In the Wikipedia article Timeline of Mars Science Laboratory it is mentioned that at the first MSL Landing Site workshop, 33 potential landing sites were identified, and that by the second workshop in late 2007 the list had grown to include almost 50 sites.

To be able to collect information about the most interesting regions on Mars, which were all those potential landing sites ?

  • $\begingroup$ Related landing site selection $\endgroup$ – Jack Aug 22 '18 at 10:50
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    $\begingroup$ You might want to check this article as well, detailing the whole selection process: repository.si.edu/bitstream/handle/10088/17045/201182.pdf $\endgroup$ – BlueCoder Aug 22 '18 at 10:57
  • $\begingroup$ @BlueCoder Isn't that link good enough for your answer ? $\endgroup$ – Cornelisinspace Aug 22 '18 at 11:52
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it could be included in the answers. Even tough it doesn't give the two lists initially asked - it answers better the general question "let me choose among all MSL landing sites" :) $\endgroup$ – BlueCoder Aug 22 '18 at 11:59

As far as I can tell, the 50 figure is somewhat erroneous/only approximate which is (understandably) caused by the confusing way the proposed landing site list changed during the selection process.

I've attempted to collate the information from the Landing Site Workshops overview which has all the presentations and announcements from the entire process. In particular the First Workshop site list, the Second Workshop Program and the Workshop Announcement which states (emphasis mine):

The primary goal of the second workshop will be to evaluate the 33 sites that emerged from the first workshop as well as any new sites proposed within the framework provided by new Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) data for the sites, the science requirements of the MSL mission, and a better understanding of the MSL engineering requirements and the safety of the landing sites relative to these requirements.

Before the start of the 2nd workshop, 3 more sites had been proposed, increasing the total to 36 sites. By the start of the 2nd workshop, 9 sites had been dropped and a further 24 sites had been added or sub-divided from existing sites. This gives us a total of 60 sites considered with 51 sites lasting to be discussed at the 2nd workshop.

These changes are mostly outlined in the General Assessment of Safety of Prospective MSL Landing Sites.

In any case, by the end of the 2nd workshop, the shortlist of 6 sites had been selected. It's interesting to note that all the shortlisted candidates were proposed in the 1st workshop.

Collated (raw data on Dropbox) with lots of help from @BlueCoder:

Image of the collated data in a table, highlighting new proposals, dropped proposals and the final selection. Raw data available in Dropbox link above Note: this table is my own work from summarising the publicly-available data on the workshop site and therefore may be incomplete. Thank you to @BlueCoder for fixing all my mistakes! Please use the raw data freely

  • $\begingroup$ Check the following: marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/msl/workshops/2nd_workshop/… I think you are missing Tiu Valles in the list of proposed sites for 2nd workshop. Also, at the start of the second workshop the list was 51 (not 59). Total proposed sites for the two workshops: 60. Anyway, nice answer I've upvoted it :) $\endgroup$ – BlueCoder Aug 22 '18 at 11:33
  • $\begingroup$ See this article: repository.si.edu/bitstream/handle/10088/17045/201182.pdf It seems Nili Fossae crater is Jezero. So I guess this shrinks the list to 58.. and we miss another one maybe? $\endgroup$ – BlueCoder Aug 22 '18 at 11:50
  • $\begingroup$ You have 26 sites with “proposed” at the start of second workshop. One we have to remove, because it’s Jezero (which is duplicate of Nili Fossae Crater, coming from 1st workshop) So we have 25 added on 2nd workshop. However, according to the Agenda, 3 were added post 1st workshop and 24 for the 2nd workshop, so we should have 27. Two are missing, one is Tiu Valles and the other one is…..? I don’t know :) $\endgroup$ – BlueCoder Aug 22 '18 at 11:55
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    $\begingroup$ Looks fine! I would only change a couple of names: Gullies/Wirtz Crater to Gullies/Hale Crater, W. Meridiani Additional to "Alternate" and N.Meridiani M&E to N.Meridiani Alternate. I also liked the reordering, with all 2nd workshop listed after 1st workshop :) $\endgroup$ – BlueCoder Aug 22 '18 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't it striking that Gale crater was not selected ? $\endgroup$ – Cornelisinspace Aug 22 '18 at 14:44

Have a look at this page, with links to MSL Landing site Workshops.

It has the 33 landing sites list of the first workshop.

There's also a link to the presentations of the second workshop. The "Overview of Process and Goals" presentation by John Grant contains also the Workshop agenda, where you find the 51 sites list.

You might also want to check this article, which details the whole selection process and offers the list of all 59 landing sites eventually considered:


  • $\begingroup$ Feel free to accept one answer, and use a bounty to reward the other answer. $\endgroup$ – Hobbes Aug 22 '18 at 12:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Hobbes I have some days to think about that, but there's quite a difference in points between accepting or rewarding with a bounty. $\endgroup$ – Cornelisinspace Aug 22 '18 at 12:31
  • $\begingroup$ Magnificent presentations, beyond my expectations, thank you ! $\endgroup$ – Cornelisinspace Aug 22 '18 at 19:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Conelisinspace Thank you for the bounty Conel, it was a really nice gesture, I really appreciate that! $\endgroup$ – BlueCoder Aug 29 '18 at 11:47
  • $\begingroup$ I think you deserved it because you helped Jack with the table and your answer has some links to many interesting presentations. Just for the record: my name is Cornelis, so Cornelisinspace should be read as Cornelis-in-space. :) $\endgroup$ – Cornelisinspace Aug 29 '18 at 16:44

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