Tag Archives: planetary science

Mars Exploration – Opportunity and Beyond

The resilience of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, and the wealth of data that it gathered on Mars, opened a new chapter in our understanding of the Red Planet. Explore our reports about research on Mars and the rest of our solar system. All are free to download.

A Scientific Rationale for Mobility in Planetary Environments

For the last several decades, the Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX) has advocated a systematic approach to exploration of the solar system; that is, the information and understanding resulting from one mission provide the scientific foundations that motivate subsequent, more …

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Assessment of NASA’s Mars Architecture 2007-2016

The United States and the former Soviet Union have sent spacecraft to mars as early as 1966, with Mars’ exploration being priority for NASA spacecraft. Both sides, however, have failed as well as succeed. The inability to determine if life exists on Mars is considered one of NASA’s failures and …

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Safe on Mars: Precursor Measurements Necessary to Support Human Operations on the Martian Surface

This study, commissioned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), examines the role of robotic exploration missions in assessing the risks to the first human missions to Mars. Only those hazards arising from exposure to environmental, chemical, and biological agents on the …

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Assessment of Mars Science and Mission Priorities

Within the Office of Space Science of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) special importance is attached to exploration of the planet Mars, because it is the most like Earth of the planets in the solar system and the place where the first detection of extraterrestrial life …

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Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Mars Sample Return Missions

NASA maintains a planetary protection policy to avoid the forward biological contamination of other worlds by terrestrial organisms, and back biological contamination of Earth from the return of extraterrestrial materials by spaceflight missions. Forward-contamination issues related to Mars …

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Grading NASA’s Solar System Exploration Program: A Midterm Report

The NASA Authorization Act of 2005 directed the agency to ask the NRC to assess the performance of each division in the NASA Science directorate at five-year intervals. In this connection, NASA requested the NRC to review the progress the Planetary Exploration Division has made in implementing …

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Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022

In recent years, planetary science has seen a tremendous growth in new knowledge. Deposits of water ice exist at the Moon’s poles. Discoveries on the surface of Mars point to an early warm wet climate, and perhaps conditions under which life could have emerged. Liquid methane rain falls on …

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Powering Science: NASA’s Large Strategic Science Missions

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) currently operates over five dozen missions, with approximately two dozen additional missions in development. These missions span the scientific fields associated with SMD’s four divisions—Astrophysics, Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Planetary …

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Extending Science: NASA’s Space Science Mission Extensions and the Senior Review Process

NASA operates a large number of space science missions, approximately three-quarters of which are currently in their extended operations phase. They represent not only a majority of operational space science missions, but a substantial national investment and vital national assets. They are …

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Visions into Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022: A Midterm Review

In spring 2011 the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine produced a report outlining the next decade in planetary sciences. That report, titled Vision and Voyages for Planetary Science in the Decade 2013-2022, and popularly referred to as the “decadal survey,” has …

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Report Series: Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science: Getting Ready for the Next Planetary Science Decadal Survey

This study discusses the publicly available studies of future flagship- and New Frontiers-class missions NASA initiated since the completion of Vision and Voyages. The report considers the priority areas as defined in Vision and Voyages where publicly available mission studies have …

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