Blog entries by Van Kane
The final news for NASA's Planetary Science program is better than had been proposed, but still a substantial cut over the previous year. There may be serious future consequences as a result of the smaller program.
We now know the science goals for NASA’s next major Mars mission. The new rover will further the astrobiological search begun by the Curiosity rover and store samples for eventual return to the Earth, providing a stepping stone to the next stage of Martian exploration.
Last decade, cost overruns on a number of planetary missions stretched NASA's budget. Recent missions, though, have stayed within budget. However, the cost of fiscal discipline may have meant staying close to home.
An exciting new option to enhance NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid mission has been proposed by Steve Chesley at JPL. The ISIS spacecraft would impact asteroid Bennu to expose its interior structure to OSIRIS-REx.
Now that groups and individuals have had time to digest the proposed 2014 NASA Planetary Science budget, they are highlighting the impacts of the proposed cuts. We are also getting the first independent reactions to the proposal to bring an asteroid to lunar orbit as a target for human exploration.
No mission to Europa, diminished funding for outer planets missions, a small bump to small spacecraft missions, and an increase for asteroid detection are part of the White House's proposal for NASA in 2014.
Aviation Week and Space Technology reports that the President’s next budget request for NASA will include funds to begin developing a mission to bring an asteroid to the Earth-moon system. The initial goal will be to provide a destination for a manned mission to an asteroid, but if the idea works, it could kick start asteroid mining.
Last week, planetary scientists gathered for the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Only a tiny fraction of the presentations at LPSC dealt with future missions. Even so, this is still one of the best sources for insights into details of missions under development. In this post, I’ll cover some of the abstracts for the presentations that give a flavor of the breadth of the proposals.
Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!
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