Selecting Landing Sites on Mars
The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity mission is the next step in NASA's Mars Exploration Program following the Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Phoenix missions. Launched in late 2011, the MSL rover arrived at Mars in early August 2012. The main objective of the MSL mission is to "assess habitability" of both Mars' past and present environments. The Mars Landing site steering committee, co-chaired by Dr. John Grant, co-led the science community MSL landing site selection process and helped evaluate the landing site in Gale crater where a thick mound of layered rocks (dubbed Mt Sharp) should yield information on the past conditions and habitability of Mars.