Welcome to the official website for scientific community support of landing site selection for the Mars 2020 Rover Mission. Information provided here 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 workshops and subsequent imaging.

The fourth and final landing site workshop for the Mars 2020 rover mission will occur October 16-18, 2018 at the Hilton Los Angeles North/Glendale in Glendale, CA. On-line Registration is available through Friday, October 5. Workshop logistics and further information are available on the 4th Workshop (2018) web page. Additional details related to the workshop, such as webcast information and the workshop program, will also be posted to this site in advance of the workshop.

The workshop format will include oral presentations and discussion related to the science potential of the remaining candidate landing sites: Columbia Hills, Jezero Crater, and NE Syrtis, including an additional landing ellipse within the NE Syrtis region dubbed “Midway.” Midway is located closer to Jezero crater than the original NE Syrtis ellipse and is being proposed as a site by the Mars 2020 Science Team that might enable achieving the science objectives of the mission by accessing Regions of Interest (ROIs) relevant to both Jezero crater and NE Syrtis.

Information about the Development of the Midway Ellipse can be found on the 4th workshop webpage.

Table 1. Remaining Candidate Landing Sites for Mars 2020 Mission. Ellipse center point, elevation and ellipse size with the long axis oriented east-west.

Location Lat (degN) Long (degE) Approx MOLA
Elevation (km)
Approx Buffered
Ellipse Axes (km)
Columbia Hills -14.5711 175.4374 -1.9 9 x 8
Jezero 18.4463 77.4565 -2.6 9 x 8
Midway 18.2747 77.0480 -2.0 9 x 8
NE Syrtis 17.8899 77.1599 -2.0 9 x 8

Presentations focusing on unique/new science content, increasing confidence in the interpretations of the science potential of the sites, and/or detailing potential extended mission targets are encouraged. Overview talks related to the sites and topics that have been discussed at prior workshops are discouraged. The Mars 2020 Project will provide detailed mission scenarios for each site that includes discussion of potential exploration targets, observations, and sampling strategies relative to mission goals and important Mars science described in the 2013-2022 Planetary Science Decadal Survey.

Persons wishing to make a presentation (focused as described above) at the workshop should submit the title of their talk to John Grant (grantj@si.edu) and Matt Golombek (mgolombek@jpl.nasa.gov) by September 15th, 2018. Depending on the number and topics submitted, we may consolidate some presentations or parts thereof to ensure that unique, new science content can be presented with minimal repetition, thereby maximizing time for productive discussion of the sites. The workshop program will be distributed in a third announcement that will be posted on this web site shortly before the workshop.

Workshop attendees will be asked to review the new material presented, including the extensive work by the 2020 project on regions of interest in and near each site. Presenters and attendees should discuss, for example, where data are correctly or incorrectly interpreted or ambiguous and where arguments are weak or strong with regard to science criteria adopted by the 2020 Project Science Group. Results, including any community consensus on the merits of each site, will be factored into subsequent deliberations that will conclude with the Mars 2020 Project recommendation of the landing site to NASA Headquarters.

Additional information on the science of the final candidate sites, including prior science presentations related to these and other candidate 2020 landing sites, and information on how the 2020 engineering constraints map to the previously considered eight candidate sites can be found on this site by using the tabs to the left.

Additional information regarding landing site selection and engineering assessments are posted to the 4th workshop webpage.

Descriptions of the 2020 mission and a summary of NASA’s Mars exploration strategy can be found on this website and also at: 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!


Landing Site Workshop: John Grant (grantj@si.edu), Matthew Golombek (mgolombek@jpl.nasa.gov)