Dear Colleague:

The second landing site workshop for the 2020 Mars Rover mission will be held at the Doubletree Hotel, Arcadia, CA, on August 4-6, 2015. Workshop logistics and a request for registration can be found at: The format will include oral presentations and general discussion of previously and newly proposed candidate landing sites. We are soliciting presentations on the science merits of the candidate landing sites for the Mars 2020 mission. Each site will be represented by a single speaker or science spokesperson at the workshop. Presentations are also solicited on the surface characteristics of the landing sites and how well they conform to the engineering requirements.

Descriptions of the 2020 mission and a summary of NASA's Mars exploration strategy are found at:,,, and

The primary goal of the second workshop will be to evaluate the ~30 candidate landing sites that emerged from the first workshop as well as any new sites proposed within the framework provided by existing data for Mars (e.g., MRO), the science requirements of the 2020 mission, and a better understanding of the 2020 engineering requirements and traversability of the landing sites relative to these requirements. Science potential of candidate sites should be described using defined Regions of Interest (ROIs) in and near the landing site that describe science targets for exploration by the rover. Presenters at the workshop must make a comprehensive, persuasive talk on why a site is the right one for the 2020 mission and payload, including how the science objectives of the mission can be accomplished and (where possible) an assessment of how the surface characteristics meet the engineering criteria so that each site can be comprehensively and fairly assessed.

Each candidate site must meet the nominal mission engineering requirements that can be reviewed at: The 2020 project science group has adopted a set of science criteria for the 2020 landing site that should be considered in developing the science potential of candidate sites. This rubric is posted at: and proposers will be required to evaluate their site relative to the rubric as a part of their presentation. The scientific factors that motivate the rubric will be made available in the next announcement and will be used at the workshop to summarize the relative science merits of the candidate sites for ranking. The 2020 project has also recognized the need for a strategy to ensure that the science value of the landing site is not unnecessarily compromised when faced with late-breaking changes to EDL (e.g., Terrain Relative Navigation) and in rover surface performance relative to mission lifetime (e.g., Land On vs. Go To sites). Hence, the 2020 project is working on how changing access to the site at landing and mobility requirements may impact the ability to reach ROIs and therefore the science priority of the sites.

Persons wishing to make a presentation at the workshop should submit the title of their talk to John Grant ( and Matt Golombek ( by July 20th, 2015. If a candidate landing site receives multiple requests for presentations, site proposers will be asked to coordinate content and identify a single speaker. The workshop program will be distributed in the third announcement on July 27th, 2015.We expect the list of sites under consideration to be narrowed to approximately 8 at the end of the second workshop. These sites will then be considered in more detail by the 2020 Project, Mars Program, and the Science Community to further assess how they meet engineering constraints and science criteria. We will be using Adobe Connect again to webcast this workshop, as was done for the 1st 2020 LS Workshop (information to be provided in the 3rd announcement). Future workshops are planned that would further narrow the list of sites under consideration.

All members of the scientific community are encouraged to participate in the Mars 2020 site selection process, as input from the science community is critical to identification of optimal landing sites for the mission. We look forward to your continued involvement in these activities!

John Grant and Matt Golombek
Co-Chairs, Mars Landing Site Steering Committee


Landing Site Workshop: John Grant (, Matthew Golombek (