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Meeting Planning Services


New Dates: March 29–31, 2022

As a consequence of the recent and significant rise in COVID-19 cases, the organizing committee for the Low-Cost Science Mission Concepts for Mars Exploration workshop has decided to postpone the workshop. The workshop, originally planned for January 11–13, 2022, is now scheduled for March 29–31, 2022, and will be held at the same venue, The Westin Pasadena Hotel in Pasadena, CA.

This was a difficult decision in light of the extensive preparations made by both the organizers and all those planning to attend. The decision to reschedule in March is based on several considerations: 1) the desire to hold this workshop with a strong in-person element to maximize the creative interactions that will enable community dialog on the potential role of low-cost missions as part of a future Mars exploration strategy; 2) recognition of the magnitude of the recent COVID-19 spike and additional uncertainty in predicting the impact of holiday travel and gatherings on further increases in the coming weeks; and 3) hope that this current spike will have abated by the February/March time frame.

Postponement information and further guidance will be posted on the workshop website and sent by email as it becomes available.

Workshop Location and Dates

The Low-Cost Science Mission Concepts for Mars Exploration workshop is rescheduled for March 29–31, 2022, at The Westin Pasadena, 191 North Los Robles, Pasadena, California.

In light of the current COVID-19 environment and to ensure the safest possible meeting experience, the workshop's Organizing Committee will require all in-person attendees to provide proof of COVID vaccination at the time of onsite check-in. In addition, we will be complying with all local COVID policies, including a requirement for attendees to wear a face mask while in the meeting facilities at the Westin Pasadena Hotel.

Purpose and Scope

Emerging small spacecraft capabilities and innovative new mission concepts offer opportunities for compelling science discoveries at Mars at unprecedented low costs. NASA’s Mars Exploration Program invites the Mars community, including scientists, engineers, technologists, and industry representatives, to this three-day workshop to share ideas and approaches for low-cost exploration of the Red Planet. Here, “low-cost” equates to mission costs that fall well below the current Discovery Program cost cap. The recent Mars Architecture Strategy Working Group suggested that small spacecraft missions in the $100–$300M cost range (including delivery) may offer a sweet spot in terms of achievable science per unit cost.

Specific topics of interest for this workshop include:

  • Assessment of strategic Mars science questions well-suited to investigation via low-cost, small spacecraft missions
  • Candidate low-cost mission concepts, relating science objectives to investigations, instruments, and spacecraft architecture
  • Small spacecraft capabilities for both orbital and landed Mars missions
  • Innovative mission design approaches, including piggyback, rideshare, and new small launch vehicle capabilities for low-cost delivery of payloads to Mars
  • New miniatured instruments, avionics, and subsystems enabling highly capable small spacecraft
  • Opportunities for international and commercial partnerships
  • Emerging commercial NewSpace capabilities that can be leveraged for low-cost Mars exploration

The workshop will provide a forum for a rich set of contributed presentations, an interactive poster session, along with invited talks and panel discussions to explore these topics. The workshop is currently being planned as an in-person event to maximize opportunities for open and creative exchange of ideas among all participants; however, this may be adjusted based on health and safety circumstances.

Code of Conduct

The LPI is committed to providing a harassment-free experience for participants regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, religion, or other protected status. While attending the meeting or any related ancillary or social events, participants should not engage in harassment in any form. All participants are expected to behave according to professional standards and in accordance with their employers’ policies on appropriate workplace behavior.

To report issues or concerns, contact LPI management at USRA-LPI Meetings Code of Conduct.

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