KECK INSTITUTE FOR SPACE STUDIES

       

Workshop: Revolutionizing Access to the Martian Surface

March 29 - April 2, 2021
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Workshop Overview:

Mars exploration has progressed to the point that the most pressing scientific questions and needed measurements can only be addressed by missions to the surface. These include compositional and isotopic studies of Mars rock stratigraphies to search for life and decipher drivers of changing habitability, the drilling and study of subsurface ice, and study of active geophysics and near-surface meteorology. 

Historically, many NASA missions have a high per-unit cost because they are one-of-a-kind and push the envelopes in many technical areas simultaneously. However, to enable a cadence of multiple landed missions at Mars, new cost-efficient approaches are required. Multiple craft builds like the earliest NASA missions, successfully echoed with twin Mars rovers in 2004, or innovations driven by the commercial sector may be the answer. Our ability to manufacture and operate fleets of spacecrafts in orbit is improving through increased systems autonomy, reduced launch costs, shrinking instruments and spacecraft size, the emergence of secondary launch opportunities, and the growing role of the commercial sector in scientific space exploration. 

In this workshop, we propose to study how to substantially reduce the cost associated with landed missions to Mars by novel system designs (e.g., for delivery to Mars, entry-descent-landing, landed asset design, operations) and examining cost models, institutional/project management processes, and non-traditional partnerships with industry. We focus on Mars because now is the prime time to consider “what comes next?” during and after Mars sample return and because there are a diverse science questions that can only be addressed in situ. We expect lessons from this study will enable new approaches for in situ exploration across solar system targets (e.g., the Moon, asteroids).

There are three primary goals for the workshop:

  • Goal 1 is to identify the most important measurements related to Decadal survey science questions that require distributed measurements at the Martian surface, and what instruments/platforms/mobility are required to achieve them.
  • Goal 2 is to conceive the mission architecture to access the Martian surface (entry-descent-landing; EDL) and conduct efficient operations of multiple Mars assets.
  • Goal 3 is to identify how/if emerging commercial lunar capabilities can be leveraged to break the mass-cost dependency for Mars surface missions.

We will address all three workshop goals by (a) examining key science questions, (b) reviewing opportunities for improving the technical capability of key planetary explorations systems; (c) examining current Mars operations approaches; and (d) reviewing systems design, build, mission assurance, and costing procedures and how these can change with a commitment to multiple builds and partnerships with commercial vendors.


Monday, March 29, 2021

Welcome, Setting Science Context and Poster Session

Time
Event
Speaker
7:45 - 8:00

Welcome to the workshop! Please get yourself settled into the Think Tank room early to leave plenty of time for unexpected technical hitches (test your mic, grab some coffee or tea), and informally get to know your fellow participants as we all get ready to start at the top of the hour.

8:00 - 9:00

Logistics
Review study vision
Goals and expectations for workshop #1
Participant Introductions (30 seconds each)
Zoom group photo

Michele Judd
Team Lead

9:00 - 9:30

LONG Break - Get up and MOVE for at least 10 minutes ;-) and then meet folks in Gather Town, think about the study's vision

 

9:30 - 10:30

Lightning talks: Mars surface science key questions and measurables (5 mins + 3 min Q & A)

Barbara Cohen, Bethany Ehlmann, Abigail Fraeman, Paul Niles, Laura Kerber, Mark Panning and others TBC
10:30 - 10:45

Organization of breakout session

All
10:45 - 11:00

SHORT Break - Use restroom, refresh yourself and then head to your breakout session

11:00 - 12:15

Breakout Session:
Surface measurements needed to address Mars science

All

12:15 - 1:00

Grab lunch! Hang out in Gather Town with old and new friends if you like or help with your kid's homework, walk the dog - just take care of yourself.

1:00 - 2:00 Poster session (bring your beverage and treat!)

All
2:00 - 5:00

Gather Town remains open for:
- Homework & Research (group / individual activity)
- Setting up informal conversations/collaborations

5:00

Day 1 ends


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Identifying Tallest Technology Tent Poles

Time
Event
Speaker
7:45 - 8:00

Pop into Gather Town, check out the announcement board, meet up with your early time zone colleagues or explore the new rooms in Gather Town.

8:00 - 8:15

Logistics
Overview of day

Michele Judd
Team Lead

8:15 - 8:35

Breakout Session Report Outs

Teams
8:35 - 8:55

Technology context talk: Architecture (15 mins. + 5 min Q&A)

Chad Edwards
8:55 - 9:15

Technology context talk: Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) (15 mins. + 5 min Q&A)

Zach Putnam and other TBC
9:15 - 9:35

Technology context talk: Robotics/Mobility (15 mins. + 5 min Q&A)

Joel Burdick
9:35 - 9:50

Breakout Topic, Discussion and Clarification of Session Deliverables

All

9:50 - 10:20

LONG Break - Get up and MOVE for at least 10 minutes ;-) and then meet folks in Gather Town, think about today's focus area and breakout sessions

10:20 - 12:00 Breakout Sessions: Identifying Tallest Technology Tent Poles

TBD
NOON

Grab lunch! Hang out in Gather Town or do what you need to to stay sane.

