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AlexBlackwell
I'm not sure exactly which forum this fits in but NASA has just released the AO for Discovery Program 2006 and Missions of Opportunity. See the Discovery Program Acquisition Home Page for more details. Click on the "Discovery AO" link to download the PDF.
djellison
All the documentation says there are guides to the current status of Stardust and DI at the library
http://discovery.larc.nasa.gov/discovery/dpl.html

but I cant find them ohmy.gif

Doug
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (djellison @ Jan 3 2006, 11:28 PM)
All the documentation says there are guides to the current status of Stardust and DI at the library
http://discovery.larc.nasa.gov/discovery/dpl.html

but I cant find them ohmy.gif
I'm not surprised. Typically, the supporting documentation for AO's isn't fully up-to-date when the AO is released. And based on past experience, I recommend one periodically check (and refresh) the DPL web page throughout the solicitation period as the library is updated based on proposal input, especially after the preproposal conference.

Note that the Discovery Launch Services Information Summary was updated last month.
djellison
The ELV doc is very interesting....I wonder how close that figure they quote for each performance target matches the bill from Boeing or LoMart.

Very interesting chart for DSN charges as well - trying to figure out a rough value - but with 5 contacts a week, 70m DSN access is about $2114 per hour *, with the 34m access being 1/4 of that. It must get to a point where the design of a telecoms system to go onboard a spacecraft is an exercise in accounting more than engineering.

Lots of excellent reading to be had in there - it'll be interesting to see the applications in a few months time.

Doug

(*PS - at say 128kbps, $2114/hr is roughly $37 / megabyte )
BruceMoomaw
About time! Sen. Mikulski managed to gum up this AO for 10 straight months with her personal insistence that the Discovery cost cap must be kept at $350 million. (Jack Dantzler said at the COMPLEX meeting that he is determined to compensate for that delay, and for the fiasco of the last Discovery AO, by picking two Discovery missions this time.)
helvick
QUOTE (djellison @ Jan 4 2006, 01:54 AM)
(*PS - at say 128kbps, $2114/hr is roughly $37 / megabyte )
*

And remember that that effective bitrate drops off following a square law, all other things being equal. So something that supports 4Mbps at Mars drops off to a fairly miserable 2.5kbps at Pluto.
ugordan
QUOTE (helvick @ Jan 4 2006, 10:12 AM)
So something that supports 4Mbps at Mars drops off to a fairly miserable 2.5kbps at Pluto.

It's nitpicking, but I get a figure of 5.9 kbps at Pluto's mean distance from the sun. How'd you get that figure?
djellison
Yup - the maths could get quite interesting. Is it worth spending perhaps $10m upgrading to a slightly heavier version of your ELV to get larger solar arrays so you can have a more powerfull transmitter and thus get more kbps and thus fewer sessions.

Might have had my maths a bit wrong earlier.....but this is all very very 'ballpark guestimation'

say 14 1hr passes of 35m coverage per week ( i.e. the daily uplink for MER plus beep back ) would be something like $2424/hr, or about $34k/week ( $1.7m/year ). The finances for doing MER Relay with Odyssey is probably quite interesting, I think it would probably be something like 1 hr of Odysseys downlink per day is MER related - so a similar figure.



Voyager
QUOTE (Voyager update in the middle of '05)
There were 90.3 hours of DSN scheduled support for Voyager 1 of which 32.6 hours were large aperture coverage
There were 76.5 hours of DSN scheduled support for Voyager 2 of which 25.9 hours were large aperture coverage


Say it's 28 sessions a week, 7 on 70m, 21 on 35m

$6745/hr for the 70m - $400k (as near as makes no difference)
$527k for the 35m - so that week's Voyager DSN ops cost about $927K.

Youch.

Very rough maths - probably very wrong to be honest.

