“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, DC.
The Discovery program sponsors frequent solar system exploration missions with highly focused scientific objectives.
In September 2016, the final selections will be made for missions to fly as early as 2020. The proposals under consideration would study Venus, near-Earth objects, and a variety of asteroids. Out of five concepts, one or two space projects are expected to launch by 2021, said NASA. Nasa’s Discovery Programme requested proposals for spaceflight investigations in November 2014. Lori Glaze of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is the principal investigator. Suzanne Smrekar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California is the principal investigator.
NASA has unceremoniously and cruelly pulled $30 million in funding from the B612 Foundation, a courageous non-profit organisation which is now trying to put a killer asteroid-detecting satellite in orbit around the Sunday.
The Psyche project, too, plans to investigate smaller space rocks, flying to the metal-rich asteroid of the same – believed to be the result of a nasty collision with another planetary body – to work out how planetary cores are formed.
As for the Venus missions, VERITAS wants to use radar to map the planet’s surface, while DAVINCI would descend onto Venus’s surface, studying the atmosphere as it went. JPL would manage the project.
“Lucy” 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.
Artist’s concept of the NEOCam spacecraft, a proposed mission for NASA’s Discovery program that would conduct an extensive survey for potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids.
Near Earth Object Camera (NEOCam) is the another project which aims to find ten times the number of near-Earth objects as compared to those discovered till now. Harold Levison of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado is the PI; NASA Goddard would manage the mission. Amy Mainzer of JPL is the principal investigator, and JPL would manage the project. It’s the same program we have to thank for the Dawn spacecraft that recently captured a sunlit Ceres, the Messenger probe that crashed into Mercury after it ran out of power in April and the Mars InSight lander that’s now heading for the red planet.