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Past Mars Highlights

    September 2021
    MEPAG VM13 will take place on Monday, September 27th from 10am PDT/1pm EDT > MEPAG Meeting

    February 2021
    What an exciting month for Mars exploration! Three missions successfully arrived at Mars: 1.The United Arab Emirates first interplanetary mission, the Hope probe; 2.China's first interplanetary mission, Tianwen-1; 3.NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover landed successfully in Jezero Crater

    December 2020
    MEPAG VM11 will take place on Wednesday, January 27th, 2021 at 1pm PST/10am EST. > MEPAG Meeting

    November 2020
    The Mars Architecture Strategy Working Group (MASWG) Report has been finalized and is available here > Mars, the Nearest Habitable World

    October 2020
    MEPAG VM10 took place on Tuesday, October 20th at 10am PDT/1pm EDT. The meeting presentations and recording have now been posted here. > MEPAG Meeting

    September 2020
    MEPAG VM10 will take place on Tuesday, October 20th at 10am PDT/1pm EDT. The main agenda topic will be a report of the NASEM Assessment of the Report of NASA’s Planetary Protection Independent Review Board (PPIRB). More information will follow in the 1st Information Circular in late September. > MEPAG Meeting

    August 2020
    MEPAG Chair R. Aileen Yingst gave a presentation to the Planetary Sciences Advisory Committee covering topics including recent MEPAG activities, Mars related white papers for the Planetary Science & Astrobiology Decadal Survey, and recent MEPAG Findings. The slides can be viewed here > MEPAG Report page

    July 2020
    MEPAG VM9 took place June 26, 11:00am-1pm PDT and featured an outbrief from the Mars Architecture Strategy Working Group. Meeting files as well as a recording of the meeting are now available on the website. > MEPAG Meeting

    June 2020
    MEPAG VM9 will take place June 26, 11:00am-1pm PDT. This is in response to concerns about COVID-19 and ongoing travel restrictions. The 2nd Information Circular has been updated and a full agenda has been posted. We hope everyone can still participate! > MEPAG Meeting

    May 2020
    The April MEPAG Meeting (#38) was held virtually from April 15-17. Links to the Meeting Presentations, Recordings, Meeting Summary and Meeting Findings can be found on the > MEPAG Meeting Site

    April 2020
    The MEPAG Goals Committee has incorporated final feedback from the community and has the final version of Mars Science Goals, Objectives, Investigations, and Priorities: 2020 Version is now available. MEPAG Goals Document > MEPAG Report page

    March 2020
    The April MEPAG Meeting (#38) will be a fully virtual meeting - to be held the same days (April 15-17, 8:30am-1pm PDT). This is in response to concerns about COVID-19 and ongoing travel restrictions. The 2nd Information Circular has been updated and a full agenda has been posted. We hope everyone can still participate! > MEPAG Meeting 38 page

    February 2020
    The MEPAG Goals Committee is committed to enabling community feedback on the draft 2020 MEPAG Goals Document. In addition to written feedback via the google form, verbal feedback can be submitted via a telecon with the Goals Committee on Monday, February 10, 8:30-10AM PST. To connect: (or 1-510-210-8882), Meeting# 903 706 819, Meeting password: MEP@G_f33dback > MEPAG Goals Document (2020 draft and 2018)

    December 2019
    The next MEPAG face-to-face meeting will be held April 15-17, 2020 near Washington DC. The exact location is TBD, and the website will be added when the 1st announcement is posted. > Meeting info will be posted here

    October 2019
    The next MEPAG virtual meeting (VM7) will be November 13, 2019, 3-5pm EDT. > VM7 meeting website

    July 2019
    The 37th MEPAG meeting will be held Friday, July 26 (8:15am-1:00pm PDT), following the 9th Mars Conference -- in-person attendees will meet at the Beckman Auditorium at Caltech; the meeting will also be viewable via Zoom. > For more information about MEPAG 37

    July 2019
    The Ninth International Conference on Mars will be held at the Beckman Auditorium, Caltech campus (Pasadena, CA) July 22-25, 2019. All martians are welcome! The program and information for attendees is available. Advance registration can be submitted through July 11. > 9th Mars website

    May 2019
    Dr. R. Aileen Yingst (PSI) has agreed to serve as the next MEPAG Chair. Dr. Yingst will be formally welcomed as the new MEPAG Chair at the next MEPAG virtual meeting (VM5), taking the reins from Dr. Jeffrey R. Johnson, who stepped in as MEPAG Chair in March, 2016 – many thanks for his 3 years of service and extensive work for this community and Committee! > Full listing of MEPAG Committee members

    March 2019
    MEPAG has set up a google doc to facilitate communication within the Mars community about mission concepts that may be submitted to the new NASA Research Announcement, ROSES-18 Amendment 64: New Opportunity in C.30 Planetary Mission Concept Studies. This google doc is intended to help people with complementary interests and expertise connect with each other. Also included is a list of potentially useful reports that describe Mars science objectives and past studies of mission concepts (and additions are welcome). > MEPAG NRA ROSES C30 google doc

