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NASA’s goals for Mars exploration – a correction October 14, 2010

Posted by Simon in Uncategorized.
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Just a quick update to something I mentioned in my class presentation on Wednesday. I said that NASA’s aims for Mars exploration focused on finding water and environments that would be (or would have been) suitable for life, rather than finding evidence of life itself. I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t completely correct (!).

Here is the agenda and associated presentations for a recent workshop to discuss possible landing sites for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), a new Mars rover to be launched next year. There is more discussion about direct detection of life than I had thought. One of the sections of the workshop is “Habitability and Biosignatures”, and there are a number of talks that address the issue of how MSL could find evidence of biology on Mars. Talks such as “Optimizing exploration for organic biosignatures” and “Preservation of Evidence of Ancient Environments and Life on Mars” suggest that NASA isn’t as cautious about setting the goal of detecting life as I had suggested.

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