Science Definition and Instrument SelectionFollowing established processes of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, the instrument selection process began 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.
Once NASA accepted and/or modified these recommendations, NASA released an Announcement of Opportunity. Scientists and engineers on competitive teams focused on designing instruments to match the established criteria. NASA selected optimal components from among the submitted proposals.
To answer compelling research questions, NASA openly competed the opportunity for the mission's specific science payload. NASA announced the selection of the Mars 2020 rover science instruments on July 31, 2014. 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.