With few new missions in development, NASA's Mars Exploration Program is shifting towards operations of ongoing missions as well as technology development to support an eventual sample return effort.
With time running out to start work on a 2022 Mars orbiter, a NASA official said July 10 the agency plans to have a “coherent Mars architecture” for future robotic Mars missions ready for presentation an at August committee meeting.
The agency said it will consider Mawrth Vallis, an area that once likely had liquid water, along with Oxia Planum.
A report released Jan. 30 by NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) identified several issues with the agency’s Mars 2020 rover mission that could delay its launch.
As NASA’s next flagship Mars mission, the Mars 2020 rover, moves into its next phase of development, agency officials say the mission will cost $2.1 billion, more than originally estimated for a mission that they argue will also be more capable than first planned.