Status Report

Mars Exploration Rover Landing Site: Results of the Landing Site Workshop and Immediate Plans

By SpaceRef Editor
October 25, 2001
Filed under , ,

To: MER Project and Landing Site Personnel

From: M. Golombek

Re: Results of the Landing Site Workshop and Immediate Plans

At the recommendation of MER Project personnel, this memo describes the results of the Second MER Landing Site Workshop held October 17-18, 2001 in Pasadena and describes our near term plans. The landing site workshop was an
overwhelming success with 4 prime locations selected by a clear consensus of
attendees. Attached in this and a companion e-mail are 6 JPG files showing the
locations of the 4 prime sites and 2 backups. Five of the files show the
excellent MOC coverage that has been acquired of the sites so far. They are (in
no particular order):

The 2 backup sites include one in
Isidis Planitia and
a second in
Eos Chasma.

(Note: links connect to site maps.)

We are presently in the process of evaluating the location of the prime ellipse
in each of these regions. These are the current plans.

TM20B and TM10A had been the prime site for ROTO imaging. The latest ellipses
are smaller than previous ones so we have the opportunity to move the ellipses
around some. Previously there was a slight preference for TM19B because windows
into the older terrain appeared more abundant, but TM20B was the prime because
it was wholly in the hematite deposit. With the ellipses smaller, it may be
advantageous to select TM19B and move it slightly south. Regardless of which is
selected as the prime, we will try to move the A/B ellipse pairs to overlap as
much as possible so that MOC coverage will apply to both.

The Melas ellipses will not change in the near future. The present A/B ellipses
are as close to the canyon wall and interior mound as possible to access the
interior deposits in the center of the ellipse. If the ellipse were to grow
slightly in the future, it might be necessary to move the ellipse to the north,
but this is not advantageous to accessing the interior deposits.

Athabasca Vallis:
Currently the preference is for the southern of the ellipses shown, but we are
planning on looking at a number of data sets before finalizing it.

Gusev crater:
The ellipse in Gusev will be moved to the west and south. The rougher looking
etched terrain in the southern and eastern part of Gusev crater correlates with
areas that have high MOLA pulse spread. The ellipse will be moved to avoid this
potentially hazardous terrain.

Rough looking terrain in MOC images in IP98B and IP85A correlates with higher 1
km scale slopes and higher MOLA pulse spreads. IP84A and IP96B appear smoother
in both the MOC images and in the calculated slopes and MOLA pulse
spread. These ellipses will be moved south closer to the basin margin, where
MOC images show a number of channels emanating from the highlands, and the
ellipses will be made to overlap.

Eos Chasma:
No changes to the ellipse are planned.

After these ellipse changes are made in consultation with project personnel and
scientists working on the sites, we will send new ellipses out and request MOC
images be acquired of the sites.

MER 2003 Workshop Talks (Pasadena

Nathalie Cabrol 9.8M  Powerpoint
Phil Christensen 5.7M  Powerpoint
Larry Crumpler 33M Powerpoint
John Grant 56K Powerpoint
Ruslan Kuzmin 32M Powerpoint
Alfred McEwen 12K Word

Mars Exploration Rovers Landing Site Selection Workshop

Pasadena, California

October 17th and 18th, 2001

October 17th, Wednesday

Session 1: Introduction (Moderator: J. Garvin, Summarizer:
G. Gulick)

 8:30 a.m. Welcome to the Workshop

John Grant and Matt Golombek (Co-Chairs, Landing Site Steering Committee),
Cathy Weitz (MER Program Scientist)

 8:45 a.m. Update on the Mars Exploration Program

Jim Garvin, Mars Program Scientist

 9:15 a.m. Overview
of the Landing Site Selection Process and Workshop Goals

John Grant and Matt Golombek (Co-chairs, Landing Site Steering Committee)

 9:30 a.m. Engineering Constraints on MER Landing

Mark Adler (Project Engineer) and Joy Crisp (Project Scientist)

10:10-10:15 a.m. Coffee Break

10:15 a.m.

Overview of Current Ellipses and Supporting Data Sets


Matt Golombek and Tim Parker

Session 2: Science Potential of the Sites and Discussion
(Moderator: M. Carr, Summarizer: K. Tanaka)

10:45 a.m. The
Hematite Sites

Phil Christensen, Science Spokesperson

11:45-1:15 p.m. Lunch

 1:15 p.m. Melas Chasma and Central Valles Marineris

Tim Parker, Science Spokesperson

 2:15 p.m. Isidis

Larry Crumpler, Science Spokesperson

 3:15-3:30 p.m. Coffee Break

Session 3: Science Potential of the Sites and Discussion
(cont’d) [Moderator: G. McGill, Summarizer: B. Jakosky]

 3:30 p.m. Crater
Lakes I: Gusev, Boedicker, and “Unnamed” EP69A

Nathalie Cabrol, Science Spokesperson

 4:15 p.m.

Crater Lakes II: Gale and Meridiani Crater

Nathan Bridges, Science Spokesperson

 5:00 p.m. Eos
Chasma and Northeast Valles Marineris

Ruslan Kuzmin, Science Spokesperson

 6:00 p.m. End of Day One

October 18th, Thursday

Session 4: Science Potential of the Sites and Discussion
(contíd) [Moderator: T. Parker, Summarizer: M. Shepard]

 8:30 a.m. Athabasca Vallis (Elysium)

Jim Rice/Tim Parker, Science Spokespersons

 9:30 a.m. Meridiani and Other Highlands Sites

Mike Carr, Science Spokesperson

10:15-10:30 Coffee Break

10:30 a.m. Discussion of Sites [Moderator:
M. Golombek, Summarizer: J. Grant]

11:30-1:00 p.m. Lunch

Session 5: Landing Site Safety and Discussion [Moderator:
P. Christensen, Summarizer: G. Gulick]

 1:00 p.m.

Introduction to Landing Site Safety Issues

Matt Golombek, Co-Chair, Landing Site Steering Committee

 1:15 p.m. Implications of MOLA pulse spread data
for landing site selection

Jim Garvin, NASA Mars Exploration Program Scientist

 1:45 p.m. Using MOLA data to Evaluate Landing Sites

Mike Shepard, Bloomsburg University

 2:15 p.m. Surface
Roughnesses via Photoclinometry on MOC images

Alfred McEwen, University of Arizona

 2:35 p.m. DTMs Derived from MOC Stereo Images

Randy Kirk, USGS

2:55-3:10 p.m. Coffee Break

Session 6: Landing Site Safety and Discussion (cont’d)
[Moderator: J. Grant, Summarizer: M. Golombek]

 3:10 p.m. Implications of the TES data for Surface
Properties and Landing Safety

Shannon Pelkey, University of Colorado

 3:40 p.m. Rock Abundance derived from TES data

Scott Nowicki and Phil Christensen, Arizona State University

 4:10 p.m.

A Summary of Landing Site Safety Evaluations

Matt Golombek, Co-chair Landing Site Steering Committee

 4:30-6:00 p.m. Discussion and Prioritization of
Landing Sites

 6:30 p.m. Steering Committtee Dinner

End of Meeting

SpaceRef staff editor.