Doug McCuistion, director of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, said the Mars Program Planning Group, established by the space agency to develop options for future martian exploration, will deliver its final report in August, Space Politics reports.
The report will be delivered to NASA in “viewgraph” form this month and released to the public sometime thereafter, McCuistion said. “We are putting together a schedule for when we go public,” he said.
NASA established the group after the administration of President Barack Obama terminated U.S. participation in the European ExoMars program, and it has been evaluating mission options for launch in 2018 and 2020. McCuistion said “a rover is the next logical step” after the Mars Science Laboratory mission, which is set to arrive at the red planet in a few days, but a “thin” 2018 budget “probably can’t support a rover or a lander.”