Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA Plans To Send Rover Twins To Mars In 2003

Date:
August 11, 2000
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
The traffic on Mars is expected to double in the near future. NASA has announced plans to launch two large scientific rovers to the red planet in 2003, rather than the original plan for just one, said Dr. Ed Weiler, Associate Administrator for Space Science, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Aug. 10, 2000 -- The traffic on Mars is expected to double in the near future. NASA today announced plans to launch two large scientific rovers to the red planet in 2003, rather than the original plan for just one, said Dr. Ed Weiler, Associate Administrator for Space Science, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Both Mars rovers, to be built, managed and operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., currently are planned for launch on Delta II rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The first mission is targeted for May 22, with the second launch slated for June 4. After a seven-and-a- half month cruise, the first rover should enter Mars' atmosphere January 2, 2004, with the second rover bouncing to a stop on the Martian surface January 20.

The rovers will be exact duplicates, but that's where the similarities end. Relatives of the highly successful 1997 Sojourner rover, these 150-kilogram (300-pound) mobile laboratories may look and act alike, but they're going to decidedly different locations.

"For the first time, science and technology have given us the capability to explore alien planets in ways that used to exist only in science fiction movies," said Weiler. "To have two rovers driving over dramatically different regions of Mars at the same time, to be able to drive over and see what's on the other side of the hill -- it's an incredibly exciting idea." Weiler added, "I think everyone on Earth who has ever dreamed of being an explorer on an alien planet will want to go along for the ride as we explore the surface of Mars."

Scott Hubbard, Mars program director at NASA Headquarters said, "For the past few weeks NASA has been undertaking an extensive study of a two-lander option. Hubbard added, "The scientific appeal of using the excellent launch opportunity in 2003 for two missions was weighed carefully against the resource requirements and schedule constraints."

"Our teams concluded that we can successfully develop and launch these identical packages to the red planet," continued Hubbard. "We also determined that, in addition to the prospect of doubling our scientific return, this two-pronged approach adds resiliency and robustness to our exploration program."

"Mars is a beguiling place, and conducting a real mobile field-geology mission is always better when there are multiple perspectives," said Dr. Jim Garvin, Mars program scientist at NASA Headquarters. However, the landing sites have yet to be selected. "We are thinking about localities where there is evidence of surface processes involving what we might call 'past' water on Mars," Garvin said.

"This includes sites where we have today mineralogical evidence that water may have produced unique chemical fingerprints, as well as places where it seems likely water 'ponded' in closed depressions for enough time to modify the regional geology," Garvin added.

During the next two to three years, engineers and scientists will conduct an intensive search for potential touchdown sites. Using the flood of data still coming in from Mars Global Surveyor, and that expected starting in 2002 from the Mars 2001 Orbiter, scientists will search for compelling landing zones with the fewest hazards and select the best candidates.

"The goal of both rovers will be to learn about ancient water and climate on Mars," said Professor Steven Squyres, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and principal investigator for the rovers' Athena science package. "You can think of each rover as a robotic field geologist, equipped to read the geologic record at its landing site and to learn what the conditions were like back when the rocks and soils there were formed."

Given the high priority NASA and the administration assign to the space science program overall, and to the timely exploration of Mars, the agency proposes that space science cover any additional costs of the first rover mission, and that the bulk of the cost for the second lander be reallocated from programs outside Space Science.

The Mars 2003 Rover project will be managed at JPL, for the Office of Space Science. Dr. Firouz Naderi is the Mars Program Manager at JPL, which is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

#####

NOTE TO EDITORS: Fact sheets for the Mars 2003 rover and the Mars 2001 Orbiter missions are available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/facts/mars03rover.pdf and http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/facts/mars2001.pdf


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA Plans To Send Rover Twins To Mars In 2003." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000811061323.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2000, August 11). NASA Plans To Send Rover Twins To Mars In 2003. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000811061323.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA Plans To Send Rover Twins To Mars In 2003." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000811061323.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

Newsy (Sep. 27, 2014) Researchers at the University of Michigan simulated the birth of planets and our sun to determine whether water in the solar system predates the sun. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts, including the first woman cosmonaut in 17 years, blasted off on schedule Friday. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Newsy (Sep. 25, 2014) Scientists have discovered traces of water in the atmosphere of a distant, Neptune-sized planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: US-Russian Crew Lifts Off for Space Station

Raw: US-Russian Crew Lifts Off for Space Station

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) A U.S.-Russian space crew has blasted off successfully for the International Space Station. The Russian Soyuz-TMA14M spacecraft lifted off from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins