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Acta Astronaut. 2002 Jul-Nov;51(1-9):337-50.

Following the water, the new program for Mars exploration.

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NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000, USA.


In the wake of the loss of Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander in late 1999, NASA embarked on a major review of the failures and subsequently restructured all aspects of what was then called the Mars Surveyor Program--now renamed the Mars Exploration Program. This paper presents the process and results of this reexamination and defines a new approach which we have called "Program System Engineering". Emphasis is given to the scientific, technological, and programmatic strategies that were used to shape the new Program. A scientific approach known as "follow the water" is described, as is an exploration strategy we have called "seek--in situ--sample". An overview of the mission queue from continuing Mars Global Surveyor through a possible Mars Sample Return Mission launch in 2011 is provided. In addition, key proposed international collaborations, especially those between NASA, CNES and ASI are outlined, as is an approach for a robust telecommunications infrastructure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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