NASA has selected 28 scientists for participation in the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Mission, including four from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The mission consists of two separate, though identical, rovers scheduled for launch in mid-2003 and arrival at separate destinations on Mars in early 2004.
The selected proposals were judged to have the best science value among 84 proposals submitted to NASA last December in response to the Mars Exploration Rover Announcement of Opportunity. Each selected investigation will work with the Mars Exploration Rover Program Office at JPL, and will become full mission science-team members, joining previously selected scientists as part of the Athena payload science team.
"The breadth, scope, and creativity of the scientists selected is very encouraging," said Dr. Ed Weiler, NASA associate administrator for space science, Washington, D.C. "By directly participating in NASA?s next mission to the surface of Mars, they will help bring us closer to the long-term objective of our Mars Exploration Program -- understanding Mars as a planet and determining whether life ever existed there."
The rover mission science objectives include:
1. study rocks and soils for clues to past water activity;
2. investigate landing sites that have a high probability of containing evidence of the action of liquid water;
3. determine the distribution and composition of minerals, rocks and soils surrounding the landing sites;
4. determine the nature of local surface geologic processes;
5. calibrate and validate data from orbiting missions at each landing site; and
6. study the geologic processes for clues about the environmental conditions that existed when liquid water was present, and whether those environments were conducive for life.
The four JPL scientists selected are:
- William M. Folkner; Measurement of Mars Rotation Changes with the Mars Exploration Rovers
- Matthew P. Golombek; Directing Long Range Rover Traverses using Orbital Surface Predictions and Mars Exploration Rover Ground Truth
- Timothy J. Parker; Sedimentary Stratigraphy and Geomorphology of the rover A and B Landing Sites
- Albert S. Yen; Soil Formation without Liquid Water: An Assessment of the Meteoritic Contribution to the Martian Surface
Other selected investigators are:
- Johannes Brueckner; Max Planck Institut fur Chemie, Mainz, Germany; Investigation of elemental composition of Martian soils and their relationship to global surface chemistry
- Nathalie A. Cabrol; SETI Institute, Moffett Field, Calif.; Aqueous Sedimentary Processes at the rover sites
- Wendy M. Calvin; University of Nevada, Reno; Mini-Thermal Emission Spectrometer investigation for surface mineralogy and surface/orbit constraints on the thermal emission spectrometer
- Benton C. Clark; Lockheed Martin Corporation, Littleton, Colo.; Chemical Alteration Processes on Mars: Investigations and Implications
- Larry S. Crumpler; New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque; Field Geology and Micro-surface Characteristics at Rover Investigation Sites
- Jack D. Farmer; Arizona State University, Tempe; Integrated Studies of Surface Geology and Mineralogy to Explore for Past Aqueous Environments
- William H. Farrand; Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.; Major and Minor Components of the Surface Layer of Mars: An Investigation Using the Rover Pancam and Mini-Thermal Emission Spectrometer
- John A. Grant; Smithsonian Institution, Washington; Constraining the Geologic Setting and Evolution of the Rover Landing Site(s)
- Ronald Greeley; Arizona State University, Tempe; Mars Exploration Rover: Study of Aeolian Features and Processes
- John P. Grotzinger; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge; Geological Analysis of Martian Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks
- Stubbe Hviid; Max Planck Institut fur Aeronomie, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany; Investigation of the production and composition of Martian soils and dust and their effect upon the Martian atmosphere
- Jeffrey R. Johnson; U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, Ariz.; Spectrophotometric Observations of Surface Materials at the Rover Landing Sites
- Geoffrey A. Landis; Ohio Aerospace Institute, Cleveland; Study of Solar Energy and Dust Accumulation on the rovers
- Mark T. Lemmon; Texas A & M University, College Station; Investigation of the properties of Martian atmospheric dust and its effect on the illumination of the Martian surface
- Rongxing Li; Ohio State University, Columbus; Surface Image-based High-precision Near Real-time Landing Site Mapping and Long-range Rover Localization
- Scott M. McLennan; State University of New York, Stony Brook; Sedimentary Petrology at the Rover Sites
- Douglas W. Ming; NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston; Identification and Processes of Formation for Phyllosilicates, Sulfates, and Other Chemical Weathering Products on Mars
- Jeffrey E. Moersch; University of Tennessee, Knoxville; A Search for Aqueous Minerals with the Mars Exploration Rover Mini-Thermal Emission Spectrometer Experiment
- James W. Rice; Arizona State University, Tempe; Geomorphic and Sedimentological Investigations
- Lutz Richter; DLR Institut fur Raumsimulation, Koln, Germany; Mars Soil Mechanics Investigations Using Rover Locomotion System Engineering Data
- Michael D. Smith; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; Retrieval of Atmospheric Properties using mini-thermal emission spectrometer spectra
- Peter H. Smith; University of Arizona, Tucson; The dust cycle monitored from the rovers
- Robert Sullivan; Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; Physical and Mechanical Properties of Martian Soils Along Rover Traverses
- Michael J. Wolff; Space Science Institute, Martinez, Ga.; Aerosol Studies and the Boundary Layer: Things are Looking Up
JPL manages the Mars Exploration Rover mission for NASA?s Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.