[meteorite-list] NASA Selects Investigations for Future Key Planetary Mission (Discovery Program)

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Oct 2015 10:17:07 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201510011717.t91HH7SW028773_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


NASA Selects Investigations for Future Key Planetary Mission
Jet Propulsioni Laboratory
September 30, 2015

NASA has selected five science investigations for refinement during the
next year as a first step in choosing one or two missions for flight opportunities
as early as 2020. Three of those chosen have ties to NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The submitted proposals would study
Venus, near-Earth objects and a variety of asteroids.

Each investigation team will receive $3 million to conduct concept design
studies and analyses. After a detailed review and evaluation of the concept
studies, NASA will make the final selections by September 2016 for continued
development leading up to launch. Any selected mission will cost approximately
$500 million, not including launch vehicle funding or the cost of post-launch

"The selected investigations have the potential to reveal much about the
formation of our solar system and its dynamic processes," said John Grunsfeld,
astronaut and associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate
in Washington. "Dynamic and exciting missions like these hold promise
to unravel the mysteries of our solar system and inspire future generations
of explorers. It's an incredible time for science, and NASA is leading
the way."

NASA's Discovery Program requested proposals for spaceflight investigations
in November 2014. A panel of NASA and other scientists and engineers reviewed
27 submissions.

The planetary missions associated with JPL that were selected to pursue
concept design studies are:

The Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy
mission (VERITAS)

VERITAS would produce global, high-resolution topography and imaging of
Venus' surface and produce the first maps of deformation and global surface
composition. Suzanne Smrekar of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,
California, is the principal investigator. JPL would manage the project.


Psyche would explore the origin of planetary cores by studying the metallic
asteroid Psyche. This asteroid is likely the survivor of a violent hit-and-run
with another object that stripped off the outer, rocky layers of a protoplanet.
Linda Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, is
the principal investigator. JPL would manage the project.

Near Earth Object Camera (NEOCam)

NEOCAM would discover 10 times more near-Earth objects than all NEOs discovered
to date. It would also begin to characterize them. Amy Mainzer of JPL
is the principal investigator, and JPL would manage the project.

The two other selections are:

Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging

DAVINCI would study the chemical composition of Venus' atmosphere during
a 63-minute descent. It would answer scientific questions that have been
considered high priorities for many years, such as whether there are volcanoes
active today on the surface of Venus and how the surface interacts with
the atmosphere of the planet. Lori Glaze of NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is the principal investigator. Goddard
would manage the project.


Lucy would perform the first reconnaissance of the Jupiter Trojan asteroids,
objects thought to hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the
solar system. Harold Levison of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder,
Colorado is the principal investigator. Goddard would manage the project.

Created in 1992, the Discovery Program sponsors frequent, cost-capped
solar system exploration missions with highly focused scientific goals.
The program has funded and developed 12 missions to date, including MESSENGER,
Dawn, Stardust, Deep Impact, Genesis and GRAIL, and is currently completing
development of InSight. The Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA's
Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama manages the program
for the agency's Science Mission Directorate.

For more information about NASA's Discovery Program, visit:


Media Contact

DC Agle 818-393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
agle at jpl.nasa.gov

Received on Thu 01 Oct 2015 01:17:07 PM PDT

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