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Accession Number N20120010647
Title Multiple Smaller Missions as a Direct Pathway to Mars Sample Return.
Publication Date Jun 2012
Media Count 2p
Personal Author A. M. Baldridge A. T. Knudson C. A. Evans C. H. Seaman C. M. Weitz D. Ming D. Vaniman D. A. Crown D. S. Draper E. K. Gibson E. N. Dobrea J. Andrews-Hanna J. Michalski J. F. Bell J. H. Jones L. D. Graham L. P. Knauth M. Fries M. C. Bourke P. B. Niles P. D. Archer R. M. E. Williams S. M. Lederer
Abstract Recent discoveries by the Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Express, Mars Odyssey, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft include multiple, tantalizing astrobiological targets representing both past and present environments on Mars. The most desirable path to Mars Sample Return (MSR) would be to collect and return samples from that site which provides the clearest examples of the variety of rock types considered a high priority for sample return (pristine igneous, sedimentary, and hydrothermal). Here we propose an MSR architecture in which the next steps (potentially launched in 2018) would entail a series of smaller missions, including caching, to multiple landing sites to verify the presence of high priority sample return targets through in situ analyses. This alternative architecture to one flagship-class sample caching mission to a single site would preserve a direct path to MSR as stipulated by the Planetary Decadal Survey, while permitting investigation of diverse deposit types and providing comparison of the site of returned samples to other aqueous environments on early Mars.
Keywords Landing sites
Management planning
Mars exploration
Mars roving vehicles
Mars sample return missions
Mission planning
Project management
Sample return missions

 
Source Agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NTIS Subject Category 54 - Astronomy & Astrophysics
84B - Extraterrestial Exploration
Corporate Author National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Houston, TX. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
Document Type Conference proceedings
Title Note N/A
NTIS Issue Number 1226
Contract Number N/A

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