Wednesday, December 30, 2009

NASA Chooses Three Finalists for Future Space Science Mission to Venus, an Asteroid or the Moon


NASA has preferred three proposals as candidates for the agency's next space venture to another celestial body in our solar system. The final project selected in mid-2011 may afford a better understanding of Earth's formation or perhaps the origin of life on our planet.

The proposed missions would explore the atmosphere and crust of Venus; return a piece of a near-Earth asteroid for analysis; or drop a robotic lander into a basin at the moon's south pole to return lunar rocks back to Earth for study.
NASA will choose one proposal for full development after detailed mission concept studies are completed and reviewed. The studies commence during 2010, and the selected mission must be ready for launch no later than Dec. 30, 2018. Mission cost, apart from the launch vehicle, is limited to $650 million.

"These are projects that enthuse and excite young scientists, engineers and the public," said Ed Weiler, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.These 3 proposals afford the best science value among eight submitted to NASA this year.

Each proposal team initially will obtain approximately $3.3 million in 2010 to conduct a 12-month mission concept study that focuses on implementation feasibility, cost, management and technical plans. Studies also will consist of plans for educational outreach and small business opportunities.


Post a Comment