No, not that Ares but the Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Surveyor, a 6.71m (22ft) wingspan aircraft that would fly through the Martian atmosphere to study its surface chemistry  


credit: NASA / caption: This is a NASA Destination Tomorrow Techwatch video

Ares is to be the subject of a NASA Langley Research Center “assessment [that] is focused on conducting scientific exploration of the planet Mars using Ares”As the video explains, a lot of work has already been done along with a test flight of a prototype and Flightglobal.com and Flight International has written about it in 20042003 and 2002

The Fedbizopps statement says of the Ares rocketplane, “Key attributes of the liquid rocket propulsion subsystem for the aerial platform consist of a hypergolic bi-propellant propulsion subsystem. The preferred bi-propellantcombination is monomethyl hydrazine (MMH) and nitrogen tetroxide (MON-3).”

According to the Augustine report the flexible path timeline is all human missions but as none of that begins until the third decade of the 21st century this blog is guessing that robotic missions could form an earlier part of that path that could see results before president Barack Obama steps down. Otherwise it could be his successor’s successor, three presidential terms down the road, that bathes in the glory of exploration success