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Acta Astronaut. 2000 Jul-Nov;47(2-9):535-45.

Mars scientific investigations as a precursor for human exploration.

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Life Sciences Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, USA.


In the past two years, NASA has begun to develop and implement plans for investigations on robotic Mars missions which are focused toward returning data critical for planning human missions to Mars. The Mars Surveyor Program 2001 Orbiter and Lander missions will mark the first time that experiments dedicated to preparation for human exploration will be carried out. Investigations on these missions and future missions range from characterization of the physical and chemical environment of Mars, to predicting the response of biology to the Mars environment. Planning for such missions must take into account existing data from previous Mars missions which were not necessarily focused on human exploration preparation. At the same time, plans for near term missions by the international community must be considered to avoid duplication of effort. This paper reviews data requirements for human exploration and applicability of existing data. It will also describe current plans for investigations and place them within the context of related international activities.

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