The schedule below was underlying Mars Exploration until the old Mars Surveyor
program was revised because of the Mars Climate Orbiter
and Mars Polar Lander failures in late 1998 and early
To be launched 2001:
To be launched 2003:
- Russia's Mars 2001. Its mission, not fully defined, will include
a rover and/or surface stations. Possible international participation.
May be part of US-Russian Mars Together program. It is currently
extremely doubtful if this mission will actually take place.
- Mars Surveyor 2001 orbiter is scheduled to be launched between
March 7 and March 27, 2001, and to enter Mars orbit between December
10 and 23, 2001. It is to use and test aerocapture (down to 46 km
above Martian surface !) techniques for achieving its circular 400 km
Polar orbit after periapsis lifts. If this goes well, it will conduct
science from orbit, including mineralogical mapping and radiation
measurements, with its main instruments GRS from Mars Observer and
THEMIS which is developed under the direction of ASU.
The spacecraft is also to serve as communications relay for Mars
Surveyor 2001 and possibly 2003 landers.
May be part of Mars Together program.
- Mars Surveyor 2001 lander. Originally scheduled to be launched
between April 5 and 25, 2001, and to land on Mars in direct approach
between January 16 and February 5, 2002, this mission was postponed
and rescheduled as Mars Surveyor 2003 Lander, and now cancelled.
It will be replaced by one or two rovers without stationary lander.
The lander was to carry various instruments and experiments, including
engeneering experiments to explore possible in-situ resources and
utilization technologies; communication via Mars Surveyor 2001 Orbiter.
The Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander had carried a small rover, "Marie Curie".
The followup mission is based on the originally scheduled larger "Athena"
rover, which will be capable to travel tens of miles, but at that time
had been cancelled for
administrative budgetary reasons, and later rescheduled for 2003.
Mars Surveyor 2001 Rover links:
To be launched 2005:
Note: Some missions are still in the early planning stage.
- Rosetta: ESA's Mars, Asteroid and Comet mission, to be launched
in January, 2003 by Ariane 5. To achieve its more distant targets, it
will take a gravity assist during Mars flyby in 2006. It will fly on
and pass Earth twice and two asteroids each once, before it reaches
Comet Wirtanen in August 2011, and finally should land on it one year
Rosetta homepage at ESOC/ESA
- Mars Surveyor 2003 Orbiter.
Communications; more to be defined. This mission was cancelled
(objectives transferred to Mars Express and optionally to Mars Surveyor 2001
Mars 2003 and 2005 page (NSSDC)
- Mars Surveyor 2003 Rover (Lander).
To be launched May/June 2003. This mission was redefined and now omits a
stationary lander, which was to contain imaging system and various instruments
to study radiation and soil. Instead, it consists of one or two large rovers
(Athena) which are to land similar to Mars Pathfinder in direct approach and
airbag buffered. It is to investigate samples from a 10 km range around the
landing site, with a sampling arm and store and investigate it.
Originally, Athena was to load the samples into a soccer ball-sized container,
which would have been blasted into orbit around Mars and picked up and delivered
back to Earth by a later mission.
Mars 2003 and 2005 page (NSSDC)
Mars 2003 Mission Architecture (JPL)
Athena Rover Homepage (Cornell University)
- Mars Express (ESA).
To be launched between June 1 and 11, 2003.
Orbiter and lander "Beagle 2", to be launched with a
Russian Soyuz/Fregat rocket, but compatible with a Delta II.
See ESA News on Mars Express
and RAS press release.
Mars Express Homepage (ESA),
Mars Express info (NSSDC).
For the time after 2005, a continuation of the research missions is planned.
Possible options are to repeat the 2003-2005 orbiter/lander/sample return
missions in 2007-2009 and 2011-2013.
Detailed plans are still to be worked out, and should utilize the newly acquired
knowledge of the current and scheduled Mars missions.
Nasa officials have expressed their intention that these efforts should
eventually be leading to a Mars mission with a human crew to be launched in
2018 (and to arrive at Mars in 2019), and to begin an era of permanent human
presence on our neighbor planet.
Moreover, this date is continuously under discussion with the aim to do
the mission sooner; the earliest (now outdated) proposition was a crewed
mission as early as 2007, while CNN has reported
plans for a crewed mission in 2012 !
As of 26 Feb 1999, 13:00 MET
Last Modification: April 8, 2001