Where NASA could go next — Venus, moons of Jupiter, Neptune?

Upcoming Tentative Space Missions of NASA

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Upcoming Tentative Space Missions of NASA

In News:

  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. TRIDENT:
    • 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.
  4. 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.

Also Read: Solar Orbiter blasts off to capture first look at Sun’s poles

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