Cost overruns on a major rover mission and proposals for both sample return missions and a new orbiter are straining NASA’s Mars exploration program and threatening the future of two ongoing missions.
While NASA’s overall planetary sciences program is enjoying record funding levels, the agency is grappling with cost growth in two of its largest missions.
NASA has done a good job implementing the recommendations of its latest planetary science decadal survey despite past budget problems, but needs to improve some programs, a recent report concluded.
NASA’s approaches to planetary protection are outdated in an era of more ambitious missions and emergence of private space exploration ventures and thus need to be revised, a new report concludes.
NASA is expected to make a decision later this month on whether to include a small helicopter as a technology demonstration on the Mars 2020 rover despite concerns by scientists that it might distract from the rover’s science mission.
NASA’s cost and performance on major programs has “deteriorated” significantly in the last year according to a report May 1 by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
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.