Mars 2007 Missions and beyond
Launch Period: 3 August 2007
Planned for launch in 2007 is a Scout mission,
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
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
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)
- 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, email@example.com
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771
NASA Official: Dave Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: 09 July 2007, DRW