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Future Planetary Exploration
JRehling
post Jan 5 2017, 04:19 AM
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Casting a quick eye ahead to the New Frontiers possibilities, two of the options were related to Discovery selections from this time around… Lucy fulfills one of the NF options and the Venus missions could have fulfilled one but did not.

Another NF option is a lunar far side sample return, and I wonder if China might accomplish that… they're planning a far side landing and a sample return, but not necessarily a far side sample return.

If so, the wholly unfulfilled NF options are:

Comet sample return
Io mission in Jupiter orbit
Ocean worlds (Enceladus, Titan)
Saturn entry probe
VISE (unspecific, but ambitious, mission to Venus)

Small bodies are on a roll after getting two Discovery missions. That would continue if the comet sample return is chosen.

EDIT: The Io option is only for the fifth NF selection, not the next one. One might also note that analysis of Stardust samples is ongoing, which possibly interacts with the comet sample return selection, although the NF priorities were drawn up with that already in mind. It's also interesting to note that three separate targets in the Saturn system are indicated.

Both the "ocean worlds" and VISE missions are highly uncertain as to possible architectures. This was also true of the NF priority for Jupiter, which early on involved consideration of an entry probe, but ended with the selection of the Juno orbiter.
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TheAnt
post Jan 5 2017, 05:45 PM
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Both are highly interesting missions, and they do get a thumbs up from me.
I am certain all or at least most here would approve on a more aggressive space explanation program- and at least me, science in general. (Like Rehling I would love to see an Io mission.)
So I cannot but wonder if the choice might have bee made for a bit more than just the science return.
Psyche is after all the potentially a most valuable chunk, and both missions also will be a first flight to new kinds of targets.

The Lucy mission is unusual that it will attempt to study both leading and trailing Trojans, well at least one of the latter - a bold idea, but it will mean that all will be flybys.
It will provide some data much earlier since it will do a flyby of one regular asteroid belt object on the first outward leg though.
Then to fly back to the vicinity of Earth's orbit around the Sun, and then to swing out to one last encounter on the opposite Lagrange 5 side.
So they have managed to get six science targets in a single mission, and perhaps after doing a telescopic search they might even be able to add one or two more - who knows.
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HSchirmer
post Jan 5 2017, 07:43 PM
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QUOTE (TheAnt @ Jan 5 2017, 06:45 PM) *
The Lucy mission is unusual that it will attempt to study both leading and trailing Trojans, well at least one of the latter - a bold idea, but it will mean that all will be flybys.
...
So they have managed to get six science targets in a single mission,


Lots of targets in one mission,
Wasn't there a proposal for a "kamikaze" asteroid belt mission long ago?
Retrograde orbit through the main asteroid belt, following Jupiter's 3:1 kirkwood gap,
Would have had about 2,000 targets within 1/10th AU...



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JRehling
post Jan 6 2017, 03:48 AM
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QUOTE (HSchirmer @ Jan 5 2017, 12:43 PM) *
Lots of targets in one mission,
Wasn't there a proposal for a "kamikaze" asteroid belt mission long ago?
Retrograde orbit through the main asteroid belt, following Jupiter's 3:1 kirkwood gap,


As far as I know, I was the first person to advance that idea. Although I'd be happy to be proven wrong.
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TheAnt
post Jan 6 2017, 03:58 PM
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@JRehling. I looked it up and you did in deed in 2007, some horse memory there. smile.gif
An guesstimate figure in that thread that such a mission would get close passage of about 20 asteriods.

The Trojan encounters for Lucy will be rather slow since they will happen when the spacecraft is more or less at the apsis of the orbit around the Sun.
So the speed might be slow enough to get images of the Trojans during more than one rotation.
That first passage of the main belt asteroid will be faster though so there we might only get high resolution images of one side.
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rlorenz
post Jan 7 2017, 12:06 PM
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QUOTE (JRehling @ Jan 4 2017, 12:30 PM) *
We'll know soon enough… I tried to play detective in sneaky ways to get the answer early; I think I can rule one of the asteroid missions out, but I'll keep that reasoning to myself.


Given the actual all-asteroids outcome, I have to say I am especially curious as to this reasoning....

QUOTE (JRehling @ Jan 4 2017, 12:30 PM) *
One thing I learned recently is that VERITAS had a proposed optional mini-entry probe that could steal much of DAVINCI's thunder.


