October 7, 2015
Last day to apply to register

October 9, 2015
Last day to book hotels at the group rate


First Landing Site/Exploration Zone

Final Announcement

This meeting will be streamed on USRA Houston’s UStream channel.

Workshop Videos

Exploration Zone Rubric

Notes/Polling spreadsheet

Dear Colleagues,

You are invited to participate in the First Landing Site (LS)/Exploration Zone (EZ) Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars. The workshop will be held October 27–30, 2015, at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in Houston, Texas.

Onsite registration will be available on a limited basis. If attendance would require travel to Houston please contact us ( prior to making travel arrangements.

Purpose of the Workshop

The purpose of this workshop is to identify and discuss candidate locations where humans could land, live, and work on the martian surface.

Key Terms

We refer to such a location as an Exploration Zone (EZ). Given current mission concepts, an EZ is a collection of Regions of Interest (ROIs) that are located within approximately 100 kilometers of a centralized landing site. ROIs are areas that are relevant for scientific investigation and/or development/maturation of capabilities and resources necessary for a sustainable human presence. The EZ also contains a landing site and a habitation site that will be used by multiple human crews during missions to explore and utilize the ROIs.

Exploration Zone Layout Considerations

These candidate EZs will be used by NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) and Science Mission Directorate (SMD) as part of the multi-year process of determining where and how we would like to explore Mars with humans. In the near term, this process includes: (a) identifying locations that would maximize the potential science return from future human exploration missions, (b) identifying locations with the potential for resources required to support humans, (c) developing concepts and engineering systems needed by future human crews to conduct operations within an EZ, and (d) identifying key characteristics of the proposed candidate EZs that cannot be evaluated using existing data sets, thus helping to define precursor measurements needed in advance of human missions. Existing and future robotic spacecraft will be tasked with gathering data from specific Mars surface sites within the representative EZs to support these HEOMD and SMD activities.

It is anticipated that funding and support for future calls will be available for teams of scientists and engineers to conduct detailed characterizations of the EZs that emerge from this workshop.

Note: All electronic submission forms are part of the USRA Meeting Portal, which requires users to set up a personal profile to access our electronic forms (setting up a profile is quick and easy, requiring only a few minutes of your time).