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Executive Summary
Pages 1-6

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From page 1...
... NASA has allocated risk factors and reliability requirements for missions in low Earth orbit and for the International Space Station but has not done so for missions traveling beyond Earth orbit. Recommendation: Because NASA has not allocated risk factors and reliability requirements for missions beyond Earth orbit, it should establish the risk standards necessary to provide preliminary guidance to Mars mission planners and hardware designers.
From page 2...
... Recommendation: To ensure that humans and critical rover systems can land on and traverse the Martian surface in a safe, efficient, and timely manner, NASA should characterize the range of mechanical properties of the Martian regolith at the landing site or comparable terrain. Specifically, in situ experiments should be performed to determine the regolith's aggregate strength, stability, and sinkage properties, including bearing strength, bulk modulus, yield strength, and internal friction angle.
From page 3...
... Should the results of the in situ experiment prove that the radiation transport models are flawed, more time will be needed to adjust the models to account for the differences between the models and the measurement. Recommendation: In order to validate the radiation transport codes, thereby ensuring the accuracy of radiation dose predictions, NASA should perform experiments to measure the absorbed dose in a tissue-equivalent material on Mars at a location 3 representative of the expected landing site, including altitude and bulk elemental composition of the surface.
From page 4...
... Recommendation: In order to evaluate the potential corrosive effects of Martian soil and airborne dust on humans and critical systems in a humidified environment, NASA should measure the pH and buffer capacity of soil and airborne dust either via an in situ experiment or on Earth with returned samples of soil and airborne dust collected from the Martian atmosphere. If NASA decides not to implement the necessary engineering controls or for other science-related reasons chooses to measure the oxidation properties of Martian airborne dust and soil, then the measurement should be performed on the surface of Mars rather than via a sample return.
From page 5...
... To protect Earth from contamination by Martian lifeforms aboard a returning human mission and astronauts while they are on the surface of Mars, the committee recommends that NASA employ the concept of zones of minimal biologic risk (ZMBRs) for astronaut exploration.
From page 6...
... There has been some concern that if a sample return is required, the planning for the first human mission to Mars may be delayed until a sample can be obtained. The committee believes that, even should a sample be required because organic carbon has been found, a baseline mission plan for a mission to Mars and even hardware development may still proceed under the assumption that a sample return will not find anything SAFE ON MARS significant enough with regard to Martian biology to invalidate the baseline mission plan.

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