NASA Advised to Revamp Mars Plans

NASA needs to rethink its Mars exploration plans after 2010 given new understandings about the red planet and likely funding levels in the coming years, according to a report just out from a panel of outside experts. By adding to a reworked mix of future missions—for example, a geophysical/meteorological network as well as a sample return mission—the space agency would garner a greater scientific impact at Mars, the panel concludes. Moreover, the space agency must fortify its ability to analyze the data streaming in from Mars. That research can help flesh out a safe and scientifically productive role for humans on Mars.