Information Required for Landing Sites

In order to review, evaluate, and obtain information on potential new landing sites, certain standard information will be needed.

Evaluation of the Science Criteria

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 document is linked below, and is discussed in the Second Announcement for the 2nd 2020 Mars Rover Landing Site Workshop

A rubric for evaluation of the science criteria within a candidate 2020 landing site


Request for Regions of Interest for Mars 2020 Landing Sites:

The Mars 2020 Rover project is interested in understanding how far and over what terrain the rover must traverse at a prospective landing site in order to visit a sufficient number and diversity of Regions of Interest (ROIs) to fulfill the science objectives at that site. This is important for assessing the trafficability, safety and operability of each site. To this end the Mars 2020 Rover Project is interested in identifying scientific ROIs at prospective landing sites that expose materials necessary to fulfill the specific objectives of mission. These locations are expected to be the focus of surface science investigations and for selection of samples for placement in the returnable cache. The expected constraints on mobility, time for science operations, and time for caching lead to the concept of an ROI that includes a critical section of stratigraphy or where several key geologic units are exposed in close proximity (e.g., Yellowknife Bay in Gale crater) and could yield 5-10 cachable samples.

The project is interested in identifying locations of ROIs within prospective landing ellipses as well as in “Go To” regions and proposers of Mars 2020 landing sites are in the best position to identify them. Depending on the exact landing location, the mission might more efficiently meet science objectives by traversing to nearby ROIs outside of the ellipse.

Information requested includes:

  1. An electronic map or image(s) that shows the locations of each ROI and the landing ellipse. The landing ellipse should be 16 km by 14 km, oriented east-west, with the center latitude and longitude provided.
  2. A table that describes each scientific ROI: materials or feature of interest, how each ROI helps to fulfill the objectives of the M2020 mission, and its relative priority.
    • In cases where outcrops, stratigraphic sections, or specific materials of interest are exposed over large regions, they may be considered as one large ROI and their areal extent should be shown on the map or image.

For each landing site presented at the May 2014 Mars 2020 Rover landing site workshop, we are interested in one communication from site proposers that represents the group’s consensus. The communication can be provided in a variety of formats to convey the information, but should be complete enough so it can be posted on the M2020 landing site website http://marsnext.jpl.nasa.gov and can refer to presentations posted there as appropriate.

Any new site that is being considered for presentation at the Second Mars 2020 Rover Landing Site Workshop scheduled for August 4-6, 2015 in the Pasadena area should provide this information as part of the presentation package. Information packages should be sent to M. Golombek and J. Grant. This information is most useful to the project if received by January 2015, but earlier responses would be appreciated.


Landing Ellipse:

A visual image or map showing the landing site is required. Figure 2 shows an example of a THEMIS daytime thermal image. The image background could be any easily obtainable image such as MOLA shaded relief, HRSC, CTX or other image base. The ellipse must be shown on the map, with the ellipse size and the center latitude and longitude provided (preferably in MOLA planetocentric coordinates). Areas of science interest in and around the ellipse should also be designated on the image. Also a table (Table 1) that includes the name of the site, the ellipse center coordinates, site elevation, ellipse size, the prime science and/or sampling targets, and the distance and priority of the prime science targets from the center of the ellipse.

