NASA has selected 28 scientists for participation in the
2003 Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission. The mission
consists of two separate, though identical, rovers scheduled
for launch in mid-2003 and arrival at separate destinations
on Mars in early 2004.

The selected proposals were judged to have the best science
value among 84 proposals submitted to NASA last December in
response to the Mars Exploration Rover Announcement of
Opportunity. Each selected investigation will work with the
MER Program Office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL),
Pasadena, Calif., and will become full MER science-team
members, joining previously selected scientists as part of
the Athena science team.

“The breadth, scope, and creativity of the scientists
selected is very encouraging,” said Dr. Ed Weiler, NASA
Associate Administrator for Space Science, Headquarters,
Washington. “By directly participating in NASA’s next mission
to the surface of Mars, they will help bring us closer to the
long-term objective of our Mars Exploration Program —
understanding Mars as a planet and determining whether life
ever existed there.”

The MER mission science objectives include: (1) study rocks
and soils for clues to past water activity; (2) investigate
landing sites that have a high probability of containing
evidence of the action of liquid water; (3) determine the
distribution and composition of minerals, rocks and soils
surrounding the landing sites; (4) determine the nature of
local surface geologic processes; (5) calibrate and validate
data from orbiting missions at each landing site; and (6)
study the geologic processes for clues about the
environmental conditions that existed when liquid water was
present, and whether those environments were conducive for
life.

The selected investigators are:

  • Johannes Brueckner; Max Planck Institut fur Chemie, Mainz,
    Germany; Investigation of elemental composition of Martian
    soils and their relationship to global surface chemistry

  • Nathalie A. Cabrol; SETI Institute, Moffett Field, Calif.;
    Aqueous Sedimentary Processes at the MER sites

  • Wendy M. Calvin; University of Nevada, Reno; Mini-TES
    investigation for surface mineralogy and surface/orbit
    constraints on TES

  • Benton C. Clark; Lockheed Martin Corporation, Littleton,
    Colo.; Chemical Alteration Processes on Mars: Investigations
    and Implications

  • Larry S. Crumpler; New Mexico Museum of Natural History and
    Science, Albuquerque; Field Geology and Micro-surface
    Characteristics at MER Investigation Sites

  • Jack D. Farmer; Arizona State University, Tempe; Integrated
    Studies of Surface Geology and Mineralogy to Explore for Past
    Aqueous Environments

  • William H. Farrand; Space Science Institute, Boulder,
    Colo.; Major and Minor Components of the Surface Layer of
    Mars: An Investigation Using the MER Pancam and Mini-TES

  • William M. Folkner; JPL; Measurement of Mars Rotation
    Changes with the Mars Exploration Rovers

  • Matthew P. Golombek; JPL; Directing Long Range Rover
    Traverses using Orbital Surface Predictions and MER Ground
    Truth

  • John A. Grant; Smithsonian Institution, Washington;
    Constraining the Geologic Setting and Evolution of the MER
    Landing Site(s)

  • Ronald Greeley; Arizona State University, Tempe; Mars
    Exploration Rover: Study of Aeolian Features and Processes

  • John P. Grotzinger; Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
    Cambridge; Geological Analysis of Martian Sediments and
    Sedimentary Rocks

  • Stubbe Hviid; Max Planck Institut fur Aeronomie,
    Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany; Investigation of the production
    and composition of Martian soils and dust and their effect
    upon the Martian atmosphere

  • Jeffrey R. Johnson; U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff,
    Ariz.; Spectrophotometric Observations of Surface Materials
    at the MER Landing Sites

  • Geoffrey A. Landis; Ohio Aerospace Institute, Cleveland;
    Study of Solar Energy and Dust Accumulation on MER

  • Mark T. Lemmon; Texas A & M University, College Station;
    Investigation of the properties of Martian atmospheric dust
    and its effect on the illumination of the Martian surface

  • Rongxing Li; Ohio State University, Columbus; Surface
    Image-based High-precision Near Real-time Landing Site
    Mapping and Long-range Rover Localization for MER 2003
    mission

  • Scott M. McLennan; State University of New York, Stony
    Brook; Sedimentary Petrology at the MER Sites

  • Douglas W. Ming; NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston;
    Identification and Processes of Formation for
    Phyllosilicates, Sulfates, and Other Chemical Weathering
    Products on Mars

  • Jeffrey E. Moersch; University of Tennessee, Knoxville; A
    Search for Aqueous Minerals with the Mars Exploration Rover
    Mini-TES Experiment

  • Timothy J. Parker; JPL; Sedimentary Stratigraphy and
    Geomorphology of the MER A and B Landing Sites

  • James W. Rice; Arizona State University, Tempe; MER
    Geomorphic and Sedimentological Investigations

  • Lutz Richter; DLR Institut fur Raumsimulation, Koln,
    Germany; Mars Soil Mechanics Investigations Using MER Rover
    Locomotion System Engineering Data

  • Michael D. Smith; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center,
    Greenbelt, Md.; Retrieval of Atmospheric Properties using
    mini-TES spectra

  • Peter H. Smith; University of Arizona, Tucson; The dust
    cycle monitored from MER

  • Robert Sullivan; Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; Physical
    and Mechanical Properties of Martian Soils Along MER
    Traverses

  • Michael J. Wolff; Space Science Institute, Martinez, Ga.;
    Aerosol Studies and the Boundary Layer: Things are Looking Up

  • Albert S. Yen; JPL; Soil Formation without Liquid Water: An
    Assessment of the Meteoritic Contribution to the Martian
    Surface