7 x 8hr 70m passes per week, at 5kbps is $377,220 per week, for 984 MBytes - or $552 per floppy disk smile.gif

Doug
ugordan
It just goes to show it's time to switch to optical telecoms. No matter how many watts you pump into your RF transmitter, the vast majority of the transmitted power is simply wasted. The only positive thing a radio comm-link does is loosen the required pointing accuracy, of course due to the same dispersal of the signal.
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Jan 4 2006, 03:24 AM)
About time!  Sen. Mikulski managed to gum up this AO for 10 straight months with her personal insistence that the Discovery cost cap must be kept at $350 million.  (Jack Dantzler said at the COMPLEX meeting that he is determined to compensate for that delay, and for the fiasco of the last Discovery AO, by picking two Discovery missions this time.)
Did Dantzler indicate specifically what he meant by "two Discovery missions"? In the AO, the term "mission" denotes a stand alone Discovery mission, which is distinct from a Discovery Mission of Opportunity (MO).
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Jan 4 2006, 06:49 PM)
Did Dantzler indicate specifically what he meant by "two Discovery missions"?  In the AO, the term "mission" denotes a stand alone Discovery mission, which is distinct from a Discovery Mission of Opportunity (MO).

Section 1.2 of the AO does state: "It is anticipated that approximately three meritorious Discovery Mission investigation proposals will be selected for further study as a result of this evaluation." Note, however, that "further study" refers, I would presume, to the Concept Study phase and not to final selection. On the other other hand, the AO goes on to state that "[o]ne or more MO investigation proposals may also be selected either for study or for immediate implementation."

So, I'm not sure what Danztler's comment means. If he is "determined...[to pick] two Discovery missions this time," does that mean he is committing to final selection of two full Discovery mission investigations (or perhaps one combined with a Discovery MO)? Or is he just re-stating what the AO says (i.e., that three proposals might be downselected for concept study)? If the latter, then that's no big surprise.

Having said that, I wouldn't bet the farm on what is said (or promised) at these COMPLEX-type meetings. Indeed, is Dantzler, even though he is SSD Director and has a tremendous amount of input in the process, the final selecting authority for this AO? I would have thought that Mary Cleave, AA for the Science Mission Directorate, had the final say.
mcaplinger
QUOTE (ugordan @ Jan 4 2006, 02:23 AM)
It just goes to show it's time to switch to optical telecoms. No matter how many watts you pump into your RF transmitter, the vast majority of the transmitted power is simply wasted. The only positive thing a radio comm-link does is loosen the required pointing accuracy, of course due to the same dispersal of the signal.
*


I don't disagree, but...

Optical has the same problem, if you're counting as "wasted" any power that doesn't fall on the receiver's mirror. They're both EM radiation, after all. I'm not sure what the actual efficiency tradeoffs look like, but optical isn't such a slam dunk over RF from a system perspective, because the real engineering-acheivable efficiency gains aren't just the ratio of the wavelengths.

And there's cloudy days, what you do near conjunction, etc.

http://lasers.jpl.nasa.gov/PAGES/about.html has some good background, but obviously optical researchers aren't going to present a completely balanced story.

If you wanted to reduce operations costs for deep-space RF, there would be ways to reduce costs below those of DSN. Some Discovery teams have proposed using USN ( http://www.uspacenetwork.com/index.html ) instead of DSN to save costs.
BruceMoomaw
Dantzler made it clear that if it is at all in his power to do so, he will pick two full-fledged Discovery missions this time around (regardless of whether he adds any MOs as well). In fact, he went on at some length about the fact that Mikulski's move had ticked him off in part because, while he thought he could probably find ONE scientifically worthwhile Discovery mission below the $350 million limit, he thought it very unlikely that he'd be able to find two of them. (He also said that, if budget problems force him to, he'd be willing to stoop to picking that one $350 million mission simultaneously with a more expensive one.)

