The Instrument & Mission
In January 2010, NASA issued an Announcement of Opportunity which described the setting-up of a joint ESA-NASA programme for the investigation of Mars. Initial discussions between the agencies focussed on mission concept studies for the 2016 and 2018 Mars launch opportunities. The University of Arizona and the University of Bern answered this call with a proposal for an imaging system called HiSCI. However, ESA and NASA ultimately failed to reach agreement on hardware provision and the programme changed into a joint ESA-Roskosmos venture with Russia providing some of the experiments. The University of Arizona had to withdraw and the University of Bern has now taken up the lead with a revised concept called CaSSIS – the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System.