The Journal of the Astronautical Sciences

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 421–430 | Cite as

Entry, descent, and landing scenario for the mars exploration rover mission

  • Prasun N. Desai
  • Wayne J. Lee
  • Adam Steltzner


In January 2004, the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission successfully landed two landers on the surface of Mars. Both landers delivered a rover to the surface using an entry, descent, and landing (EDL) scenario based on Mars Pathfinder heritage. However, the entry conditions and environments were different from that of Mars Pathfinder. Unique challenges were present due to the entry differences of a heavier entry mass, less dense atmosphere, and higher surface landing site altitude. These differences resulted in a higher terminal velocity and less time for performing all the EDL events as compared to Mars Pathfinder. As a result of these differences, modifications were made to the MER EDL systems to safely deliver the rovers to the surface of Mars. An overview of the design modifications made to the MER EDL system compared to MPF is described.


Radar Altimeter Mars Exploration Rover Above Ground Level Drag Area Entry Characteristic 
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Copyright information

© Springer Automotive Media 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prasun N. Desai
    • 1
  • Wayne J. Lee
    • 2
  • Adam Steltzner
    • 2
  1. 1.Atmospheric Flight and Entry Systems BranchNASA Langley Research CenterHamptonUSA
  2. 2.Jet Propulsion LaboratoryPasadenaUSA

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