Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology JPL HOME EARTH SOLAR SYSTEM STARS & GALAXIES SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY BRING THE UNIVERSE TO YOU JPL Email News RSS Mobile Video
JPL Banner
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
Home Participate


What are science instruments?

Science instruments are state-of-the-art tools for acquiring information about Martian geology, atmosphere, environmental conditions, and potential biosignatures.

Science instruments for this mission

To answer compelling research questions, NASA's plans include openly competing the opportunity for the mission's specific science payload.

Following established processes of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, this process begins with the establishment of a science definition team tasked to outline the mission's objectives, realistic surface operations, a proof-of-concept instrument suite, and suggestions for threshold science measurements that would meet the proposed objectives.

The science definition team has completed its July 2013 report:

Per the recommendations of the science definition team, science instruments would support studies related to habitability, the search for any potential signs of past microbial life, identifying the most compelling samples for future potential Earth return, and preparing for possible future human exploration.

Once NASA has accepted and/or modified these recommendations, NASA would release an Announcement of Opportunity. Scientists and engineers would then create competitive teams focused on designing instruments to match the established criteria, and NASA would select optimal components from among the submitted proposals.