As for MOs, he hinted that more than one might be picked -- in fact, he said that there may be more than one simultaneous MO picked associated with the Deep Impact extended mission! He made a vague reference to the possibility of "interplanetary observations" for one such Deep Impact MO, along with a comet flyby for another. But I have some trouble seeing what kind of interplanetary observations they could make with DI that would be worth the trouble -- which makes me wonder whether he may really be thinking about flying DI past more than one additional target, CONTOUR-style. Given the need for as big a sampling of different comets and asteroids as we can practically get, it would seem the logical thing to do if it's possible.
BruceMoomaw
Footnote: Mary Cleave does have the final say, at least where New Millennium missions are concerned -- but I must say Dantzler sounded thoroughly confident that he could push this one through.
AlexBlackwell
BTW, for those of you playing along at home, the first set of questions and answers for the AO solicitation has been posted. Expect many more, especially following the preproposal conference.
djellison
Stardust info up on the library - and DI with a big library here
http://discovery.larc.nasa.gov/discovery/d...ct_package.html


It would seem they intend to beef up the stardust info after the divert manouver

Doug
AlexBlackwell
The draft agenda for the Febrary 2, 2006, preproposal conferences is now online. Note also that a few documents in the Discovery Program Library (DPL) have been updated, as well as the Q&A page.
AlexBlackwell
This post is tough to pigeonhole in any one distinct forum/thread, so I'll place it here.

A new report has been released by the National Research Council:

Principal-Investigator-Led Missions in the Space Sciences
Committee on Principal-Investigator-Led Missions in the Space Sciences, National Research Council
AlexBlackwell
This is a pretty interesting report, especially Chapter 6.

By the way, for those who are unfamiliar with online books from the National Academies Press (NAP), note that NAP is offering the entire report as a single free downloadable PDF. Just click on the "Download" button under "Free PDFs" and answer truthfully or untruthfully the few questions asked. This will set a cookie on your browser to download the entire 135-page PDF rather than having to skim the report page by page in the "Open Book" online format.
BruceMoomaw
Now, THAT's a useful piece of information, Alex. These things have driven me mad in the past.

Unfortunately, while the last chapter claims to set new guidelines on when a competitively selected mission should or shouldn't get cancelled for breaking its cost cap, it doesn't seem to provide any information that could tell us whether they're recommending the cancellation of "Dawn".
BruceMoomaw
Regarding possible solicitations to the latest Discovery AO: I've been looking for stuff on a possible resubmission of CONTOUR, and have found a piece by Dunham and Farquhar in the May 2004 Annals of the NY Academy of Sciences on the history of trajectory planning for APL's various deep space missions ( http://highorbits.jhuapl.edu/aplmisns.doc ). Be warned that this thing takes forever to download and display -- apparently due to all the drawings in it (plus one reproduction of NEAR's last photo of Eros' surface, with a basketball stuck in it to show how remarkably fine-scale that shot actually was).

At its very end, however, we have a mention of APL's definite plan to submit CONTOUR 2 to the "next Discovery AO" -- which I presume was the abortive one for Discovery 11 -- and a chart of several possible multiple-comet missions for it. All these assume a launch in Oct. 2007, followed by a flyby of Grigg-Skjellerup the following March -- which can't be done now, since the mission if selected this time can't possibly be ready that early. But they then include 2 Earth flybys, with the second in July 2010 -- which COULD be replaced by a direct launch from Earth on that date -- followed by a flyby of Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova in August 2011. After that there are several alternative mission continuations that would allow flyby of one more comet, and one that would allow flybys of two more: Finlay in Dec. 2014 and Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (the fragmented comet that would have been the original CONTOUR's second stop) in Sept. 2022. This last scenario would be followed by another Earth flyby in July 2027 that could presumably be used to set up a fourth comet flyby later, if the craft is still working.
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Jan 25 2006, 12:17 PM)
At its very end, however, we have a mention of APL's definite plan to submit CONTOUR 2 to the "next Discovery AO" -- which I presume was the abortive one for Discovery 11 -- and a chart of several possible multiple-comet missions for it.

If a "CONTOUR-2" is proposed and selected under the Discovery 2006 AO, and if the "Dawn re-rising" somehow materializes, I think a reasonable person might suspect the Discovery Program mission line is simply morphing into an asteroid/comet exploration program.
Phil Stooke
Alex said "I think a reasonable person might suspect the Discovery Program mission line is simply morphing into an asteroid/comet exploration program."

I see what you mean, but we do need to see a good number of these bodies to understand their diversity, and the number of things that can be done under the cost cap is somewhat limited.

