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NASA selects Mars Scout finalists
Posted: Sat, Dec 7, 2002, 10:43 AM ET (1543 GMT)
SCIM spacecraft illustration (ASU) NASA announced Friday that it has selected four missions as finalists for its Mars Scout spacecraft program later this decade. One of the four missions will be selected next August for launch in 2007 as the first Mars Scout mission, a new program of low-cost missions — similar to the Discovery Program of planetary science spacecraft — that will augment larger, more expensive Mars, missions. The total cost cap of the first Mars Scout mission is $325 million. One finalist, Sample Collection for Investigation of Mars (SCIM), would fly through the upper Martian atmosphere to collect dust to return to Earth. The Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Survey (ARES) mission would fly an aircraft through the Martian atmosphere to provide high-resolution surface images and atmospheric data. The Phoenix mission would land in the northern plains of the planet, carrying some of the same instruments flown on the failed Mars Polar Lander and canceled Mars Surveyor 2001 lander. The Mars Volcanic Emission and Life Scout (MARVEL) mission would use an orbiter to look for gases emitted from any active volcanoes or bacterial life forms.
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