Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Fourth MSL Landing Site Workshop: Day 3: Final discussion

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

02-10-2010 22:39 CDT


Ryan Anderson has summarized the final afternoon of the fourth MSL Landing Site Community Meeting, and it appears it was a good decision for me not to stay! None of the four sites got "voted off the island;" instead, hours were spent debating word choices in an attempt to state hypotheses for each site. This was probably a worthwhile activity, but not necessarily worthwhile for 200 scientists to participate in. (During a quiet moment in the first morning of the meeting, Lou Friedman, sitting next to me, was busying himself doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation on the economic cost of this three-day meeting, and it wasn't pretty.) But it's done. There are hypotheses to test, and a general sense, Ryan reports, of the relative rankings of the sites. From most to least favored, they are: Eberswalde, Mawrth, Gale, Holden. As for himself, he'd reverse the two middle ones.

I am not exactly sure what will happen next. There is still one more of these community meetings; a decision will be sent to NASA HQ in the spring. My gut tells me that the MSL mission would very badly like to downselect to a smaller number of possible landing sites sooner rather than later, so that they can focus their planning and modeling efforts on fewer locations. This workshop didn't exactly provide them an easy excuse to toss any of the four sites out, however.

One Mars year remains until landing, and just over one Earth year until launch. Tick tick tick.

Mars Science Laboratory


Mars Science Laboratory

See other posts from October 2010


Or read more blog entries about:


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Planetary Defense

An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.


Featured Images

SpaceX CRS-8 landed booster
SES-10 static test fire
More Images

Featured Video

Class 9: Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!