2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM


MEYER, Michael A., Mars Explroation Program, NASA Headquarters, Washinton, DC 20546, mmeyer@hq.nasa.gov

Mars has proven to be a surprising world gradually revealing a planet of diverse minerals, of impressive periodic climate change, and of potential habitats for past or present life. This cryptic target poses the challenges and the potential for finding evidence for life outside Earth.

To this end, NASA has fostered research at sites analogous to Mars to expand our catalogue of the myriad of potential biosignatures, to enable relevant instrument development, to develop robust instruments and technologies, and to improve search operations and strategies. The Program, Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets (ASTEP) embodies the concept of robotically-driven exploration in extreme environments as a means to a planetary end of capable and relevant planetary exploration. Feeding ASTEP (and missions) are instrument development programs covering the range of technological readiness levels 1- 6 and are: Planetary Instrument Definition and Development Program (PIDDP), Mars Instrument Development Program (MIDP), and Astrobiology Science and Technology Instrument Development (ASTID) Program. Current Mars analogue research activities and implications will be discussed.