Phil
JRehling
QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Jan 25 2006, 04:17 AM)
All these assume a launch in Oct. 2007, followed by a flyby of Grigg-Skjellerup the following March -- which can't be done now, since the mission if selected this time can't possibly be ready that early.  But they then include 2 Earth flybys, with the second in July 2010 -- which COULD be replaced by a direct launch from Earth on that date -- followed by a flyby of Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova in August 2011.  After that there are several alternative mission continuations that would allow flyby of one more comet, and one that would allow flybys of two more: Finlay in Dec. 2014 and Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (the fragmented comet that would have been the original CONTOUR's second stop) in Sept. 2022.  This last scenario would be followed by another Earth flyby in July 2027 that could presumably be used to set up a fourth comet flyby later, if the craft is still working.
*


When you say that an Earth flyby could be replaced by a direct launch from Earth, are you relaying a comment in the document? Energy considerations might mean that an Earth flyby accomplishes something that a direct launch could not.

I don't have the desire or the means to impugn the research that went into these mission alternatives, but the complexity of balancing scientific objectives with the very large number of possible comet trajectories makes me want to see a very large effort to generate comet/asteroid mission planning software, to get the most good out of the hardware and mission costs. As a computer scientist, I suspect that even a very good effort might miss some mission plans that are even better. And the ratio of cost/science seems to be better for ground planning than mission operations.

This sounds like a complaint in the absence of facts... it's really just a hunch that more resources for planning might be in order than anyone in the proposal business alone is going to muster before the first funds have been dispersed.
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Jan 25 2006, 05:50 PM)
I see what you mean, but we do need to see a good number of these bodies to understand their diversity...

I don't disagree, Phil. However, if this rationale is used to justify the Discovery Program being top-heavy with (or dominated by) asteroid/comet missions, then NASA should at least unequivocally state so. As I'm sure you know, proposers who wish to go after other solar system targets under Discovery expend a lot of resources putting together proposals that, assuming the preceding sentence is true, really don't stand a chance.

QUOTE (Phil Stooke @ Jan 25 2006, 05:50 PM)
...and the number of things that can be done under the cost cap is somewhat limited.

True, asteroid/comet missions are usually relatively cheaper than most, and as many have stated about Discovery's cost caps and future missions, "All the low-hanging fruit has probably been picked."
volcanopele
QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Jan 25 2006, 10:27 AM)
If a "CONTOUR-2" is proposed and selected under the Discovery 2006 AO, and if the "Dawn re-rising" somehow materializes, I think a reasonable person might suspect the Discovery Program mission line is simply morphing into an asteroid/comet exploration program.
*

What else is there? Mars has its own low-cost program (though does that include Phobos/Deimos, thinking of Aladdin here...). I guess there were a few Venus ideas last time around (can't seem to remember, VESPER?). Mercury has a mission already on its way. The outer planets are beyond the reach of this program. So that leaves...asteroids and comets. Oh our moon, I forgot about that...
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (volcanopele @ Jan 25 2006, 07:27 PM)
What else is there?  Mars has its own low-cost program (though does that include Phobos/Deimos, thinking of Aladdin here...).  I guess there were a few Venus ideas last time around (can't seem to remember, VESPER?).  Mercury has a mission already on its way.  The outer planets are beyond the reach of this program.  So that leaves...asteroids and comets.  Oh our moon, I forgot about that...
Aside from Phobos/Deimos, my personal favorite, which falls under Discovery's bailiwick, there are also opportunities for solar-type exploration missions (e.g., Genesis) or astronomical ones like Kepler.
BruceMoomaw
There are at least three Venus Discovery proposals coming up in this round:

(1) VESPER will be resubmitted -- despite the fact that Venus Express should achieve many of its goals. It will be jazzed up by adding the little "VAMP" entry probe that was separately proposed once before. (VAMP's descent camera, which could have provided only very fuzzy high-altitude views, will be replaced by an improved GCMS).

(2) Poor Kevin Baines -- having submitted VESAT five times and struck out repeatedly (sometimes by heartbreakingly close margins) -- has given up on it and will be submitting a cloud-level balloon with a GCMS for protracted atmospheric and cloud studies.

