The Downlink: NASA Considers Missions to Venus, Io, and Triton
NASA / JPL / Mattias Malmer (Venus), NASA / JPL / Jason Perry (Io), NASA / JPL / Ted Stryk (Triton)
Possible Destinations for NASA's Next Discovery Mission
Following a downselect in February 2020, the possible solar system targets for NASA's next low-cost Discovery-class mission program are Venus, Io, and Triton. They are not displayed to scale in this image.
Welcome to The Downlink, a planetary exploration news roundup from The Planetary Society! Here's everything that crossed our radar this week.
NASA announced the selection of 4 mission concepts that are under consideration to fly as part of the agency’s low-cost Discovery program. Of the selected concepts, 2 are vying for Venus, 1 is aiming for Io, and 1 is targeting Triton. The team behind each mission will receive funding for 9-month concept studies, after which NASA will pick up to 2 missions for further development.
The European Space Agency’s CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite, CHEOPS, successfully took its first test image of a star. The image shows a star located 150 light-years away and is intentionally blurry to spread the starlight out over more of CHEOPS’s camera. The goal of the mission is to precisely measure the diameters of known exoplanets. CHEOPS launched in December, and science operations are scheduled to begin in April. Learn more about CHEOPS here.
NASA plans to hire a new class of astronauts that could be assigned missions to the International Space Station, Moon, and Mars. The job requirements include U.S. citizenship, a master’s degree in a STEM field with related professional experience, and the ability to pass an astronaut physical. If you think you’ve got what it takes to join the astronaut corps, you can apply online between 2 and 31 March, 2020.
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