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I've been wondering for a while who gets to decide where Curiosity goes. I'm not wondering so much about who gets to actually give it the commands (that seems fairly easy to find), but who decides its day-to-day destination, and how those decisions are made. For instance, is there a specific person in charge who ultimately decides where it goes, or is there a committee who decides? Can someone overrule them?

How is the path chosen? Do they just plan day-by-day, or do they map out where they want it to be next week/month and then figure out specifically where it should be at the end of each day?

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  • $\begingroup$ How Do You Drive a $2.5 Billion Mars Rover? $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ Information about the drivers is very interesting, and I enjoy articles about that, but I'm mostly curious about who directs them. How do they decide specifically where it goes? I'm curious about the decision-making process. $\endgroup$
    – duzzy
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ More on this aspect here. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ I'm guessing you want more information than what Tildal and I gave you in chat? $\endgroup$ Commented May 30, 2015 at 15:51
  • $\begingroup$ @VedantChandra Yes. TidalWave showed some really cool information, and I think I have a better understanding of how a lot of it comes together, especially as far as what needs to be considered (terrain, power, etc), scheduling, and things like that. However, I'm still interested in the process of how decisions are made, and who gets to make them. $\endgroup$
    – duzzy
    Commented May 30, 2015 at 17:10

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The science team. If there is not consensus, the Project Scientist will decide, currently Ashwin Vasavada. There are higher authorities, but they would only very rarely intervene. I believe there was some pressure on the science team from above at one point to head for the hills.

There are daily Science Operations Working Group meetings for tactical decisions and long range planning meetings for setting the direction.

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