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Blog entries by Van Kane

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

Van Kane • March 22, 2014

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.

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

Van Kane • February 19, 2014 • 1

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

Discovery Next

Van Kane • February 08, 2014 • 5

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.

Russia's Ambitious Planetary Exploration Goals

Van Kane • January 22, 2014 • 5

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.

Europa New Frontiers Mission? (Or why I like the Europa Clipper concept even more now)

Van Kane • January 07, 2014 • 3

Europa remains a top priority for a future mission to explore whether it could host life. While the Europa Clipper mission, remains the current front runner, a senior NASA manager has suggested that the agency may look at still lower cost options. Van Kane looks at what those options might be.

NASA’s New Planetary Mission Woes

Van Kane • December 27, 2013 • 2

NASA’s planetary science program depends on regular missions to solar system bodies to gather data. A combination of budget cuts and previous commitments to develop missions currently in the pipeline means that development of follow on missions may slow to a crawl. Van Kane looks at the current situation and NASA’s plans and then look at options the agency may consider if budgets remain tight into the next decade.

The ASRG Cancellation in Context

Van Kane • December 09, 2013 • 8

ASRGs could have stretched NASA's limited supply of plutonium to potentially enable missions to the perpetually-shadowed polar craters on our moon, to flyby Uranus, or to float for months on a Titan lake.

Will We Lose Cassini’s "New" Mission at Saturn to Budget Cuts?

Van Kane • November 12, 2013 • 5

NASA’s shrinking budgets for planetary exploration may force it to decide between continued funding for the Saturn Cassini mission and the continued funding for its Mars missions.

Europe Bypasses Solar System for Upcoming Science Missions

Van Kane • November 06, 2013 • 3

The European Space Agency has selected two astrophysics observatories as its next large science missions, overlooking every proposed planetary mission. ESA's current selection of planetary missions, however, means it will still be a major player in solar system exploration for the next two decades.

The Potential of CubeSats

Van Kane • October 23, 2013

Planetary spacecraft originally tended to be large missions. However, technology is shrinking, and before the decade is out, I expect that we will have at least one planetary mission based on a CubeSat.

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