Hi All

Attached is the list of the 6 landing sites being studied for landing MSL and a graphic for each showing the location of the ellipse being considered. For each site, the center latitude, longitude and center elevation of the ellipse is listed as well as a possible safe haven ellipse. The yellow ellipse is the opening of the launch period and the black ellipse is the closing of the launch period. Prime ellipses are 20 by 25 km and safe haven ellipses are 32 by 35 km, both oriented along entry azimuths. Single prime ellipses are being considered at each of the sites, except Mawrth, which has 4. The site that was called Runcorn is now provisionally named Miyamoto (expected to be official next week) and until then is listed as SW Meridiani.

These sites will now become the focus of MRO image acquisition that will be coordinated by John Grant and I. Our approach is to begin imaging the prime ellipses and to request stereo (as soon as rolls are allowed by MRO) for generating topographic maps for evaluating small scale slopes (2-5 m). These requests will include HiRISE, CTX and CRISM data. If you have any specific requests, please send them to John and I with your rationale.

Study of these sites will proceed until the 3rd MSL Landing Site Workshop scheduled for August 2008. At that workshop, contributions on any aspect of the science or safety of these sites will be solicited. This work will form the basis for a further downselection (by at least half) that will lead to final site certification and selection just before launch (4th Landing Site Workshop scheduled for June 2009).

We look forward to your continuing participation in selecting a landing site for MSL. If there are questions or comments, please send them along. Happy Holidays to All.


At 12:07 PM -0800 12/5/07, Michael M. Watkins wrote:


thanks for your participation in the MSL landing site downselection meeting. In our opinion the entire group of scientists and engineers did an excellent job of moving forward in light of our current (and imperfect) understanding of the engineering and science characteristics.

The project is now carrying the following list of finalist sites:

- Nili Fossae
- Mawrth
- Holden
- Eberswalde
- N. Meridiani
- Runcorn

We note that this list agrees well with the results of the 2nd community workshop. Some exceptions are that Jezero was subsequently found to have unacceptably high rock abundance and the MSL PSG recommended replacing Terby with Eberswalde for scientific reasons and due to concerns with Terby environmental conditions. Finally, N. Meridiani was specifically added by the Project to ensure a guaranteed safe landing site with characterized high quality science. It is recognized that each of these sites has potential liens due to various engineering concerns (southerly latitude, EDL, go-to) but all were deemed acceptable by the project engineering and management team and supported for in-depth analysis.

We have a lot of work ahead of us in the upcoming year to fully characterize these sites from both the engineering and science perspectives, and we welcome and value your continuing participation and advice in that process. The next major review is intended to be the "Mid Term Landing Site Analysis Review" nominally scheduled for early April 2008, and we also anticipate facilitating increased discussion on the science value and interpretation of each of the sites for the entire set of MSL science goals.

Thanks again for your efforts in helping us select the MSL Landing Site.

Mike Watkins
John Grotzinger
Ashwin Vasavada