(3) Bruce Campbell will be proposing "VISTA", an orbiter with the kind of subsurface radar sounder that got kicked off Venus Express due to lack of funds (plus a radar altimeter that's higher-resolution than Magellan's, which might allow much better gravity mapping). It may actually be the same "VENSIS" sounder planned for Venus Express -- that is, a clone of MARSIS. He's very skeptical about the ability to age-date Venusian rocks because of their high temperature, and thinks that the stratigraphy which a subsurface radar sounder can provide may be the only way to properly sequence the geological events that actually happened on Venus -- including settling the major question of whether it really did undergo catastrophic resurfacing. He told me at the VEXAG meeting that he simply considers this higher-priority scientifically right now than getting higher-resolution SAR images of Venus, which he could have done if he had instead proposed a Venusian copy of his "Mars Scout Radar" proposal.

I don't think the Discovery program is being deliberately "morphed into a comet/asteroid program" -- but I do think that they are finally running out of really low-cost Solar System missions that can do really good new science (at least until new technologies gradually lower the cost of the missions again), and so small bodies are likely to dominate the program more and more. Certainly, given the need to sample as wide a variety of asteroids, comets and KBOs as possible, missions to visit multiple small-body targets would seem a good, cost-effective choice for the Discovery Program at this point.

In any case, Bush's lunar initiative has now devoured all possible Discovery lunar proposals -- and the Mars Scout program, from its start, included all Phobos/Deimos missions (thus infuriating Jeffrey Bell, who admittedly infuriates easily). As for extrasolar-planet astronomy satellites, keep in mind that Kepler's cost has mushroomed to over $500 million -- with NASA's new Universe Division neverthless continuing to support it on the grounds that it's now an integral part of the extrasolar-planet search program (which, as Andy Dantzler said, means that "I don't have to worry about the thing anymore.") If later extrasolar-planet Discovery proposals are likely to undergo comparable cost overruns, this of course reduces their chances of being picked. It will be interesting to see whether they get enough science out of the damaged Genesis samples to rule out any thoughts of a reflight -- especially since oxygen and nitrogen measurements were both its highest scientific priorities and the ones most seriously contaminated by the crash.

But those last two categories raise the question of whether it might be better for NASA to combine ALL its competitively-picked space science missions within the same cost band into a unified competition, regardless of whether they happen to be Solar System, astronomy, or Sun-Earth Connection studies. (I've already mentioned that the possibility has been raised of incorporating Solar Probe into the New Frontiers program, since it's in the same price range.) This would seem to be more scientifically cost-effective overall.
BruceMoomaw
Answering John Rehling's question: no, there's no specific reference in the Dunham piece to a direct 2010 launch from Earth being capable of sending CONTOUR 2 to Comet "HMP" (I flatly refuse to respell its name again) in 2011. But the flyby would be only 0.08 AU from Earth and only 0.04 AU closer to the Sun than Earth is, so I presume it could easily be done by direct launch with a small booster.
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Jan 25 2006, 10:16 PM)
...and the Mars Scout program, from its start, included all Phobos/Deimos missions...

My understanding is that exploration of Phobos and Deimos is not covered under the Mars Exploration Program (MEP), which also constrains and guides the science objectives of Mars Scout mission investigations -- at least that was the case under the first Mars Scout AO.
BruceMoomaw
Faith Vilas, Discovery Program Scientist at the July 2002 "Discovery Program Lessons Learned Workshop" ( http://discovery.larc.nasa.gov/PDF_FILES/DiscoMinutes3.pdf , pg. 5):

"Q: Are there any major changes from the last AO [for the next one in 2003]?

"A: Mars, Phobos, and Deimos will now be in Mars Scout -- so they are no longer in
Discovery."

I've seen no indication that they have changed this back since. Jeff Bell -- who was associated with the "Gulliver" Deimos sampling mission -- has been bitching about it to me for some time. I will agree with him and you that it doesn't make any sense; but then, that fact means that it fits in very well with the US space program in general.
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Jan 26 2006, 01:49 AM)
Faith Vilas, Discovery Program Scientist at the July 2002 "Discovery Program Lessons Learned Workshop" ( http://discovery.larc.nasa.gov/PDF_FILES/DiscoMinutes3.pdf , pg. 5):

"Q: Are there any major changes from the last AO [for the next one in 2003]?

