Mars or Bust! Scientists Flood NASA With 400 Ideas to Explore Red Planet
Date: 25 May 2012 Time: 03:47 PM ET
A photo of Mars from NASA's Viking spacecraft, which launched in 1975.
CREDIT: The Viking Project/NASA
Scientists have responded in a big way to NASA's call to help reformulate its Mars robotic exploration strategy, submitting about 400 ideas and Red Planet mission concepts to the space agency.
NASA's Mars program suffered deep cuts in President Barack Obama's proposed 2013 budget, which was released in February. In response, NASA pulled out of the European-led ExoMars mission, which aims to launch an orbiter and a rover to the Red Planet in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
The agency also undertook a broad rethink of its Mars strategy, to figure out how best to explore the Red Planet with reduced funding. NASA asked the scientific community for ideas and was expecting to get about 200 proposals at its recent Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration Workshop in Houston, officials said.
Instead, twice that many submissions poured in from individuals and teams that included professional researchers, undergraduate and graduate students, NASA centers, federal laboratories, industry and
international partner organizations. [7 Biggest Mysteries of Mars]
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