NASA selects investigations for future key planetary mission

NASA selects investigations for future key planetary mission
Artist's concept of the Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy (Veritas) spacecraft, a proposed mission for NASA's Discovery program. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA has selected five science investigations for refinement during the next year as a first step in choosing one or two missions for flight opportunities as early as 2020. Three of those chosen have ties to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The submitted proposals would study Venus, near-Earth objects and a variety of asteroids.

Each investigation team will receive $3 million to conduct concept design studies and analyses. After a detailed review and evaluation of the concept studies, NASA will make the final selections by September 2016 for continued development leading up to launch. Any selected mission will cost approximately $500 million, not including launch vehicle funding or the cost of post-launch operations.

"The selected investigations have the potential to reveal much about the formation of our solar system and its dynamic processes," said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "Dynamic and exciting missions like these hold promise to unravel the mysteries of our solar system and inspire future generations of explorers. It's an incredible time for science, and NASA is leading the way."

NASA's Discovery Program requested proposals for spaceflight investigations in November 2014. A panel of NASA and other scientists and engineers reviewed 27 submissions.

The planetary missions associated with JPL that were selected to pursue concept design studies are:

The Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy mission (VERITAS)

NASA selects investigations for future key planetary mission
Artist's concept of the Psyche spacecraft, a proposed mission for NASA's Discovery program that would conduct a direct exploration of an object thought to be a stripped planetary core. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

VERITAS would produce global, high-resolution topography and imaging of Venus' surface and produce the first maps of deformation and global surface composition. Suzanne Smrekar of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is the principal investigator. JPL would manage the project.

Psyche

Psyche would explore the origin of planetary cores by studying the metallic asteroid Psyche. This asteroid is likely the survivor of a violent hit-and-run with another object that stripped off the outer, rocky layers of a protoplanet. Linda Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, is the principal investigator. JPL would manage the project.

Near Earth Object Camera (NEOCam)

NEOCAM would discover 10 times more near-Earth objects than all NEOs discovered to date. It would also begin to characterize them. Amy Mainzer of JPL is the principal investigator, and JPL would manage the project.

The two other selections are:

NASA selects investigations for future key planetary mission
Artist's concept of the NEOCam spacecraft, a proposed mission for NASA's Discovery program that would conduct an extensive survey for potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging (DAVINCI)

DAVINCI would study the chemical composition of Venus' atmosphere during a 63-minute descent. It would answer scientific questions that have been considered high priorities for many years, such as whether there are volcanoes active today on the surface of Venus and how the surface interacts with the atmosphere of the planet. Lori Glaze of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is the principal investigator. Goddard would manage the project.

Lucy

Lucy would perform the first reconnaissance of the Jupiter Trojan asteroids, objects thought to hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system. Harold Levison of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado is the principal investigator. Goddard would manage the project.

Created in 1992, the Discovery Program sponsors frequent, cost-capped exploration missions with highly focused scientific goals. The program has funded and developed 12 missions to date, including MESSENGER, Dawn, Stardust, Deep Impact, Genesis and GRAIL, and is currently completing development of InSight.


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NASA selects investigations for future key missions

More information: For more information about NASA's Discovery Program, visit discovery.nasa.gov
Citation: NASA selects investigations for future key planetary mission (2015, October 1) retrieved 26 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-10-nasa-future-key-planetary-mission.html
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Oct 01, 2015
NASA needs to get a little less pure science and a little more useful science. We have already mapped Venus with radar and landers tell us the place is incredibly hot and has a thick atmosphere. Other information is just small details. With all the talk of mining asteroids and landing on Mars, NASA really needs to be gathering practical information like how dangerous is the path to Mars? Do asteroids really have enough metals to even be worth the effort? How hard is to bring a sample back from an asteroid? To me, NASA ought to build a kind of space ferry with an ION drive, let private groups build small satellites and landers for it to carry out to the asteroid belt and release to go off on their own. Possibly one could even grab samples since there are most likely gravel size pieces of asteroid floating around and the ferry could bring them back to earth orbit for retrieval by another space craft. Before people go off the deep end about asteroid mining, we need more information.

Oct 01, 2015
The unexpected richness of information from the Pluto probe is just what science needed to continue to fund these exotic projects. The slow data rate of data transmission also results in a slow leakage of information, keeping interest up for longer periods.

With our robots so good, why are we still trying to put men into these explorations? Military?

Oct 02, 2015
There is simply no reason to consider manned flight to other planets or orbiting bodies at this time.
The astronomical costs, unknown risks, sheer impossiblility of logistics issues---food, Oxygen, radiation protection, etc all militate against this foolishness.

Not to mention a multi years transit time assuming we actually can depart from our target orbiting object. What is the possible stay time?---extremely limited, due to logistics issues.

IF and when we can substantiate a solid reason to put people out there, we are dreaming fairy tales.

Get with it NASA--- line up your ducks before we start shooting them

Oct 02, 2015
When will NASA send a probe to Uranus?

Oct 02, 2015
When will NASA send a probe to Uranus?

You mean another one? Right?
Voyager 2: http://voyager.jp...nus.html

Oct 02, 2015
"You mean another one? Right?"
----------------------------

He does not mean the planet. He means your other place, which fascinates him.

Oct 02, 2015
"You mean another one? Right?"
----------------------------

He does not mean the planet. He means your other place, which fascinates him.


I sure am glad to see you not slinging any more school yard insults. (But this is the family oriented place and it would best to not be rationally and intelligently making the gay slurs and innuendos about stuffs, comprand you?)

Oct 02, 2015
Excuse me, Toots, but take that up with the one who said it. Have you not read his posts?

And once again, your fascination is with me, and you are unable to stay or even get on the issue. The issue is future planetary missions, not your fascination with me, but thanks anyway.

I don't think we should race into manned spaceflight to other planets, but let our sophisticated robots do it for us first. They can start electrolyzing water to hydrogen and oxygen and storing it for eventual use, for one, to support us later, while we gather better information..

Oct 02, 2015
I don't think we should race into manned spaceflight to other planets, but let our sophisticated robots do it for us first. .


You mean the ones you thought would make us all the misere if they got better than sweeping floors? Cher, two days ago you make the postum saying that we would all be doomed if robots ever got past the sweeping floors stage.

Choot, Cher, Little-Ira-Skippy has the robot he built with the three arduinos that could slap you silly. Sillier than you are already I mean. He's only 13 years old and years ahead of you Podna.

Oct 02, 2015
"You mean another one? Right?"
----------------------------

He does not mean the planet. He means your other place, which fascinates him.

Hahaha... wow, new jokes keep popping..
Well...actually it's kinda old...
http://www.anycli...!quotes/

"E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982)

I sure am glad to see you not slinging any more school yard insults.

Does that mean this guy is improving? Sh*t, man! (sorry)

Oct 02, 2015
"You mean another one? Right?"
----------------------------

He does not mean the planet. He means your other place, which fascinates him.

Well... thank you arsehole.
I was referring to plans that haven't materialized. Such as https://en.wikipe...f_Uranus

Oct 02, 2015
When will NASA send a probe to Uranus?
I was referring to plans that haven't materialized. Such as https://en.wikipe...f_Uranus

Looks like you have your answer in your own link. Reading it should be enough for knowing the estimated dates for the different projects if carried out.

sidenote: nice link

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