Mars Science Laboratory

Currently planned for 2009, the Mars Science Laboratory is a large, long-range rover equipped with a sophisticated and diverse payload. MSL is also due to use a new 'sky crane' landing technique, landing on its own wheels rather than encased in a lander platform.

Déployable arm

Figure 18.14 Phoenix.

Target Mars

Objectives Biological objectives:

• Determine the nature and inventory of organic carbon compounds

• Inventory the chemical building blocks of life (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, and sulfur)

• Identify features that may represent the effects of biological processes

Geological and geochemical objectives:

• Investigate the chemical, isotopic, and mineralogical composition of the Martian surface and near-surface geological materials

• Interpret the processes that have formed and modified rocks and soils

Planetary process objectives:

• Assess long-timescale (i.e., 4-billion-year) atmospheric evolution processes

• Determine present state, distribution, and cycling of water and carbon dioxide

Surface radiation objective:

• Characterize the broad spectrum of surface radiation, including galactic cosmic radiation, solar proton events, and secondary neutrons

ETR, Atlas 5 Autumn 2009 October 2010

To be determined. Landing ellipse 20-40 km in length,

3-5 times smaller than previous missions Nominal lifetime of 1 Martian year Launch mass —2800 kg. Rover mass —775 kg

• ChemCam: laser induced remote sensing for chemistry and micro-imaging (Wiens)

• MAHLI: Mars handlens imager for the Mars Science Laboratory (Edgett)

• APXS alpha-particle-X-ray spectrometer (Gellert)

• CheMin: an X-ray diffraction/X-ray fluorescence (XRD/XRF) instrument for definitive mineralogical analysis in the MSL Analytical Laboratory (Blake)

• RAD radiation assessment detector (Hassler)

• Mars descent imager (Malin)

• SAM: sample analysis at Mars with an integrated suite consisting of a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer, and a tunable laser spectrometer (Mahaffy)

• Meteorological package (Spanish Ministry of Education and Science)

Prime contractor Launch site, vehicle Launch date Arrival date Landing site co-ordinates End(s) of mission(s) Mass(es)

Payload experiments

• UV sensor (Spanish Ministry of Education and Science)

• Pulsed neutron source & detector (Roskosmos)

Delivery architecture Thermal aspects Power aspects Communications architecture EDL architecture

Landing speed(s) Active operations

(deployments, etc.) Key references

Separation from cruise stage on approach Details not yet available Secondary battery with RTG or solar arrays Two-way relay via orbiters

Despin and cruise balance mass jettison. Precision landing techniques, by means of lifting body, guided entry, parachute descent, separation of parachute/backshell assembly, then 'skycrane' technique, lowering the rover on a tether from the retro assembly Not yet available

Rover operations (range 5-20 km over 1 Martian year), robotic arm operations http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/

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