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Compelling Planetary Science Missions: Mars Geophysical Network and Mars Polar Climate Missions

23 Dec 2010, 00:06 UTC
Compelling Planetary Science Missions: Mars Geophysical Network and Mars Polar Climate Missions
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This continues a series of posts inspired by a similar set of posts at Future Planetary Exploration blog selecting the 5 most compelling missions from the Planetary Science Decadal Survey list. This follows 3 reviews of potential Mars missions. Here I make my personal selection from that list.After some consideration, I decided not to include the MAX-C rover in my list of most compelling Planetary Science missions from the Decadal Survey list. The mission science is compelling, the raw idea of a rover exploring and selecting Martian samples for return to the Earth is right, the mission is in a reasonably advanced state of development, and it has international cooperation and multi-mission implications. Thus, it is not to be set aside lightly, and as you'll eventually see I'm not setting it aside lightly. However, the estimated mission cost is just too much for me, and I'm worried about the new rover delivery mechanism. Demonstration of the Sky Crane at Mars, combined with validation that a Network Pathfinder could be added to the mission with minimal risk and cost, might be enough to squeeze MAX-C into my top 5 most compelling missions, but those things haven't happened yet.It's all about opportunity ...

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