"A: Mars, Phobos, and Deimos will now be in Mars Scout -- so they are no longer in
Discovery."

I've seen no indication that they have changed this back since.  Jeff Bell -- who was associated with the "Gulliver" Deimos sampling mission -- has been bitching about it to me for some time.  I will agree with him and you that it doesn't make any sense; but then, that fact means that it fits in very well with the US space program in general.

Thanks. I must have missed the change, but now that I read those minutes, I do vaguely recall it. I do know that Dan Britt et al. originally envisioned Gulliver as a Discovery Program mission.
djellison
If you think about it - for Discovery money, you cant' really do anything Jovian or beyond.

Mars is out, Mercury's done and it's unlikely you'd get a nod for another Mercury mission the next decade or so ( at least until Messenger has lived out its primary mission ) - and VEX is likely to teach us what else we might like to learn about Venus, but not for 5 years or so. Then you have Lunar missions - with LRO basically stealing that scene for the next few years.

So you're left with Earth orbital and L1/L2 type missions (Genesis, Kepler), or Comets and Asteroids.

Doug
tedstryk
Well, for Venus, an atmospheric probe might be possible. I wonder about a Mercury hard lander. Also, a Jovian entry probe mission has been mulled in the past, but it has always died based on the fact that the science that could be done on a discovery budget may not justify the cost of getting there.
Phil Stooke
Venus is relatively easy to land on, compared with Mars at any rate. I would like to see quite a few more landings, targeted for specific geologic units. I think they could be done as Discovery missions. But we've covered this ground before!

Phil
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Jan 26 2006, 01:49 AM)
Jeff Bell -- who was associated with the "Gulliver" Deimos sampling mission -- has been bitching about it to me for some time.  I will agree with him and you that it doesn't make any sense...
It does make perfect sense, however, if NASA has no intention of flying a dedicated Phobos/Deimos mission. Moving "jurisdiction" for any such mission to the Mars Scout line, for all intents and purposes, is a death knell since Mars Scout proposals must be responsive to MEP scientific goals. Neither Phobos nor Deimos rate high (if at all) under MEP. At least in the Discovery Program, missions like Aladdin and Gulliver had a chance, so, in this rare instance, I'll have to agree with your example of Bell's "bitching."
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (tedstryk @ Jan 26 2006, 01:48 PM)
Well, for Venus, an atmospheric probe might be possible.  I wonder about a Mercury hard lander.  Also, a Jovian entry probe mission has been mulled in the past, but it has always died based on the fact that the science that could be done on a discovery budget may not justify the cost of getting there.

Your examples show that there are many possibilities for non-cometary, non-asteroidal missions under Discovery, though a more significant cost cap increase would make alternatives more realistic.
odave
How about a solar mission - or has Sol's "low hanging fruit" already been picked?
tty
QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Jan 26 2006, 09:22 PM)
It does make perfect sense, however, if NASA has no intention of flying a dedicated Phobos/Deimos mission.  Moving "jurisdiction" for any such mission to the Mars Scout line, for all intents and purposes, is a death knell since Mars Scout proposals must be responsive to MEP scientific goals.  Neither Phobos nor Deimos rate high (if at all) under MEP.  At least in the Discovery Program, missions like Aladdin and Gulliver had a chance, so, in this rare instance, I'll have to agree with your example of Bell's "bitching."
*


It seems to me that the fastest and simplest way to obtain a varied sample of Martian material would be on Phobos. Rocks from every major impact on Mars must have ended up there and You don't have to go nearly as deep into the gravity well as for the surface of Mars.
Perhaps a mission for a future improved Haybusa?

