Press Release

Mars Scouts Concept Workshop

By SpaceRef Editor
March 16, 2001
Filed under ,

Further information online at:

May 22-24, 2001 – Pasadena, CA

Convener Scott Hubbard, NASA HQ

Sponsored by

NASA Headquarters

Mars Program Office

Jet Propulsion Laboratory


The NASA Mars Exploration Program is planning a series of Principal
Investigator led, innovative science missions that emerge from the US
science community. The first launch of such a mission could be as early as
2007. Mars Scout Missions address high priority science as defined by the
Mars Exploration Payload Analysis Group document. They may also address new
discoveries, particularly those discoveries that warrant rapid follow-up.
NASA intends to use Mars Scouts to complement the core Mars Exploration
Program of scientific missions.

The Mars Exploration Program now seeks to encourage the development of new
concepts for Mars Scout missions. Through the study of specific mission
concepts, the Mars Exploration Program also seeks to understand the
feasibility and programmatic constraints of a variety of mission types
before the program releases a call proposals for a flight opportunity as
early as 2007.

Exploration of Mars is motivated by a desire to better understand the planet
as a possible abode of past or present life, the evolution of the planet’s
climate, the geology of its surface and interior, and to prepare for future
human exploration of Mars. Mars Scout missions are envisioned to be focused
investigations of Martian biological, chemical and physical phenomena and
processes. Mars Scouts will utilize observation platforms including, but not
limited to, orbiters, landers, penetrators, rovers, aerobots, airplanes and

This Request for Mars Scout Concept is for a 6-month study to examine a wide
range of mission concepts that, if flown to Mars, would accomplish
significant, high priority science, complement the goals of the core
missions of the Mars Exploration Program, and would cost no more than
approximately $300M($FY01). Studies of mission concepts will identify
achievable science objectives, infrastructure utilization, and technology
development priorities. It is planned to award 6 to 10 Fixed Price study
contracts valued at $100,000 to $150,000 each. Potential offerors are
encouraged to form teams including academic, industrial and US Government
research Centers.

The competitive source evaluation and source selection process will include
written and oral presentations to a review board at the Mars Scout Workshop
scheduled for May 22 – 24, 2001. Specific information regarding written and
oral submission is contained within the Request for Mars Scout Concepts.
Participation in the Mars Scout Workshop will be limited to those interested
in proposing for study funds. Notice of Intent to propose are due on April
9, 2001. Submission of a Mars Scout Concept abstract describing the Mars
Scout mission and a plan for the mission study are due on or before May 1,
2001. It is the intent of the workshop, and the following funded mission
studies, to emphasize those innovative concepts that may not yet be ready
for competitive evaluation. Potential participants will be informed of their
status regarding study funds no later than June 8, 2001.

Following the 6-month period of study a report on the results of the concept
studies will be made by the funded investigators. These reports will be made
in confidence to the Mars Program Director’s Office at NASA HQ. The results
of the concept studies will contribute to the development of the AO.
Participation or non-participation in Mars Scout studies will not prejudice
the subsequent selection of missions for flight.

SpaceRef staff editor.