Where next for NASA? Scientists draw up wish list

Mar 08, 2011

(AP) -- Land a rover on Mars to collect rocks and soil samples that could later be returned to Earth. If that's a budget-buster, then orbit Jupiter's moon Europa, which may have a liquid ocean beneath its frozen surface, or study Uranus' atmosphere.

A team of scientists got together to entertain the question: Where in the solar system should visit next?

The result is a wish list released Monday by the National Research Council that prioritized robotic space exploration between 2013 and 2022. The report did not look at .

"I wish we could do them all," said Cornell University Steve Squyres, who chaired the panel that came up with the list.

The rankings are hardly a surprise. For years, scientists have advocated to do a Mars sample return mission, but it was always too expensive.

NASA recently partnered with the to find ways for the two to do such a mission jointly over several years.

The panel recommended that NASA consider other options if it can't land a Mars rover for $2.5 billion. Other alternatives include flying a craft to Europa, but only if it costs less than $4.7 billion. It also suggested missions to Uranus, the Saturn moon Encedalus or Venus.

If NASA doesn't have enough money or cannot stay within budget for any of the proposed flagship projects, it should focus on smaller, cheaper missions first, scientists said.

The report was sponsored by NASA and the National Science Foundation.

Explore further: Rosetta spacecraft sees sinkholes on comet

0 shares

Related Stories

Mars should be US space agency's focus: panel

Mar 07, 2011

NASA should focus its efforts on a solar-powered rover mission to Mars rather than human spaceflight in the coming decade, but only if costs can be slashed, a science panel said Monday.

NASA and ESA prioritize outer planet missions

Feb 18, 2009

At a meeting in Washington last week, NASA and ESA officials decided to first pursue a mission to study Jupiter and its four largest moons, and plan for another mission to visit Saturn's largest moon, Titan, ...

Recommended for you

Rosetta spacecraft sees sinkholes on comet

11 hours ago

The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft first began orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August 2014. Almost immediately, scientists began to wonder about several surprisingly deep, almost perfectly ...

Me and my world: The human factor in space

14 hours ago

The world around us is defined by how we interact with it. But what if our world was out of this world? As part of NASA's One-Year Mission, researchers are studying how astronauts interact with the "world" ...

Radar guards against space debris

15 hours ago

Space debris poses a growing threat to satellites and other spacecraft, which could be damaged in the event of a collision. A new German space surveillance system, schedu- led to go into operation in 2018, will help to prevent ...

Why we need to keep adding leap seconds

17 hours ago

Today at precisely 10am Australian Eastern Standard time, something chronologically peculiar will take place: there'll be an extra second between 09:59:59 and 10:00:00.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

omatumr
1 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2011
I understand that the new US Congress is hearing testimony today on EPA's budget.

There is some concern that EPA overstepped its bounds in accepting the UN's IPCC report to justify calling CO2 a dangerous pollutant.

Since NASA generated some of the questionable data used in the UN's IPCC reports, it might be wise for NASA officials to issue a new commitment to rigorously obey basic scientific principle before getting carried away with a "wish list."

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.