- Press Release
- Jun 3, 2023
Revision of the Mars Exploration Program vision of the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) Goals Document
Analysis Group (MEPAG) Goals Document
In 2000, the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) wasasked by NASA to work with the science community to establish consensus priorities for the future scientific exploration of Mars. Those discussions and analyses resulted in a report entitled Scientific Goals, Objectives, Investigations, and Priorities, which is informally referred to as the Goals Document. The initial report proved to be very useful for guiding program implementation decisions. It also is clear that the report requires regular updating in light of dramatic new results from Mars and evolving high-level strategic direction from NASA. For this reason, MEPAG periodically revises the Goals Document as a statement of communityconsensus positions (http://mepag.jpl.nasa.gov/reports/index.html).
The MEPAG Goals Document is organized into a four-tiered hierarchy: Goals, Objectives, Investigations, and (where applicable) Measurements. The Goals have a very long-range character and are organized around major sectors of scientific knowledge: Life (Goal I), Climate (Goal II), Geology (Goal III), and Preparation for Human Exploration (Goal IV). Because developing an understanding of Mars as a system requires making progress toward meeting all four Goals, MEPAG has not attempted to prioritize the Goals, but rather represents them equally. The four Goals each include 2-3 Objectives that embody the strategies and milestones needed toachieve them. Objectives are presented in priority order. A series of Investigations that collectively would achieve each Objective is also identified and each is prioritized.
The Goals Document is presented as a statement of community consensus positions and it is MEPAGs intent that the descriptions of scientific Objectives and Investigations serve simply as example targets for future instrument development and measurements. As measurement capabilities and techniques evolve, detailed requirements shouldbe defined by Principal Investigators, Science Definition Teams, and Payload Science Integration Groups for program missions and by the Principal Investigator and Science Teams. These requirements can then contribute to forward program planning. Some types of Mars-related scientific research take place without flying spacecraft to Mars. Most notably, these include meteorite studies, telescopic observations, theoretical models, and fundamental research of diverse character. The Goals Document does not consider these sectors of research in its hierarchy, or in its prioritization system.