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    Nov 19, 2009

    The NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) is performing a technical assessment to form the basis of a possible proposal for the NASA Science Mission Directorate DiscoveryProgram opportunity. This assessment is focused on conducting scientific exploration ofthe planet Mars using ARES, a robotic aerial platform (ARES: Aerial Regional-scaleEnvironmental Surveyor).The purpose of this announcement is to enable LaRC to obtain potential providers toparticipate in the development of the technical concept, proposal, and mission elementimplementation of several mission areas in response to the upcoming NASA DiscoveryProgram Announcement of Opportunity (AO). Specific mission areas where LaRC is seekingassistance include:(1) The ARES Science Team.(2) ARES Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) Team(3) Design and development of the aerial platform structures and mechanisms subsystemincluding the composite airframe, associated hinging and latching mechanisms, and controlsurfaces. (4) Design and development of the liquid rocket propulsion subsystem for the aerialplatform. (5) Design and development of the command and data handling, flight software, and thenavigation sensors (only for entry and flight over Mars). (6) Design and development of the telecommunications subsystem for the aerialplatform and entry system.(7) Design and development of two complete cameras.Discovery Program investigations address NASAs planetary science goals as described inSolar System Exploration, NASAs 2006 roadmap for planetary science. The roadmap may befound at . While Discovery investigations may focus on any body in the Solar System, excluding the Earth and the Sun, and including Mars and the Moon, the ARES synopsis focuses on the exploration of Mars. Discovery investigations will be led by a Principal Investigator and will be comprised of scientists in partnerships, potentially involving NASA Centers, academia, and industry.These teams will pursue missions of high scientific value utilizing observation platforms of their choice and design.Release of a draft Discovery AO is expected by the end of CY 2009. It is anticipatedthat approximately two to three Discovery investigations will be selected for 9-month Phase A concept studies.  Read Full

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