    February 2019
    At LPSC 2019 (March 18-22), there are 2 Mars-focused peripheral meetings -- Monday 12-1 is the MEPAG Discussion of Decadal Survey Preparation, and Wednesday 12-1 is the MSR Science Planning: Updates and Community Forum. We hope you will join us! > LPSC Peripheral Meeting Page

    February 2019
    The 4th MEPAG Virtual Meeting (VM4) will be held Monday, February 25, 2019 - starting at 2pm EST. The agenda will include a report from the Ice and Climate Evolution Science Analysis Group, and a starting discussion about MEPAG preparations for the next Planetary Science Decadal Survey. > MEPAG meeting page

    September 2018
    The 3rd MEPAG Virtual Meeting (VM3) will be held Thursday, September 13th, 2018, at 1:00-3:15 pm EDT. The agenda will include reports on the midterm review of the planetary Decadal Survey and the planetary protection policy development process. > VM3 MEPAG meeting page

    April 2018
    MEPAG held its 36th meeting April 3-5, 2018 in Washington DC. The summary and Findings from that meeting are posted. The Findings were also forwarded to the NASA PAC Chair and SMD Planetary Science Director -- that letter is also available. > MEPAG Meeting 36

    April 2018
    Dates for the 4th Landing Site Workshop have been announced! This meeting will be held in Glendale, CA during October 16-18, 2018. The 1st announcement has been posted. The 2nd announcement, including the call for presentations, is expected in the summer. > 4th LSW webpage

    January 2018
    MEPAG is holding two meetings this spring: a virtual meeting (VM1) on February 20 and a face-to-face meeting (36) April 3-5, in Washington DC. The 1st Circular has been posted for both -- and in particular, information about registration, abstract submission for the forum, and Early Career travel grants are included for Meeting 36. > MEPAG Meeting website

    October 2017
    Indications of Interest are requested for MEPAG Committee Membership -- in particular, for membership on the Executive Committee (please submit by December 15, 2017 via the google form linked below). Committee membership is open to qualified U.S. and international MEPAG participants; representation of the diverse membership of the Mars science community is important. > Google form for Indications of Interest

    October 2017
    MEPAG held its 35th meeting virtually on September 25, 2017. The presentations and summary report are now available. > Meeting 35 page

    July 2017
    MEPAG held its 34th meeting virtually on July 10, 2017. Presentations and meeting outcomes, including a summary document, are posted on the meeting page. > MEPAG Meeting 34

    May 2017
    A white paper about the value of Participating Scientist (PS) programs within NASA’s planetary missions is posted. The paper, by LPI Director Louise Prockter & NASA AG representatives, is based on surveys of the planetary science community & mission leadership. PS programs were overwhelmingly supported as they bring increased intellectual & demographic diversity among mission science teams. > Linked to LPI page under Announcements

    February 2017
    MEPAG Chair Jeff Johnson thanks attendees to MEPAG 33 (Feb 22-23, 2017 @Monrovia, CA) -- both those who came and those who attended remotely. Presentations are now posted along with a Meeting Summary. > MEPAG meeting 33 website

    February 2017
    The 3rd Mars 2020 Landing Site Workshop was held February 8-10, 2017, in Monrovia, CA and was very well attended. Excellent presentations focused on the science merits of the eight candidate sites, and discussion sessions were lively and involved. Three sites were selected to continue as landing site candidates: Jezero Crater, NE Syrtis, and Columbia Hills. > Landing Site Workshop webpage

    December 2016
    At MEPAG meeting 32, Jim Watzin requested that MEPAG convene a study to analyze and make recommendations regarding science team organization and operational models for the next Mars Orbiter. The Mars International Collaboration Science Analysis Group (MIC-SAG) now requests community input. MIC-SAG Terms of Reference and membership list can be found in the December newsletter. > To provide your input to MIC-SAG

    October 2016
    A free online JMARS webinar was held Thursday, October 13th from 12-2 p.m. PDT. This webinar was recorded and can be viewed. > JMARS webinar information

    September 2016
    MEPAG meeting #32 will be webcast, Thursday October 6, 8:30-12:30 pm PDT. We hope you can join us! > Meeting information

    September 2016
    Save the Date! The next Mars 2020 Rover Landing Site Workshop (the 3rd) will be Feb. 8-10, 2017, in the Pasadena, CA, USA area. Information, as it becomes available, will be posted on the website. NASA/JPL folk are strongly encouraged to forecast by October 15 to help with planning. > Marsnext website

    June 2016
    What an exciting month for Mars exploration! Three missions successfully arrived at Mars: 1) The United Arab Emirates first interplanetary mission, the Hope probe; 2) China's first interplanetary mission, Tianwen-1; 3) NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover landed successfully in Jezero Crater > Survey

    March 2016
    Jeffrey R. Johnson has been selected as the new MEPAG Chair. Lisa Pratt passed the mantle during MEPAG Meeting 31. Welcome, Jeff! And thank you, Lisa!

