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Goals: Mission Design

Goal 4:   Prepare for Human Exploration
[more on Goal  4 for the entire Mars Exploration Program]

This image shows a backward-looking view of an astronaut in a white spacesuit hiking over reddish sand and rocks on Mars. A gray plume of smoke rises from a fumarole behind the astronaut. The Mars Exploration Rovers will characterize the chemistry and mineralogy of the Martian soil and dust, and perhaps some of the potential hazards that they may pose to humans. Through its studies of surface mineralogy, the mission will help in the assessment of soil and rock as potential in-situ resources for future human missions. The rovers will also contribute to studies of how well the rovers can traverse given characteristics of the soil (for instance, how much resistance the soil provides, how far down the wheels sink etc.). This knowledge will help in planning for other future vehicles that might be needed on Mars.
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