Figure 2: Example 25 km by 20 km ellipse on THEMIS daytime thermal image at Jezero crater. The ellipse is cen-tered at 18.36°N, 77.59°E at an elevation of -2.66 km with respect to the geoid in MOLA planetocentric coordi-nates. The prime science targets are phyllosilicates within a delta just to the northwest of the ellipse. The footprints of existing HiRISE, HiRISE stereo, CRISM (in purple), and MOC images are shown. In green are the requested HiRISE image (rectangle) and CRISM image (one half hourglass shape) centered at 18.5937°N, 77.2617°E and 18.5820°N, 77.2080°E, respectively, on the inlet channel for the delta. Figure 2: Example 25 km by 20 km ellipse on THEMIS daytime thermal image at Jezero crater. The ellipse is cen-tered at 18.36°N, 77.59°E at an elevation of -2.66 km with respect to the geoid in MOLA planetocentric coordi-nates. The prime science targets are phyllosilicates within a delta just to the northwest of the ellipse. The footprints of existing HiRISE, HiRISE stereo, CRISM (in purple), and MOC images are shown. In green are the requested HiRISE image (rectangle) and CRISM image (one half hourglass shape) centered at 18.5937°N, 77.2617°E and 18.5820°N, 77.2080°E, respectively, on the inlet channel for the delta.

The location of any existing high-resolution data (e.g., MOC; MRO HiRISE, CTX and CRISM) in or near the ellipse should also be indicated (Figure 1) to support the acquisition of additional remote sensing data. If additional images would improve understanding of the science or safety of the site, their location should also be shown in priority order, with due consideration given to typical image sizes. In general, the surface of any proposed landing site must appear smooth and flat throughout the ellipse in available images and topographic maps. While we do not expect detailed analysis of potential hazards in the ellipse by site proposers, we would like to be made aware of any potential hazards known to be present. We are interested in knowing if the landing site requires enhanced EDL capabilities, like TRN and if the landing site location might change with TRN (e.g., from “go to” to “land on” site).

Table 1: Example table required for any landing site proposed.

Site Name

Ares

Center Coordinates
Latitude, longitude

XX°N or XX°S, YY°E

Elevation

XX.X km wrt MOLA
geoid

Prime Science and/or Sampling Targets

e.g., Smectites [Highest Priority],
Layered materials,
Channels [Lowest Priority]

Distance of Science and/or Sampling Targets from Ellipse Center

Smectites – 13 km to W
Layers – 8 km to NW
Channels – 3 km to E


Rationale for Landing Site:

A description of how the proposed landing site potentially satisfies the science objectives of the 2020 Mars Rover should be provided at the workshop. Comments could include discussion (as is possible) of the targeted materials or context (e.g., multiple rock units present or expected of diverse morphology and mineralogy that display systematic trends and clear stratigraphy and cross-cutting relations). Context could include the expected geologic framework and chronology of the site and whether it will likely enable placement of surface observations into regional context (geologic context). Any mineralogical, volatile, or geomorphic evidence important for the interpretation should be included. Information supporting the key interpretations of the site should be included.
If images are requested, describe in enough detail at the workshop how the proposed images would improve the definition of the science that could be addressed at the landing site. Describe how the images to be acquired would improve the understanding of the geologic setting, history and environment of the landing site.

References:
Christensen, P.R., et al., 2001, Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer experiment: Investigation description and surface science results. J. Geophys. Res. 106, 23823–23871.
Golombek, M., et al., 2012, Selection of the Mars Science Laboratory landing site, Space Science Reviews, 170, 641-737, DOI: 10.1007/s11214-012-9916-y.
Mustard, J.F. (chair), M. Adler, A. Allwood, D.S. Bass, D.W. Beaty, J.F. Bell III, W.B. Brinckerhoff, M. Carr, D.J. Des Marais, B. Drake, K.S. Edgett, J. Eigenbrode, L.T. Elkins-Tanton, J.A. Grant, S.M. Milkovich, D. Ming, C. Moore, S. Murchie, T.C. Onstott, S.W. Ruff, M.A. Sephton, A. Steele, A. Treiman, 2013, Report of the Mars 2020 Science Definition Team, 154 pp., posted July 2013 by the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) at http://mepag.jpl.nasa.gov/reports/MEP/Mars_2020_SDT_Report_Final.pdf
NASA AO, Announcement of Opportunity for Mars 2020 Investigations,  http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/summary.do?method=init&solId={C49E4810-6DE9-9509-E896-EBC006101A9E}&path=open'

 

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