Information provided herein accompanies the announcements for the First Landing Site Workshop for the 2020 Mars Rover Mission. This information includes details on science criteria for evaluating potential landing sites, specific engineering constraints, possible enhanced entry, descent and landing (EDL) capabilities, planetary protection guidelines, and information needed to define a landing site for the workshop and subsequent imaging.
Science Merit Related to Mission Objectives
The Mars 2020 mission would explore a site likely to have been habitable, seek signs of past life, fill a returnable cache with the most compelling samples, take the first steps towards in situ resource utilization on Mars, and demonstrate technology needed for the future human and robotic exploration of Mars. A more detailed description of the proposed mission objectives can be found in the Mars 2020 Annoucement of Opportunity [NASA AO] and the SDT report [Mustard et al., 2013]. The science requirements for caching are the most demanding and will likely govern the landing site selection process.
Science criteria on potential 2020 landing sites are based on the findings of the Mars 2020 SDT [Mustard et al., 2013]. All potential landing sites must meet the threshold geological criteria to be retained for further consideration. The potential qualifying geological criteria will be used to rank sites that meet the threshold criteria.