Upcoming Tentative Space Missions of NASAApprox Read Time: 3 minutes
- NASA has recently finalized the four mission concepts as semi-finalists from more than a dozen proposals submitted by U.S. scientists last year.
- Each of the mission teams will receive $3 million to perform detailed nine-month studies to mature their concepts and present a report to NASA Headquarters.
The Four semi-finalist Missions:
- DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging Plus):
- It would drift to the Venusian surface and take precise measurements of its atmospheric composition, with an onboard camera taking images during the descent.
- The project will analyze the formation and evolution of Venus’s atmosphere and to analyze if it ever had an ocean.
- This will advance understanding of the formation of terrestrial planets.
- IVO (Io Volcano Observer):
- It is a proposal to explore Jupiter’s moon Io.
- IVO spacecraft would orbit Jupiter and pass near the moon Io, the most volcanically active body in the solar system.
- This will study the effect of tidal forces on shape planetary bodies.
- The findings could further provide knowledge about the formation and evolution of rocky, terrestrial bodies and icy ocean worlds in the Solar System.
- The project aims to explore Neptune’s icy moon, Triton.
- It is a “flyby” mission that would not enter orbit around its destination, would confirm or cast doubt on the presence of a subsurface ocean on Triton, Neptune’s largest moon.
- Trident would follow up on observations made by NASA’s Voyager 2 mission in 1989, which revealed Triton (nearly as big as Earth’s moon) harbors geyser-like plumes erupting from its icy surface.
- If those plumes originated from an inner ocean, that finding could extend the so-called habitable zone, the region around a star where liquid water exists and life is possible—to encompass the entire solar system.
- This can help in understanding the development of habitable worlds in the Solar System.
- VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy):
- It would orbit Venus and map the entire planet, building three-dimensional topography and seeking to learn more about why this broadly Earth-like planet lacks water and possesses a surface temperature hot enough to melt lead.
- The project will aim to map Venus’s surface to find out why Venus developed so differently from Earth.