Assessment of Nasa's Mars Achitecture, 2007-2016 by Committee to Review the Next Decade Mars Architecture,

By Committee to Review the Next Decade Mars Architecture, National Research Council

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A strong, independent architecture will stand alone on its scientific merit and will also contribute significantly to the VSE. Both the utility of the Mars mission architecture and its value within the VSE and NASA’s strategic plan would be strengthened by the addition of a network of meteorological/seismic stations and a sample return mission. , the committee finds that the proposed Mars architecture addresses some of the strategies, priorities, and guidelines promoted by the solar system exploration decadal survey and the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group and is basically consistent with NASA’s plans as exemplified by the agency’s 2006 strategic plan and the Vision for Space Exploration.

Html>. 4 A Balanced Mission Portfolio Does the Mars architecture represent a reasonably balanced mission portfolio? Although the committee interpreted this question as relating primarily to scientific balance, other issues of balance are also considered. SCIENTIFIC BALANCE The balance of scientific questions that the proposed architecture can and cannot address was of great interest and concern to the committee. 1 outlines the three key crosscutting scientific themes defined in the SSE decadal survey and breaks them down into slightly more focused key topics.

Similarly, define a strategy that addresses the short lead time between science results obtained from MSL and selection of the mission to fly in 2016. Recommendation: Clarify how trade-offs involving mission costs versus science were made for the various launch opportunities to justify the rationale behind the proposed sequence of specific missions and the exclusion of others. Recommendation: Maintain the Mars Scouts as entities distinct from the core missions of the Mars Exploration Program. Scout missions should not be restricted by the planning for core missions, and the core missions should not depend on selecting particular types of Scout missions.

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