to be responsive to high-priority science goals and the President’s challenge of sending humans to Mars in the 2030s.

“We’re moving quickly to develop options for future Mars exploration missions and pathways,” said John Grunsfeld, an astrophysicist, five-time space shuttle astronaut and associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “As part of this process, community involvement, including international, is essential for charting the new agency-wide strategy for our future Mars exploration efforts.”

Grunsfeld leads the agency-wide Mars program reformulation effort along with William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati and Chief Technologist Mason Peck.

In February, Grunsfeld named veteran aerospace engineer Orlando Figueroa to lead the MPPG. In March, the group established an initial draft framework of milestones and activities that will include options for missions and sequences bridging the objectives of NASA’s science, human exploration and operations and technology.

Starting today, the scientific and technical community across the globe can submit ideas and abstracts online as part of NASA’s effort to seek out the best and the brightest ideas from researchers and engineers in planetary science. Selected abstracts will be presented during a workshop in June hosted by the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston.

The workshop will provide an open forum for presentation, discussion and consideration of concepts, options, capabilities and innovations to advance Mars exploration. These ideas will inform a strategy for exploration within available resources, beginning as early as 2018 and stretching into the next decade and beyond.

“Receiving input from our community is vital to energize the planning process,” said Doug McCuistion, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters. “We’ll integrate inputs to ensure the next steps for the Mars Exploration Program will support science, as well as longer-term human exploration and technology goals.”

The new strategy also will be designed to maintain America’s critical technical skills, developed over decades, to achieve the highest priority science and exploration objectives.

NASA has a recognized track record of successful missions on Mars, and exploration of the planet is a priority for the agency. The rover Opportunity, which landed on Mars in 2004, is still operating well beyond its official mission of 90 days. There also are two NASA satellites, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Odyssey, orbiting Mars and returning unprecedented science data and images.

In August, NASA will land the Mars Science Laboratory, “Curiosity,” on the planet’s surface. This roving science laboratory will assess whether Mars was in the past or present an environment able to support life. In 2013, NASA will launch the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution orbiter, the first mission devoted to understanding the Martian upper atmosphere.

 

To view the call for abstracts and workshop information, visit http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/marsconcepts2012.

For more information about NASA’s Mars programs, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mars.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines May 27, 2015

News: U.S. Air Force certifies SpaceX for military launches - SpaceX has been certified for military space launch, the U.S. Air Force announced May 26. The long-awaited announcement is a game changer, with SpaceX becoming only the second provider cleared by the service to launch national security payloads into orbit.   Business: Northrop Grumman CEO issues...
 
 

New’s Briefs May 27, 2015

U.S. military begins search flights for stranded Rohingya The United States has begun military surveillance flights to help locate stranded Rohingya and Bangladeshi boat people in Southeast Asian seas. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said May 26 that U.S. Navy P8 aircraft flew over the weekend with Malaysian support. Rathke said the U.S. has offered...
 
 
nasa-commercial-crew

Commercial Crew milestones met; partners on track for 2017 missions

NASA has taken another step toward returning America’s ability to launch crew missions to the International Space Station from the United States in 2017. The Commercial Crew Program ordered its first crew rotation mission fro...
 

 
af-spacex

Air Force certifies SpaceX for national security space missions

Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force program executive officer for space, has announced the certification of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s Falco...
 
 

Northrop Grumman passes key design review for B-2 weapons management upgrade

Northrop Grumman has successfully demonstrated to the U.S. Air Force that its plans to upgrade key weapons management software for the B-2 stealth bomber are on track and ready to proceed to the next level of development. The company successfully completed the critical design review of the service’s Flexible Strike Phase 1 program on Feb...
 
 
boeing-space

Boeing awarded first-ever commercial human spaceflight mission

NASA issued a task order as part of Boeing’s $4.2 billion Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract recently to include the company’s first-ever service flight to the International Space Station. The award ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>