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Van KaneAugust 25, 2015

Outer Planet News

This post originally appeared on Van Kane's blog and is reposted here with permission.

NASA's Outer Planet Analysis Group is currently meeting to hear the agency's current plans and to provide the feedback of the scientific community on those plans.

Monday's presentations brought two pieces of news. First, in preparation for its Decadal Survey that will prioritize mission from 2023 to 2032, NASA has asked the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to review options for mission to Uranus and Neptune. The expectation is that following the large (Flagship) 2020 Mars rover and mid-2020 Europa missions, exploration of these planetary system will be the next priority for large missions. Any missions would likely arrive at these planets a decade or more after their launch.

The second piece of new was that NASA has selected two new planetary CubeSat missions. One will orbit the Moon, mapping water ice in permanently shadowed craters in preparation for human exploration. The other will stay in Earth orbit to be a micro-gravity laboratory to study the interactions of particles that eventually led to the formation of the planets.

I've placed copies of the slides from the meeting below. As I find out more details, I'll do dedicated posts in the future. All slides are from Jim Green's presentation; he's the head of NASA's Planetary Science Division.

Slide from the OPAG meeting
Slide from the OPAG meeting
Slide from the OPAG meeting
Slide from the OPAG meeting
LunaH Map CubeSat mission
LunaH Map CubeSat mission

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