    February 2016
    The second announcement and agenda have been posted for the 31st MEPAG meeting, to be held March 2-3, 2016, in Silver Spring, MD. This includes adobe connect for remote attendance and hotel room block information. > MEPAG Meeting Page

    December 2015
    The MEPAG Next Orbiter SAG (NEX-SAG) report is available! This report outlines possible payloads and scopes of a 2022 orbiter, addressing science, resource/SKG, reconnaissance, and relay objectives. > MEPAG SAG reports

    October 2015
    The Critical Data Products website has been updated and now archives papers, conference abstracts, and presentations related to work supported by CDP. > CDP website

    August 2015
    The Mars Exploration Program has issued a Request for Proposal for round X of the Mars Critical Data Products program. This RFP provides support for landing site surface and atmosphere characterization for the Mars 2020 rover mission, for reducing the risk to the Mars 2020 rover mission. Proposals are due Wednesday, October 14. Details of this RFP are posted at: > RFP link

    June 2015
    Lisa Pratt (MEPAG Chair) and Vicky Hamilton (MEPAG Goals Chair) are very pleased to announce that the “Mars Science Goals, Objectives, Investigations, and Priorities: 2015 Version” final document is now posted. We have revised all four Goals’ chapters and also explicitly identified cross-cutting aspects that are not captured within the Four-Goal, tiered structure. Thank you to all who contributed! > MEPAG Goals Document

    April 2015
    The Landing Site Workshop for the Mars 2020 Rover will be held August 4-6, 2015 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Monrovia, CA. A room block has been made available at GSA rate (see for more information). Also, a reminder that this workshop has been designated a conference, so civil servants, JPLers, and those whose travel funds will be run through a NASA center must forecast. > LS Workshop website

    March 2015
    Presentations from the 2015 MEPAG face-to-face meeting are now available for download. > link to MEPAG presentations

    February 2015
    Jim Watzin, the new director for the agency's Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters, will open the 30th MEPAG meeting. > MEPAG Meeting Page

    October 2014
    Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring traveled from the Oort Cloud to Mars, with its closest approach around 2:27 p.m. EDT on Oct 19 -- within 139,500 kilometers. All spacecraft remained in good health and operation throughout the encounter, and many good scientific observations were made of the comet coma and nucleus, and of the interactions between the comet's coma and the Martian atmosphere.   > MORE

    September 2014
    Last July, over 650 "Martians" from 21 countries gathered at the Caltech to discuss the status of our exploration of the Red Planet. Three types of summary presentations from the 8th Mars Conference have been posted as a resource to our community: the summary talks given by the invited speakers of each conference session, overviews of five upcoming Mars missions, and the synthesis put together by the conference \"Integrators\" and that formed the basis of the discussion during the conference's concluding session.   > MORE

    June 2014
    On October 19, 2014, comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will swing within 135,000 km of Mars, presenting the many spacecraft orbiting or roving on Mars with an unparalleled view of this dynamically new comet. Several groups were contracted to model the comet environment expected around Mars -- including particle size distributions and time of encounter with Mars. The reports are now linked on the Critical Data Products Page.   > MORE

    May 2014
    The Second Circular is posted for the 29th MEPAG meeting, to be held May 13-14, 2014, in Crystal City, VA. The meeting will also be webcast. Agenda and Adobe Connect information are included. > MORE

    April 2014
    The First Landing Workshop for 2020 Mars Rover Mission is planned for May 14-16, 2014, in Crystal City, VA. To express an interest or find more information, go to This workshop will occur at the same venue and just after the 29th MEPAG meeting. > MORE

    January 2014
    The Mars Exploration Program has issued a Request for Proposal for round IX of the Mars Critical Data Products program. This RFP provides support for initial landing site surface, atmosphere, and gravity characterization for the Mars 2020 rover mission. Proposals are due on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. > MORE

    October 2013
    In response to the recent release of the Mars 2020 mission Announcement of Opportunity, imaging targets are being solicited for candidate landing sites for the Mars 2020 rover mission. > MORE

    September 2013
    NASA has released the Mars 2020 Mission Investigations Announcement of Opportunity (AO). For more details about the AO: > MORE

    May 2013
    Dr. Lisa Pratt, Provost Professor and Chair, Department of Geological Sciences, Indiana University, is the new MEPAG Chair. She is a biogeochemist and studies Earth life that tolerates extreme conditions, using this information to guide astrobiological studies of Mars. She takes over from outgoing Chair, Dave Des Marais. Welcome, Lisa!

    April 2013
    Ongoing Mars missions will stand down from April 9-26, as Mars enters solar conjunction - the period when Mars is on the opposite side of the Sun as the Earth. > PRESS RELEASE

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