Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA Considers Discovery Mission Proposals For Space Exploration

Date:
January 5, 2001
Source:
National Aeronautics And Space Administration
Summary:
It's a difficult decision: With about $300 million to spend, should NASA buy a spacecraft that could find Earth-sized planets around nearby stars? What about a mission that could peer deep inside Jupiter's gaseous atmosphere? Or should the agency go with a mission to orbit the two largest asteroids in the solar system?

It's a difficult decision: With about $300 million to spend, should NASA buy a spacecraft that could find Earth-sized planets around nearby stars? What about a mission that could peer deep inside Jupiter's gaseous atmosphere? Or should the agency go with a mission to orbit the two largest asteroids in the solar system?

The answer to that question will have to wait about a year. In the first step of a two-step process, NASA's Office of Space Science selected three proposals for detailed study as candidates for the next mission in the agency's Discovery Program of lower cost, highly focused, rapid-development scientific spacecraft.

"The diversity of science represented in these three mission proposals is outstanding. NASA will have its hands full picking only one for flight," said Dr. Jay Bergstralh, acting Director of Solar System Exploration at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC.

The selected proposals were judged to have the best science value among 26 proposals submitted to NASA last August. Each selected team will receive $450,000 to conduct a four-month implementation-feasibility study focused on cost, management and technical plans, including educational outreach and small business involvement.

Following detailed mission concept studies, NASA intends to select one of the three proposals late in 2001 for full development. The mission should be launched around 2005 or 2006.

NASA has also decided to fund American participation in a mission to Mars being flown by another nation. In this "Mission of Opportunity" NASA will contribute to seismology, meteorology and geodesy (to measure the size and shape of the planet) experiments on the French-led NetLander Mission, scheduled for launch in 2007. The Mission of Opportunity team will receive $250,000 to conduct its feasibility study.

The selected Discovery and Mission of Opportunity proposals are:

* The Kepler mission is a space telescope specifically designed to detect Earth-sized planets around stars in the Sun's neighborhood of the galaxy. By monitoring 100,000 stars over a four-year mission, Kepler could detect up to 500 Earth-sized planets and up to 1000 Jupiter-sized planets. Dr. William Borucki of NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffet Field, CA, would lead Kepler at a total cost to NASA of $286 million.

* The Interior Structure and Internal Dynamical Evolution of Jupiter (INSIDE Jupiter) mission is a Jupiter orbiter designed to observe and measure processes occurring within the Jovian magnetosphere and atmosphere. INSIDE Jupiter would determine the internal structure of the planet by obtaining high resolution maps of the magnetic and gravity fields. Dr. Edward J. Smith of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, would lead INSIDE Jupiter at a total cost to NASA of $296 million.

* The Dawn mission intends to orbit Vesta and Ceres, two of the largest asteroids in the solar system. According to current theories, the very different properties of Vesta and Ceres are the result of the asteroids being formed and evolving in different parts of the solar system. By observing both asteroids with the same set of instruments, Dawn would probe the early solar system as well as determine in detail the properties of each asteroid. Dr. Christopher T. Russell of the University of California at Los Angeles would lead Dawn at a total cost to NASA of $271 million.

* A U.S. contribution to the French-led NetLander mission will add unique capabilities to each of the four landers and the orbiter which comprise the mission. In 2007, NetLander will create the first science network on Mars to study the planet's internal structure. The American contribution includes short period seismometers and wind sensors on the landers, and a high-resolution geodesy instrument on the orbiter. Dr. W. Bruce Banerdt of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will lead the U.S. contribution to NetLander at a total cost to NASA of $35 million.

The Discovery Program is designed to provide frequent, low-cost access to space for planetary missions and missions to search for planets around other stars. The selected science missions must be ready for launch before September 30, 2006, within the Discovery Program's cap on each mission's cost to NASA of $299 million.

The Discovery Program is managed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, for the Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. More information on the Discovery Program is available at:

http://discovery.nasa.gov/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Aeronautics And Space Administration. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Aeronautics And Space Administration. "NASA Considers Discovery Mission Proposals For Space Exploration." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 January 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010105075904.htm>.
National Aeronautics And Space Administration. (2001, January 5). NASA Considers Discovery Mission Proposals For Space Exploration. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010105075904.htm
National Aeronautics And Space Administration. "NASA Considers Discovery Mission Proposals For Space Exploration." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010105075904.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

French Apple Fans Discover the Apple Watch

French Apple Fans Discover the Apple Watch

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — Apple fans in France discover the latest toy, the Apple Watch. The watch comes in two sizes and an array of interchangeable, fashionable wrist straps. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

Newsy (Sep. 27, 2014) — Researchers at the University of Michigan simulated the birth of planets and our sun to determine whether water in the solar system predates the sun. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) — A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts, including the first woman cosmonaut in 17 years, blasted off on schedule Friday. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Newsy (Sep. 25, 2014) — Scientists have discovered traces of water in the atmosphere of a distant, Neptune-sized planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins