NASA planning August release of Mars robotic exploration architecture
WASHINGTON – In time to begin work on a March 2022 orbiter, a NASA official said on July 10 that the agency plans to have a “coherent Mars architecture” for future robotic missions to Mars ready to be presented at A committee meeting in August.
Michael Meyer, chief scientist for the Mars exploration program at NASA headquarters, said that the architecture is on track to be presented at a meeting in late August a national academy committee reviewing progress. NASA has completed the implementation of the Ten Scientific World Scientist survey published in 2011.
“It was in August that the committee realizes that they are going to hear a coherent architecture of Mars so we hope to make a return of samples and potentially other missions associated with it”
Meyer said in a conference call to Mars Exploration Group Analysis Program (MEPAG). He added that he and others were working to ensure approval of the plan agency prior to the presentation.
Such architecture, he said, was requested by Congress. “We are ready to present something because it is something that Congress has requested in its credits,” he said.
Meyer did not disclose details of what would be in this architecture beyond its focus on returning samples. The mission in March 2020 Rover will be the first step in a return process of multi-mission samples, collecting samples that future missions to collect and return to Earth.
However, there are no missions to Mars by NASA under development beyond March 2020. This sparked growing concern in the Mars scientific community, both in progress on the return of samples and the development of a new Orbiter argue to replace the telecommunications and imaging capability currently provided by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
NASA budget request for fiscal year 2018, released in May, there is only $ 2.9 million for “future missions to Mars”, which could include the planning of an orbiter or other tracking missions to the mobile in 2020.
This amount increases in the five-year budget projections to $ 178.9 million during fiscal year 2022, but participants at the MEPAG meeting found it insufficient to launch an orbital mission of any kind by 2022 .
“Although there have been additions to the budget of planetary science were impressive, they were committed elsewhere,” said Jeff Johnson, planetary geologist at the Applied Physics Laboratory of which he is president of MEPAG.
“Without a substantial increase in this line mission in March by Congress, it is not likely to launch a spacecraft to Mars in 2022.”
House and Senate assignment committees have yet to disclose their financial plans for future missions to Mars. The committee in full House Allocations must mark its proposed credits for the year 2018 on July 13, which can provide more details about its interest for future missions to Mars.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has not taken into account for NASA.