A wide array of non-NASA government and commercial autonomous marine surveillance and in-situ data collection applications can be supported by the MARS system. Application domains include disaster response, energy, environmental, homeland security, law enforcement, defense, public health and safety, transportation, and weather forecasting. The MARS system offers the potential to decrease operational costs, decrease human workloads, reduce human exposure to hazardous environments, increase situational awareness, enable extended duration observations, and customize temporal and spatial surveillance and monitoring scales across domains. State and local governments tasked with conducting increased surveillance and environmental monitoring activities on increasingly limited budgets are expected to benefit from the MARS system which will ultimately enable more effective use of employees and resources.
The MARS system is being developed to support NASA range surveillance and weather monitoring activities for spacecraft launch and recovery operations. MARS augments existing surveillance operations in the range's expansive marine corridor, which is expensive to monitor, and prone to incursion by commercial and recreational boats. Once developed, the system can support Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) and sounding rocket launches at the GSFC Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and Constellation program launches at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The MARS payload technology can be deployed to other marine platforms including buoys, barges, and ships. When deployed to land-based towers, the technology can be used to monitor launch, processing, and recovery facilities. When paired with appropriate sensors, the MARS system will support autonomous in-situ oceanographic and atmospheric data collection and transmission for NASA Earth science applications including satellite calibration and validation, physical oceanography, algal bloom monitoring, and hurricane research.