Status Report

NASA Mars Program Planning Group Summary of Final Report

By SpaceRef Editor
September 25, 2012
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NASA Mars Program Planning Group Summary of Final Report

Summary of Findings and Observations

1. MPPG options address the primary objectives of the NRC Decadal Survey, with human exploration capabilities playing an increasing role over time, in the scientific exploration of Mars

2. Sample return architectures provide a promising intersection of objectives for long term SMD/ HEOMD/STP collaboration, particularly in EDL and ISRU/Mars ascent technologies

3. MPPG offers several options to implement an integrated strategy for Mars exploration, providing flexibility and resiliency while recognizing the programmatic and fiscal challenges

a. Provides a compelling science program, with sample return as a centerpiece in the overarching theme of Search for Signs of Past Life; endorses competition for other Mars science beyond the central theme

b. Leverages robotic missions to fill Strategic Knowledge Gaps (SKGs) for human exploration and strengthen scientific collaboration

c. Technologies and capabilities are identified that are of mutual benefit and enable humans at Mars orbit in the 2030’s, with opportunities for increased collaboration in the future

d. Op2ons represent ~50% cost reduction compared to NRC Decadal concepts, and are responsive to Decadal objectives; implementation options include: 1) spreading risk and cost across several missions, 2) MSR in a single mission, and 3) improving probability of returning samples that preserve evidence of past life.

4. A variety of “building block” rovers and orbiters are suggested and costed, to facilitate planning of the new program architecture by NASA

a. The building blocks provide op2ons to specifically target the early mission opportunities

5. Return of samples to Beyond Earth Orbit (BEO) to be recovered by astronauts offers an early intersection of robotic and human flight programs, as capability is developed for human surface exploration of Mars

Full report

SpaceRef staff editor.