Monday, June 05, 2006

Top 30 landing sites decided

After a 3 day meeting at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, 120 scientists ranked the top 30 contenders for possible landing sites for the 2009 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. The rover and landing technology has advanced recently, meaning that it is hoped to be able to land the rover within 20km of any targeted landing site. Some of the areas shortlisted are the Nili Fossae (interpreted as a complex of grabens and fractures related to the formation of the Isidis impact basin) which might have water deposited clays. Another potential site for the new rover is Candor Chasma, which rises three kilometers above surface levels.