Welcome

Welcome to the Cockermouth Astronomical Society website. Hopefully you'll find all the information you need about our society and astronomy in West Cumbria here. If not contact us.

Wednesday, November 1

New Discovery Missions being considered

NASA has recently announced a number of potential Discovery missions which are being considered for approval. The Discovery class is the least expensive type of mission that NASA operate with a cost cap of $450 million. A number of proposals have been developed by various science teams. Three have been selected for further funding to work up the options. Following that, one more may be selected as a 'real' mission. The three missions being considered are a sample return mission to an asteroid, a probe to study Venus' atmosphere in more detail, and a mission to map the gravity of the moon and provide more details of its internal structure.

Also being considered are three proposals to use NASA existing probes for a new purpose. This concept sounds really interesting. Examples are reusing Deep Impact, which sent an impactor smashing into comet Tempel 1 last July, to visit another asteroid or even use its camera to look for extrasolar planets. Another example is using the Stardust probe to fly by comet Tempel 1 to look at the crater caused by the Deep Impact mission. These inventive uses for existing probes sound like a lot of common sense, lets hope they get approve.

Lots more details on these proposals over on the excellent Planetary Society Blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment