DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 19. Mars Surface II
Poster, Highlighted on, Wednesday, September 3, 2003, 3:00-5:30pm, Sierra Ballroom I-II

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[19.04] Momentous Discoveries on Mars: Science outside the MEP pathways

R.W. Easter, M.L. Delitsky, E.S. Lamassoure (JPL), Mars Outpost Team

The Mars Exploration Program has recently defined 4 Pathways to explore Mars in the 2009-2020 timeframe. However, some "momentous" discoveries could be made by missions now in progress that are not addressed by the pathways. In this poster, we look at 17 discoveries of different types that could be made on Mars, of varying scientific interest, and levels of "momentousness", and how future missions could be engineered to investigate these discoveries in a more urgent timeframe. Discoveries involving evidence of water, or clear signatures of ancient or extant life are those having high "momentousness". These future missions would be designed to have: 1) a more regional focus, 2) a quicker on-site response to interesting transient phenomena, or 3) longer baseline observations of the momentous phenomena observed (utilizing, for example, long-duration power sources). Also considered are discoveries that would induce or support a more accelerated human presence on Mars, such as biosignatures, resource recovery, etc.

The Mars Outpost Team seeks further input from the Mars community about other possible momentous discoveries that could be made, as well as ways to respond to them (types of missions, instruments, spacecraft (orbiters, landers, rovers, airplanes, etc.))

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.