36th Meeting of the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG)

Members of the Mars community,

I cordially invite you to participate in the 36th meeting of the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG), scheduled for Tuesday-Thursday, April 3-5, 2018, and held at the Crystal City Marriott at Reagan National Airport. Information about meeting logistics and the current agenda are included in this circular, which has also been posted to the MEPAG Meeting 36 webpage (https://mepag.jpl.nasa.gov/meetings.cfm?expand=m36).

A focus of this MEPAG meeting is preparation for the next Decadal Survey. MEPAG seeks to enable opportunities for identifying concepts in all mission classes that could make significant progress on compelling Mars science questions during 2023-2032. While the return of samples to be prepared by NASA’s Mars 2020 rover continues to be a priority, there is a strong pool of concepts for (1) competed missions (including possible New Frontiers candidates), (2) small satellite missions enabled by strategic mission launch capabilities, and/or (3) follow-on flagship capabilities. These build on the extraordinary discoveries of past and ongoing missions, as well as new technological developments. MEPAG’s goal is to generally support scientific mission concepts with enough detail to enable their serious consideration by the next Planetary Decadal Survey. In particular, we are interested in concepts that address high priority science questions that could be addressed in parallel with or after Mars sample return. The forum on the afternoon of the first day has the main goal of identifying mission objectives and concepts that address high-priority Mars science questions, with an emphasis on the science that can be achieved over the next two decades. Over 20 abstracts were submitted for presentation at this forum (and these will shortly be posted to the meeting website), which should lead to some very diverse and interesting discussions. Discussion following this forum will aim to help later planning of studies or workshops commissioned by MEPAG or MEP to mature specific concepts or to define technological areas for potential later investment.

The meeting will also include Mars Exploration Program reports from NASA Headquarters, discussions regarding proposed changes to the MEPAG Goals Document from the polar science community, preparations for the next Decadal Survey and a summary of the first day’s forum, status reports from operating and planned Mars missions and other space agencies, and reports from recent Mars-relevant workshops and conferences.

The meeting is open to all members of the Mars science and exploration communities and we welcome our international colleagues. We will also broadcast the meeting online for those who cannot attend in-person.


Dr. Jeffrey R. Johnson, MEPAG Chair