A new report from NASA suggests that the agency prioritize bringing samples back from Mars to Earth for study. NASA will not make a specific plan for how they'll achieve this goal until after the president releases his 2014 budget in February.
The next steps in NASA's Mars exploration strategy should build toward returning Martian rocks and dirt to Earth to search for signs of past life, a new report by the space agency's Red Planet planning group finds.
The report, released today (Sept. 25) by the Mars Program Planning Group (MPPG), lays out a series of options that NASA could employ to get pieces of the Red Planet in scientists' hands here on Earth. The space agency is now mulling those options and could announce its chosen path by early next year, when the White House releases its proposed budget for fiscal year 2014.
"The first public release of what plans, you know, we definitively have would not be until the president presents that budget to Congress in February of 2013," John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, told reporters today.
NASA put together the MPPG this past March to help restructure its Mars strategy in the wake of cuts to the space agency's robotic exploration program.
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