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A. Characterize the processes that formed and modified the geologic record within a field exploration area on Mars selected for evidence of an astrobiologically-relevant ancient environment and geologic diversity.
B. Perform the following astrobiologically-relevant investigations on the geologic materials at the landing site:
1. Determine the habitability of an ancient environment.
2. For ancient environments interpreted to have been habitable, search for materials with high biosignature preservation potential.
3. Search for potential evidence of past life using the observations regarding habitability and preservation as a guide.
C. Assemble a returnable cache of samples for possible future return to Earth.
1.Obtain samples that are scientifically selected, for which the field context is documented, that contain the most promising samples identified in Objective B and that represent the geologic diversity of the field site.
2. Ensure compliance with future needs in the areas of planetary protection and engineering so that the cache could be returned in the future if NASA chooses to do so.
D. Contribute to the preparation for human exploration of Mars by making significant progress towards filling at least one major Strategic Knowledge Gap (SKG). The highest priority SKG measurements that are synergistic with Mars 2020 science objectives and compatible with the mission concept are (in priority order):
1. Demonstration of In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) technologies to enable propellant and consumable oxygen production from the Martian atmosphere for future exploration missions.
2. Characterization of atmospheric dust size and morphology to understands its effects on the operation of surface systems and human health.
3. Surface weather measurements to validate global atmospheric models
The Mars 2020 rover mission will explore the geology of a once habitable site
"The Mars 2020 mission concept does not presume that life ever existed on Mars," said Jack Mustard, chairman of the Science Definition Team and a professor at the Geological Sciences at Brown University in Providence, R.I.
Note - habitability doesn't automatically imply there was life there.
A habitat is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant, or other type of organism. It is the natural environment in which an organism lives, or the physical environment that surrounds a species population.
reply to post by wildespace
Derived from Habitat...
It is justified to say it WAS habitable
There is nothing to "admit" (yes, indeed a strange word to use) which seems to imply this information once was hidden or something.
No, they're saying Mars was once habitable.
Except they didn't say it is currently habitable but rather it was in the past.
The only real question in this thread is why you insist on interpreting a clear mission statement to determine whether Mars EVER WAS habitable into the idea that it IS habitable.
You're missing the point.
Yes, they didn't say it's currenty habitable, we can agree on that.
The point: They've never before stated in any context that Mars was habitable.
Of course, but they've never before said until now with certainty It Was Once Habitable, it was always Mars Could Have Been Habitable.
I think we have the latest results from Curiosity to thank for that. Data from Curiosity shows signs of a habitable environment: neutral liquid water and a plethora of organics and other compounds.