1:00 - 1:45

Report outs from Breakout Sessions and follow-on lightning talks

All
1:45 - 2:00 Group Pulse - What is one positive thing you have already achieved? What is one thing you want to achieve by Thursday? All
2:00 - 5:00

Gather Town remains open for:
- Homework & Research (group / individual activity)
- Setting up informal conversations/collaborations

5:00 Day 2 ends

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Opportunities Through Commercial Companies

Time
Event
Speaker
7:45 - 8:00

Pop into Gather Town, check out the announcement board, meet up with your early time zone colleagues or explore the new rooms in Gather Town.

8:00 - 8:10

Logistics
Overview of day

Michele Judd
Team Lead

8:10 - 8:30

Context talk: Commercial and Science Partnership Opportunities (15 mins. + 5 min Q&A)

Elizabeth Frank
8:30 - 9:10

Lightning Talks: Commercial Companies (5 mins. + 3 min Q&A)

Paul Wooster and others TBC
9:10 - 9:20

Breakout Topic, Discussion and Clarification of Session Deliverables

All
9:20 - 9:50

LONG Break - Get up and MOVE for at least 10 minutes ;-) and then meet folks in Gather Town, think about today's focus area and breakout sessions

9:50 - 11:20

Breakout Sessions: Opportunities to address tall tent polls

TBD

11:20 - 11:35

SHORT Break - Use restroom, refresh yourself and then head back to the Think Tank

11:35 - 12:00 Brief report outs from Breakout Sessions

Teams
NOON

Grab lunch! Hang out in Gather Town or do what you need to to stay sane.

1:00 - 2:00

Group Discussion and formation of working groups, discussion of session deliverables, lightning talks or follow-on

All
2:00 - 5:00 Gather Town remains open for:
- Homework & Research (group / individual activity)
- Setting up informal conversations/collaborations
5:00

Day 3 ends


Thursday, April 1, 2021

Putting it all together

Time
Event
Speaker
7:45 - 8:00

Pop into Gather Town, check out the announcement board, meet up with your early time zone colleagues or explore the new rooms in Gather Town.

8:00 - 8:10

Logistics
Overview of day

Michele Judd
Team Lead

8:10 - 9:30

Working Groups meet and make collaboration plan and propose deliverables that need to be done by the next workshop

All
9:30 - 10:00

LONG Break - Get up and MOVE for at least 10 minutes ;-) and then meet folks in Gather Town, think about today's focus area and breakout sessions

10:00 - 10:30

Working Groups report out on plans

All
10:30 - 11:00

Advocacy Plan

All
11:00 - 11:15

SHORT Break - Use restroom, refresh yourself and then head back to the Think Tank

11:15 - 11:30

Brief overview outline of the final report required at end of second workshop

All
11:30 - 11:55 Reflections and conclusions of Workshop 1

All
11:55 - NOON

Workshop closing

Michele Judd
NOON

Day 4 ends with pizza lunch!


Workshop Participants:

  • Sam Albert – University of Colorado Boulder
  • Don Banfield – Cornell University
  • Jon Bapst – JPL
  • Kevin Bonnet – University of Colorado
  • Joel Burdick – Caltech
  • Wendy Calvin – University Nevada – Reno
  • Barbara Cohen – NASA Goddard
  • Tim Crain – Intuitive
  • Chris Culbert – NASA JSC
  • Charles (Chad) Edwards - JPL
  • Bethany Ehlmann – Caltech
  • Giusy Falcone – University of Illinois
  • Abby Fraeman – JPL
  • Elizabeth Frank – First Mode
  • Andrew Horchler – Astrobotic
  • Mark Johnson – Lockheed Martin
  • Brett Kennedy – JPL
  • Laura Kerber – JPL
  • David Masten – Masten Space Systems
  • Larry Matthies – JPL
  • Michelle Munk NASA Langley Research Center
  • David Murrow – Lockheed Martin
  • Paul Niles NASA JSC
  • Mark Panning – JPL
  • Zachary (Zach) Putnam – University of Illinois
  • Eva Scheller – Caltech
  • Nathan Stein – Caltech  
  • Rachel Sheppard - JPL
  • Skylar Wei – Caltech  
  • Ryan Woolley - JPL
  • Paul Wooster – SpaceX