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Mars Exploration Technology
Mars Exploration Technology Program

Technologies That Enable Mars Exploration

Technology development makes missions possible. Each Mars mission is part of a continuing chain of innovation: each relies on past missions for new technologies and contributes its own innovations to future missions. This chain allows NASA to continue to push the boundaries of what is currently possible, while relying on proven technologies as well.



Technologies of Broad Benefit
launch vehicle Propulsion: for providing the energy to get to Mars and conduct long-term studies
Mars Exploration Rover Power: for providing more efficient and increased electricity to the spacecraft and its subsystems
DSN Telecommunications: for sending commands and receiving data faster and in greater amounts
Mission control Avionics: electronics for operating the spacecraft and its subsystems
Mission control Software Engineering: for providing the computing and commands necessary to operate the spacecraft and its subsystems

In-situ Exploration and Sample Return
Entry, Descent, and Landing Entry, Descent, and Landing: for ensuring precise and safe landings
Mars Science Laboratory Rover Autonomous Planetary Mobility: for enabling rovers, airplanes, and balloons to make decisions and avoid hazards on their own
Severe Environment Technologies for Severe Environments: for making systems robust enough to handle extreme conditions in space and on Mars
Sample Return Technologies Sample Return Technologies: for collecting and returning rock, soil, and atmospheric samples back to Earth for further laboratory analysis
The spacecraft in the cleanroom Planetary Protection Technologies: for cleaning and sterilizing spacecraft and handling soil, rock, and atmospheric samples

Science Instruments
Artists concept Odyssey in orbit around Mars Remote Science Instrumentation: for collecting Mars data from orbit
In-situ Instrumentation In-Situ Instrumentation: for collecting Mars data from the surface


Related Resources

How Do you Land on Mars?
Learn About Curiosity Rover
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Mars in a Minute: How Do Rovers Drive on Mars?
The "keys" to NASA's Mars rovers are in the capable hands of the official rover drivers.
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