NASA Scientists Propose Missions to Venus, Asteroid Psyche, Near-Earth Objects

Lucy: the mission would perform the first reconnaissance of the Jupiter Trojan asteroids, objects thought to hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the Solar System.


The five missions selected by NASA are VERITAS, DAVINCI, NEOCam, Lucy, and Psyche. The fan selections from the proposals will be made in September 2016 for continued development leading up to launch.

“Dynamic and exciting missions like these hold promise to unravel the mysteries of our solar system and inspire future generations of explorers”, Grunsfeld added.

NASA announced last week that it has selected five investigations for further study its 13th competition for new, small, robotic missions into our solar system.

“[The Discovery Program announcement] sends a very positive message that it’s time to go back to Venus“, Glaze told Science Magazine. Suzanne Smrekar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is the principal investigator.

DAVINCI (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging): this mission would study the chemical composition of Venus’ atmosphere during a 63-minute descent. Linda Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State is the PI of the mission, which would be managed by JPL. The mission is expected to be managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Psyche mission is created to gather more data on a mysterious metallic asteroid in the asteroid belt.

NEOCam (Near Earth Object Camera), a space telescope that would detect possibly thousands of previously unknown asteroids and comets, especially ones that are considered potentially hazardous to Earth in the event of a collision. JPL would also manage this mission.

In 2014, NASA’s Discovery Program invited agency’s scientists to submit proposals for spaceflight investigations. Harold Levison of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado is the PI; NASA Goddard would manage the mission.

For its next major mission to launch in or around 2020, NASA has narrowed its focus to two primary objectives: Venus or the Solar System’s asteroids. The submissions that didn’t make it to the final round include a life-hunting mission to Saturn’s ocean-harboring moon Enceladus, a mission to Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io, and several projects that would have explored Mars’ two tiny moons, Phobos and Deimos. The program has funded and developed 12 missions to date, including MESSENGER, Dawn, Stardust, Deep Impact, Genesis and GRAIL, and is now completing development of InSight.


Every examination will get $4.2 million to lead idea configuration studies and investigations, with NASA choosing which mission to set out on by September 2016.

NASA Reveals Five of its Future Space Exploration Missions