tty
BruceMoomaw
Where solar studies are concerned, with one exception competed ones are suppposed to fall under the Explorer bailiwick rather than Discovery. The exception, of course, was Genesis, presumably because its main purpose was to do a really detailed isotopic analysis of the Sun's composition to provide additional insight on the formation processes of the planets. By itself, though, Genesis shows how fuzzy the borderlines between different basic branches of space science can be -- and again suggests the possibility that maybe NASA ought to lump ALL its competed missions within a single cost range together in one AO, rather than competing Discovery and Explorer (or New Frontiers and larger Explorers) separately. (The fact that small extrasolar-planet astronomy satellites are also put in the Discovery program rather than Explorer again shows the arbitrariness of this.)
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (tty @ Jan 26 2006, 11:30 PM)
It seems to me that the fastest and simplest way to obtain a varied sample of Martian material would be on Phobos. Rocks from every major impact on Mars must have ended up there and You don't have to go nearly as deep into the gravity well as for the surface of Mars.
Perhaps a mission for a future improved Haybusa?

Actually, perhaps a better case can be made for Deimos, as Britt et al. do with the Gulliver Deimos Sample Return mission concept (e.g., Abstract 1, Abstract 2, Abstract 3).
BruceMoomaw
As for Ted Stryk's suggestions: Venus entry probes are indeed plausible as Discovery missions, and in fact have been proposed from the very start of the program. So have Venus balloons: consider Ron Greeley's VEVA, which involved not just a balloon but one that would drop four little camera-equipped impactors as it blew over different parts of the planet.

But I imagine a Mercury hard lander, which would require a really major propulsion system, would probably be sufficiently costly that it would have to fall into the New Frontiers category (where it is one of the ideas being given serious consideration).

The same seems to be true of even a single Jovian entry probe (where presumably the goal would be to penetrate a lot deeper than the Galileo probe did, as well as coming down in a more representative part of the planet's atmosphere). However, one recent paradigm shift seems to be toward the idea that you don't really need deep entry probes to provide good compositional information on the other three giant planets -- and so the idea is now being strongly pushed that the next giant-planet entry probe mission should be a New Frontiers-class Saturn flyby that would just drop off two or three vented Galileo-type entry probes (or maybe even just one), with the flyby craft also observing the greater depths of Saturn's atmosphere with a Juno-type microwave spectrometer. This of course could also be done for Uranus or Neptune if we decided to do so before flying the much more complex Neptune Orbiter mission, although in that case you'd want to add a considerable number of other instruments to the flyby craft to make additional observations of the planet and its moons.

A Saturn Multiprobe Flyby, moreover, might be able to use solar power rather than an RTG -- just such a suggestion was made years ago, using a modified "INSIDE Jupiter" craft as the Saturn probe carrier, with no orbital insertion motor but a second pair of big solar arrays added.
JRehling
Other options would include smash-and-grab sample returns for airless bodies, with Mercury and Europa being the primary candidates of interest. Incidentally, an idea I don't recall seeing elsewhere would be a Stardust type mission with Saturn's *rings* as the object. (Jupiter's rings also an option.) Sampling the plumes of Io or Enceladus would also be possible, although if primitive species dominate, that would be a waste of money vs. a GCMS fly-through (which has been done, in both cases).
AlexBlackwell
A new document (Stardust Spacecraft Hibernation State) was added to the Discovery Program Library today.
AlexBlackwell
Presentations listed in the agenda for the Pre-Proposal Conference (February 2, 2006) are now online.
AlexBlackwell
Presentations from the Lessons Learned Workshop (February 2, 2006) are also now online.
AlexBlackwell
The AO has been amended. Click here for more details.
AlexBlackwell
The Q&A's have been updated.
bmnky
QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Jan 25 2006, 10:16 PM) *
(2) Poor Kevin Baines -- having submitted VESAT five times and struck out repeatedly (sometimes by heartbreakingly close margins) -- has given up on it and will be submitting a cloud-level balloon with a GCMS for protracted atmospheric and cloud studies.


Does anybody know the name of Baines' new proposal?
helvick
QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Feb 13 2006, 08:01 PM) *
The Q&A's have been updated.

Nice (for us at least) to see this re-iterated.
QUOTE
By default, all NASA science data from Discovery missions is public immediately. However, a short period for exclusive rights to data may be proposed with justification. The proposed period of exclusivity should be the shortest period that is consistent with optimizing the science return from the mission and, except under exceptional circumstances, may not exceed six months…

If only such a policy applied to engineering data.
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