Scouting The Red Planet SpaceDaily

America’s revised program for Mars exploration is now taking firm shape – a program which, in the opinion of every scientific group that has reviewed it, is infinitely better than the plan that existed before the twin disasters of the 1998 Mars missions. That earlier scheme was a wildly over optimistic, underfunded rush to a Mars sample return attempt in 2005, which would have probably collapsed through its sheer implausibility even if the 1998 missions had been totally successful. The revised program is now well defined through 2005 – consisting of two fairly long-range, sophisticated rovers in 2003, and an orbiter in 2005 equipped with an extremely high-powered telescopic camera (among other instruments) and capable of transmitting data back to Earth 12 times faster that Mars Global Surveyor now in Mars orbit can do. Beyond, 2005, however, the program remains flexible while funding positions are more established.