[meteorite-list] Call for ExoMars 2018 Landing Site Selection

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2013 09:16:16 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <201312181716.rBIHGG69016361_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Call for ExoMars 2018 Landing Site Selection
European Space Agency
17 Dec 2013

The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Space Research Institute of the
Russian Academy of Sciences (IKI) [on behalf of the Russian Federal Space
Agency (Roscosmos)] invite the scientific community to propose candidate
landing sites for the ExoMars 2018 mission.

The ExoMars Landing Site Selection Working Group (LSSWG) will support
ESA and Roscosmos in evaluating the proposals received, consulting with
the wider scientific community, and identifying candidate site(s) for
more detailed studies. The LSSWG will then formulate a recommendation
to ESA and Roscosmos for the mission's landing site(s).


The ExoMars Programme's scientific objectives are:

        * To search for signs of past and present life on Mars;
        * To investigate the water/geochemical environment as a function of depth
in the shallow subsurface;
        * To study martian atmospheric trace gases and their sources;
        * To characterise the surface environment.

The 2018 mission includes two science elements: a Rover and a Surface
Platform. The ExoMars Rover will carry a comprehensive suite of instruments
dedicated to geology and exobiology research named after Louis Pasteur.
The Rover will be able to travel several kilometres searching for traces
of past and present signs of life. It will do this by collecting and analysing
samples from outcrops, and from the subsurface - down to 2-m depth. The
very powerful combination of mobility with the ability to access locations
where organic molecules can be well preserved is unique to this mission.
After the Rover will have egressed, the ExoMars Surface Platform will
begin its science mission to study the surface environment at the landing

>From a science point of view, a landing site satisfying the Rover mission's
search-for-life requirements is expected to be also interesting for the
Surface Platform.

For the ExoMars Rover to achieve results regarding the possible existence
of signs of life, the mission has to land in a scientifically appropriate

        * The site must be ancient (older than 3.6 Ga) - from Mars' early, habitable
period: Pre- to late-Noachian (Phyllosian), possibly extending into the
        * The site must show abundant morphological and mineralogical evidence
for long-duration, or frequently reoccurring, aqueous activity;
        * The site must include numerous sedimentary rock outcrops;
        * The outcrops must be distributed over the landing ellipse to ensure
that the rover can get to some of them (typical rover traverse range is
a few km);
        * The site must have little dust coverage.


The response to this Call will be in the form of a Landing Site Proposal,
not longer than six pages (A4 format, 11-pt character size), which must
be compiled using the ExoMars 2018 Landing Site Proposal Guide & Template,
following the instructions included therein.


Call for ExoMars 2018 Landing Site Proposals (pdf file; 168 kB)

ExoMars 2018 Landing Site Proposal Guide & Template (pdf file; 840 kB))

ExoMars 2018 Landing Site Selection User's manual (pdf file; 2 MB)


The proposals, in PDF format (file size limit 35 MB), shall be submitted
to the following e-mail address:

exomars_landing at rssd.esa.int

and must be received within Friday, 28 February 2014 (12:00 CET-noon).


This Call is open to the international Mars science community.

The members of the Landing Site Selection Working Group (LSSWG) cannot
propose landing sites or be part of landing site proposals.

This table presents a tentative schedule for the entire Landing Site Selection

Date Activity
17 December 2013
Release of Call for Landing Site Proposals.

28 February 2014 Landing Site Proposals due.
February/March 2014
Screening of candidate Landing Site proposals by LSSWG.

26-28 March 2014
First ExoMars 2018 Landing Site Selection (LSS) science workshop at ESTEC,
the Netherlands.

April / May 2014
LSSWG prioritisation of candidate Landing Sites (based on science, engineering,
and Planetary Protection requirements).

June 2014 Up to four top landing locations identified by LSSWG for further,
more detailed study. Aim to complete prior to PDR closure.
Characterisation work continues. Other science conferences help to further
refine findings. Aim to have at least a site certified by CDR (planned
for September 2016).

October 2017
Final LSSWG recommendation to the Director of Science & Robotic Exploration
and appropriate Russian authorities prior to mission's FAR.
Received on Wed 18 Dec 2013 12:16:16 PM PST

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