'Had'. There was a TDO (emphasis T in TDO - Technology demonstration) probe in the step 1 proposal, as I understand it this was withdrawn in step 2.

Whatever 'thunder' it might have stolen, close consideration suggests actual science results wouldn't have been it, this 'dipping' probe (presented at IPPW last year) would not sampled below the homopause,
so the noble gas isotope ratios would not have been fully reflective of the bulk atmospheric history
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JRehling
post Jan 8 2017, 05:57 AM
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QUOTE (rlorenz @ Jan 7 2017, 05:06 AM) *
Given the actual all-asteroids outcome, I have to say I am especially curious as to this reasoning....


Quite simply, I looked at the Twitter accounts of the 4 PMs who have one, and tried to suss out if their recent tweets might provide clues as to their activity and/or location. The mission I thought might be ruled out was one of the ones that was actually selected. The clue I was trying to interpret clearly didn't mean what I thought it did, but then, there are a lot of variables in a person's life beyond the meager clues they dropped on social media.
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Explorer1
post Mar 25 2017, 10:15 PM
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Not sure where else to put this, but an award for further study of a tiny Apophis mission, among others: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-selects-c...concept-studies
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rlorenz
post Dec 18 2017, 09:40 PM
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Here it comes.... NF4 Phase A selections to be announced Wednesday
https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-to-...-system-mission
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vjkane
post Dec 20 2017, 03:19 AM
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I'll admit to a personal bias towards geomorphology missions -- geomorphology is key to my professional work. So my fingers are crossed for VOX (Venus orbiter) or Oceanus (Titan orbiter). But in writing my blog posts on the submitted missions, I realized the quality of the science any of the missions would do. So, congratulations to whichever teams are selected for the next round of studies. All would do great science.


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rlorenz
post Dec 20 2017, 07:52 PM
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QUOTE (vjkane @ Dec 19 2017, 10:19 PM) *
I'll admit to a personal bias towards geomorphology missions -- geomorphology is key to my professional work. So my fingers are crossed for VOX (Venus orbiter) or Oceanus (Titan orbiter). But in writing my blog posts on the submitted missions, I realized the quality of the science any of the missions would do. So, congratulations to whichever teams are selected for the next round of studies. All would do great science.


Well, not global geomorphology, but Dragonfly will give you some cool aerial photography on local/regional scales at least.....
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Explorer1
post Dec 20 2017, 08:59 PM
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Both proposals are great https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-inv...turn-moon-titan, so it will be very hard to choose; back to Titan, or seeing 67P (and Rosetta and Philae!) again? The changes over mutlipel orbits are surely worth a revisit.

In the telecon Steve Squyres said a sample return from the comet would land 2038, but they were still not clear on any launchers that might speed things up (over 20 years!).


Titan is so tempting as well, and a pity about Venus... sorely neglected by everyone but Japan and Europe, bu there's always the next Discovery round.
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rlorenz
post Dec 21 2017, 01:23 PM
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A paper on the Dragonfly concept is online at the APL Dragonfly web page

http://dragonfly.jhuapl.edu/docs/DragonflyTechDigestAPL.pdf

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vjkane
post Dec 21 2017, 03:46 PM
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It's interesting that what are potentially the two most complex proposals made it to the finals. My congratulations to the teams that proposed them -- their proposals must have been stellar.

In doing my research for my blog posts on the New Frontiers proposals, I learned how complex gathering a sample from some depth and potentially through a hard crust would be. There's also the problem of trying to preserve -- essentially keep frozen -- the volatiles in the sample. One of the three teams proposed not to try, and instead measure the volatiles through instrumentation. CAESAR apparently would return the volatiles (as would have the other proposal to return samples from P67). By comparison, OSIRIS-REx is seeking to collect "just" surface samples from a body not believed to have volatiles at the surface, and its sampling mechanisms are complex.

I liked Dragonfly from the time I first saw it, but feared it would be to risky for selection -- autonomous flight over poorly mapped terrain, uncertain surface conditions, and the like. That proposal must have been incredible to address those concerns.

My only concern about the finalists is that I'll be in my young 80s by the time they either begin exploring Titan or return a sample. The invention of warp drive would be much appreciated. tongue.gif


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monty python
post Dec 22 2017, 07:09 AM
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How do you keep parts of the copter from getting "crudded up"? Like camera lenses, propeller axels etc. And boy, that antenna better work!
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