You are invited to participate in the second landing site workshop for the Mars 2020 Rover. The workshop will be held in the Pasadena, CA, area on August 4-6, 2015 (venue TBD) and will focus on further evaluation of candidate sites introduced at the first workshop as well as new candidate sites. Additional information will be provided in future announcements and will be posted on the Mars 2020 landing site website: http://marsnext.jpl.nasa.gov.
The process of selecting the 2020 Mars Project landing site began with a first workshop held in Crystal City, VA in May, 2014. At the workshop, a list of 27 sites was prioritized for imaging by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and other orbiting spacecraft at Mars.
The goal of the second workshop will be to narrow the original list of sites as well as new candidate sites to approximately 8 sites based on existing mission engineering constraints and available atmosphere and terrain data products. The format will include oral presentations (to be solicited in a subsequent mailing) and general discussion of the sites.
An important aspect of the second workshop presentations will be the identification of specific regions of interest (ROI) within the landing ellipse and any “Go To” regions where science investigations could enable achieving mission science objectives. The Mars 2020 Rover project would like to understand how far and over what terrain the rover must traverse at a prospective landing site in order to fulfill the science objectives.
The candidate landing sites emerging from the second workshop will then be considered in more detail by the 2020 Project, Mars Program, and the Science Community. It is expected that additional orbital data will also be obtained for the sites remaining under consideration. New sites may be proposed and discussed at the workshop, with the expectation that such new sites will be based in part on discoveries related to new data from MRO. Future workshops (beyond 2015) are planned that would further narrow the list of sites under consideration to a recommended landing site zone and (eventually) precise landing ellipse.
Additional information on the Mars 2020 mission and relevant engineering requirements, landing site selection process, and available data for the proposed sites can be found on the Mars 2020 landing site website: http://marsnext.jpl.nasa.gov. A second announcement for this workshop will request presentations and provide more specific logistical information.
All members of the scientific community are encouraged to participate in this activity, as robust input from the science community is critical to identifying the optimal landing site for the 2020 rover. We look forward to your continued involvement in these activities!
John Grant and Matt Golombek
Co-Chairs, Mars Landing Site Steering Committee