Delays in the federal budget process means that the President's traditional budget message is unlikely to occur by the time of the presently scheduled February 26 and 27th MEPAG meeting in Washington D.C. You are surely all aware of the announcement in December at the Fall AGU meeting by Associate Administrator John Grunsfeld that NASA intends to launch a new rover to Mars in 2020. However, the 2020 Rover Science Definition Team is just now being formed and will not be far enough into its deliberations to give a meaningful out-brief in February.
We have decided to cancel the two-day physical meeting and to replace it with a half-day electronic meeting (e.g., WEBEX), tentatively scheduled for the afternoon (EST) of either February 26 or 27.
At that time the community can be briefed on changes in MEP leadership (Doug McCuisition has retired), status of budget planning within MEP and PSD, and the new thrust in Mars exploration, including the membership, charter and status of the 2020 Rover SDT.
Details will follow when they are available.
We apologize for any inconvenience.
Dave Des Marais, MEPAG Chair
Mars Program Office