Mars 2007 Missions and beyond

Mars 2007

[Mars 2007 Missions] Launch Period: 3 August 2007

Phoenix Lander

Planned for launch in 2007 is a Scout mission, Phoenix, a lander designed to study the surface and near-surface environment of a landing site in the high-northern latitudes of Mars.

The spacecraft comprises an octagonal base supported on three landing legs. Two octagonal solar panel wings extend from the base to provide power. The science experiments and a robotic arm are mounted on the base. The experiments are: the Microscopy, Electrochemistry, and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA), the Robotic Arm Camera (RAC), the Surface Stereo Imager (SSI), the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA), the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI), and the meteorological station (MET).

There is a 22 day launch window for Phoenix opening on 3 August 2007 at 0935 UT (5:35 a.m. EDT). Launch is on a Delta II 7925 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Cruise to Mars will take approximately 10 months, with landing on Mars in mid-May of 2008. All instruments will be deployed in the first two days after landing. See the 9 July 2007 NASA press release for more information.

Phoenix was selected for the 2007 launch from four proposals for future Scout missions to Mars. For further information on the selection, see the 4 August 2003 NASA press release.

The CNES (French Space Agency) had planned to launch a remote sensing orbiter and four small "Netlanders" but these have been postponed indefinitely.

Mars 2009

[Mars Science Lab] Launch Period: Late 2009

Mars Science Laboratory

A long duration rover (mobile scientific laboratory) equipped to perform many scientific studies of Mars, to be chosen competitively, is planned for a late 2009 launch. The primary scientific objectives of the mission will be to assess the biological potential of at least one target area, characterize the local geology and geochemistry, investigate planetary processes relevant to habitability, including the role of water, and to characterize the broad spectrum of surface radiation. The mission is planned to last at least one martian year (687 days). The landing site has not been chosen, but will be selected based on an assessment of its capacity to sustain life. A synthetic aperture radar satellite developed with Italy is also being considered for the 2009 launch window to Mars.

Mars Science Laboratory Home Page
Diagram of Mars Science Laboratory
Investigations Chosen for Mars Science Laboratory - 14 December 2004 NASA Press Release

Future Mars Opportunities

[Mars Sample Return] In the second decade, NASA plans additional science orbiters, rovers and landers, and the first mission to return the most promising Martian samples to Earth. Current plans call for a Mars Scout mission (to be determined) to launch in 2011 and the first sample return mission to be launched no later than 2020. A CNES Orbiter will collect the samples from Mars Ascent Vehicles and bring them back to Earth. Technology development for advanced capabilities such as miniaturized surface science instruments and deep drilling to several hundred feet will also be carried out in this period.

NASA's First Scout Mission Selected for 2007 Launch - 4 August 2003 Press Release
NASA Selects Four Mars Scout Missions for Study - 6 December 2002 Press Release
Mars Scout Concepts Selected for Future Study - 13 June 2001 Press Release
Mars Exploration Program for Next Two Decades - 26 October 2000 Press Release
NASA Decides to send Two Rovers to Mars in 2003 - 10 August 2000 Press Release
Rover Option Chosen for Mars 2003 Mission - 27 July 2000 Press Release
Two Options Identified for Mars 2003 Mission - 12 May 2000 Press Release
Athena Home Page - Cornell
Mars Home Page
Mars Fact Sheet

Other Missions to Mars

Viking - NASA Orbiters/Landers to Mars (1975)
Mars Pathfinder - NASA Lander and Rover Mission to Mars (1996)
Mars Global Surveyor - NASA Mars Orbiter (1996)
Mars Climate Orbiter - NASA Orbiter Mission to Mars (1998)
Mars Polar Lander - NASA Lander Mission to Mars (1999)
New Millenium Deep Space 2 - NASA Penetrator Mission to Mars (1999)
2001 Mars Odyssey - NASA Orbiter Mission to Mars (2001)
Mars Exploration Rovers - NASA Rover Missions to Mars (2003)
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter - NASA Orbiter Mission to Mars (2005)

Dr. David R. Williams,
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: Ed Grayzeck,
Last Updated: 09 July 2007, DRW