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Blog Archive

 

Mars and Europa: Contrasts in Mission Planning

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/07/19 02:08 CDT | 30 comments

Several announcements for proposed missions to Mars and on the planning for a NASA return to Europa that highlight the contrasts in planning missions for these two high priority destinations.

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Capitol Hill Responds to the Lure of Europa
The Planetary Society held a massively successful event to increase awareness of Europa

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/07/18 01:54 CDT | 2 comments

A standing-room only crowd learned the lure of Europa, the moon of Jupiter with more liquid water than the Earth, at a special Planetary Society event on capitol hill.

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Our Pathway to Exploration Should Start with the Asteroid Redirect Mission

Posted by Louis D. FriedmanTom Jones on 2014/06/30 06:01 CDT | 47 comments

Despite its rejection by the NRC Committee, we argue that the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) is an affordable and logical first step in such a sequence. ARM is not only consistent with the NRC Committee’s own principles, but is also the only near- term initiative that can shape their recommendations into a sustainable human space exploration program. ARM would launch U.S. explorers into deep space beyond the Moon, and fits logically into an exploration program aimed at Mars.

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A Checkup on Future Mars Missions

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/06/09 04:59 CDT | 3 comments

NASA’s Mars Exploration Analysis Group (MEPAG) recently reviewed plans by Europe, the Japanese, and NASA for future Mars exploration. The prognosis is for another exciting decade of Mars exploration.

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The Planetary Society Supports NASA's Asteroid Initiative
But we need to know the cost

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/05/27 01:02 CDT | 22 comments

The Planetary Society strongly supports NASA's asteroid initiative, including the goal of redirecting an asteroid to the vicinity of the Moon. But an independent cost estimate is needed, and needed soon.

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A Reluctant Dance Towards Europa
or, Why A Credible Europa Mission is Likely to Cost ~$2B

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/05/14 12:42 CDT | 15 comments

For the last two years, NASA has been the shy partner refusing to get on the dance floor, and Congress has been the aggressive partner insisting on a dance now. Recently, NASA has said maybe on another night but only if it’s a cheap date. While NASA says no for now, Congress looks to be willing to slip the band a cool $100M – on top of $150M already paid – to keep the music playing, but (to keep the metaphor going) has not been willing to fully commit itself to paying the bigger bill to rent the dance hall. The dance, of course, is the continuing attempt by Congress to have NASA commit to a mission to explore Europa, and NASA’s attempts to delay a mission well into the 2020s.

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Wow, an Increase of $170 million for Planetary Exploration
The House comes through yet again

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/05/07 01:56 CDT | 3 comments

The House revealed details of its draft NASA budget today, including an increase of $170 million to Planetary Science above the White House's request for 2015, putting it within spitting distance of our goal of $1.5 billion.

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The House Proposes an Extra $435 million for NASA next year
A powerful statement of support for NASA, will the Senate follow?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/05/03 01:43 CDT | 2 comments

Budget season is in full swing in Washington, D.C., and we're starting to see indications of how NASA will fare this year. I have to say, things are looking pretty promising.

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Your Europa Mission Primer of the Day

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/04/08 09:35 CDT | 1 comment

Trying to understand NASA's current efforts to explore Europa? Read this excellent piece on the recent, frustrating history to scout out this watery moon of Jupiter.

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Discovery Missions for an Icy Moon with Active Plumes

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/04/02 07:31 CDT | 8 comments

In December, scientists announced the discovery of possible plumes of water being ejected from Jupiters’s moon Europa. If confirmed, Europa would be the second moon with confirmed plumes after Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Two Discovery mission proposals for Enceladus suggest the types of missions that may be proposed for Europa.

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Further Analysis of NASA's FY15 Budget Proposal: Steady As She Goes?

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/03/22 10:23 CDT

The President’s proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget details were released last week. For the next several years, the budget proposes a steady as she goes plan, but with two “what are they thinking?” surprises.

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[Updated] To Europa!...Slowly. First Impressions of NASA's New Budget Request
My first impressions of the 2015 NASA Budget Request from the White House

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/03/07 11:20 CST | 5 comments

Europa may get a mission...eventually. We give our first take on the 2015 NASA Budget request. How does Planetary Exploration fare? Which projects were cancelled? Will NASA capture an asteroid? And most importantly, what can you do about it?

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NASA Wants to Explore Europa On the Cheap
Will science suffer with this arbitrary cost-cap?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/03/05 11:49 CST | 11 comments

NASA announced today that their Europa mission concept studies will be for a sub-$1 billion spacecraft, a lower level than previously imagined for a mission to this watery moon.

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Mission to a Metallic World: A Discovery Proposal to Fly to the Asteroid Psyche

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/02/19 07:45 CST | 1 comment

Imagine flying deep within the asteroid belt to study the most unreachable location in the solar system: the deep core of a terrestrial world.

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The 2014 Legislative Blitz is at Capacity!

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/02/11 06:25 CST | 1 comment

A tremendous response to our call for space advocates has pushed our small team to the limit. A great problem.

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Discovery Next

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/02/08 08:36 CST | 5 comments

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, the Discovery program is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get. The creativity of the scientific community has given us a wide assortment of missions in the past and is likely to surprise and delight us again.

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Mars 2020 Is No Redo
The next major mission to Mars will push the envelope in technology

Posted by G. Scott Hubbard on 2014/01/28 01:02 CST | 9 comments

The next major mission to Mars will push the technological envelope in way that preserves its budget and fulfills the scientific goals set by the planetary community for this decade.

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Russia's Ambitious Planetary Exploration Goals

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/01/22 11:58 CST | 5 comments

Roscosmos has ambitious planetary exploration plans in the coming decades, including a series of solo lunar missions and joint missions to Mars with the European Space Agency.

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A Note on the State of Planetary Science

Posted by Heidi Hammel on 2014/01/22 05:14 CST | 6 comments

Heidi Hammel, the Chair of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Science, reacts to the recent budget news and the uncertain future for planetary science at NASA.

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Continued Victories for Planetary Exploration
For the second year in a row Congress rejects cuts requested by the White House

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/16 07:33 CST | 5 comments

Pat yourself on the back. Planetary exploration will be more vibrant in 2014 thanks to you. More than fifty thousand messages were sent to Congress this year, and they listened, adding back a significant amount of money in the 2014 Omnibus spending bill.

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