Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA Selects Investigations For The Mars Science Laboratory

Date:
December 20, 2004
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
NASA has selected eight proposals to provide instrumentation and associated science investigations for the mobile Mars Science Laboratory rover, scheduled for launch in 2009. Proposals selected today were submitted to NASA in response to an announcement of opportunity released in April.

Artist's Concept of Mars Science Laboratory.
Credit: Image courtesy of NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA has selected eight proposals to provide instrumentation and associated science investigations for the mobile Mars Science Laboratory rover, scheduled for launch in 2009. Proposals selected today were submitted to NASA in response to an announcement of opportunity released in April.

The Mars Science Laboratory mission, part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, would deliver a mobile laboratory to the surface of Mars to explore a local region as a potential habitat for past or present life. The laboratory would operate under its own power. It is expected to remain active for one Mars year, equal to two Earth years, after landing.

In addition to the instrumentation selected, Mars Science Laboratory would carry a pulsed neutron source and detector for measuring hydrogen (including water), provided by the Russian Federal Space Agency. The project would also include a meteorological package and an ultraviolet sensor provided by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science.

"This mission represents a tremendous leap forward in the exploration of Mars," said NASA's Deputy Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Dr. Ghassem Asrar. "MSL is the next logical step beyond the twin Spirit and Opportunity rovers. It will use a unique set of analytical tools to study the red planet for over a year and unveil the past and present conditions for habitability of Mars," Asrar said.

"The Mars Science Laboratory is an extremely capable system, and the selected instruments will bring an analytical laboratory to the martian surface for the first time since the Viking landers over 25 years ago," said Douglas McCuistion, Mars Exploration Program director at NASA Headquarters.

The selected proposals will conduct preliminary design studies to focus on how the instruments can be accommodated on the mobile platform, completed and delivered consistent with the mission schedule. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the Science Mission Directorate.

Selected investigations and principal investigators:

-- "Mars Science Laboratory Mast Camera," Michael Malin, Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, Calif. Mast Camera would perform multi-spectral, stereo imaging at lengths ranging from kilometers to centimeters, and can acquire compressed high-definition video at 10 frames per second without the use of the rover computer.

-- "ChemCam: Laser Induced Remote Sensing for Chemistry and Micro-Imaging," Roger Wiens, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, N.M. ChemCam would ablate surface coatings from materials at standoff distances of up to 10 meters and measure elemental composition of underlying rocks and soils.

-- "Mahli: Mars HandLens Imager for the Mars Science Laboratory," Kenneth Edgett, Malin Space Science Systems. Mahli would image rocks, soil, frost and ice at resolutions 2.4 times better, and with a wider field of view, than the Microscopic Imager on the Mars Exploration Rovers.

-- "The Alpha-Particle-X-ray-Spectrometer for Mars Science Laboratory," Ralf Gellert, Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany. This instrument would determine elemental abundance of rocks and soil. It will be provided by the Canadian Space Agency.

-- "CheMin: An X-ray Diffraction/X-ray Fluorescence instrument for definitive mineralogical analysis in the Analytical Laboratory of Mars Science Laboratory," David Blake, NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. CheMin, would identify and quantify all minerals in complex natural samples such as basalts, evaporites and soils, one of the principle objectives of Mars Science Laboratory.

-- "Radiation Assessment Detector," Donald Hassler, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo. This instrument would characterize the broad spectrum of radiation at the surface of Mars, an essential precursor to human exploration of the planet. The instrument would be funded by the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.

-- "Mars Descent Imager," Michael Malin, Malin Space Science Systems. The Mars Descent Imager would poduce high-resolution color-video imagery of the descent and landing phase, providing geological context information, as well as allowing for precise landing-site determination.

-- "Sample Analysis at Mars with an integrated suite consisting of a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer, and a tunable laser spectrometer," Paul Mahaffy, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. This instrument would perform mineral and atmospheric analyses, detect a wide range of organic compounds and perform stable isotope analyses of organics and noble gases.


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 Selects Investigations For The Mars Science Laboratory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 December 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041217102404.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2004, December 20). NASA Selects Investigations For The Mars Science Laboratory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041217102404.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA Selects Investigations For The Mars Science Laboratory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041217102404.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Numerous residents along the East Coast reported seeing a bright meteor flash through the sky Sunday night. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil. It has announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA to Resume Human Space Flight, Focus on Mars

NASA to Resume Human Space Flight, Focus on Mars

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 16, 2014) — NASA awards contracts to Boeing and SpaceX to ferry astronauts to the international space station, saying the move will allow the space agency to focus on more ambitious missions like sending humans to Mars. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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:
from the past week

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