Exploring Mars Together
Official Unveils Draft NASA Plan to Continue Mars Exploration Following Sample Retrieval Mission
NASA has drafted a plan to explore Mars through a series of science and infrastructure-building missions to be undertaken by robots. Eric Ianson, Mars Exploration Program director, said the Exploring Mars Together strategy would begin after all launches take place for Mars Sample Return, an ongoing effort to collect particles from the planet’s surface and atmosphere.
He said that NASA wants to conduct missions worth between $100 million and $300 million at a consistent pace. At a recent meeting of the National Academies Space Studies Board, Ianson proposed a schedule that would commence launches in the early 2030s and proceed into a regular rhythm thereafter.
Vendors selected for each launch would have the option to conduct a set of smaller missions capped at a combined $300 million. According to Ianson, the contractor selection process will be competitive and may involve those involved in existing commercial crew and cargo programs.
NASA is expected to seek input on the draft strategy at an upcoming Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group conference, SpaceNews reported Thursday.
Tags: Eric Ianson Exploring Mars Together MARS Mars Sample Return NASA space SpaceNews