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MarcF
I just read in a French astronomical magazine (Ciel et Espace) about the next proposals for future ESA missions (window 2015-2025), and especially about the Laplace mission to Jupiter and Europa.
Some info might be found here: http://jupiter-europa.cesr.fr/
Like Bepi Colombo, the mission should be composed of several spacecrafts: a Jupiter Planetary Orbiter (JPO), a Jupiter Magnetospheric Orbiter (JMO) and a Jupiter Europa Orbiter (JEO), and may be even an Europa lander.
Of course this would be done in collaboration with Nasa and Japan.
I read also about a collaboration with the JUNO spacecraft.
Any chance this will once become a reality ?
Marc.
tasp
Easy to propose a mission.

A tad harder to $ one.
Stu
QUOTE (MarcF @ Sep 27 2007, 11:39 AM) *
Any chance this will once become a reality ?
Marc.


Oh yeah, they even have a launch date: it'll launch the day after Elvis - and his co-pilot, Bigfoot - lands a UFO on the head of the Loch Ness monster, cheered on by a watching Lord Lucan sitting proudly atop Shergar...

Doubtful? Moi? wink.gif

Not meaning to put down ESA, they've achieved stunning space successes with Huygens and Mars Express and Rosetta, even if they don't actually realise it themselves, but as tasp pointed out, it's easy proposing a mission and entirely another thing funding and building it. The graveyard of Good Ideas and Intentions is full of the rusting bodies and faded blueprints of "Proposed ESA" spacecraft and missions, and the Aurora rover is peeping over the fence. I'd love to see ESA pull something like this off, but I think they'd be better off making sure their Mars rover actually gets built, and roves on Mars, before reaching for the Big ESA Book of Fabby Space Ideas and getting all excited about a meaningful and very costly relationship with Japan and the US before even asking them out... wink.gif
elakdawalla
I have some notes from Gerhard Schwehm's presentation on this mission from an OPAG meeting in May 2006...

--Emily
climber
QUOTE (Stu @ Sep 27 2007, 04:54 PM) *
Oh yeah, they even have a launch date: it'll launch the day after Elvis - and his co-pilot, Bigfoot - lands a UFO on the head of the Loch Ness monster, cheered on by a watching Lord Lucan sitting proudly atop Shergar...

Doubtful? Moi? wink.gif

Not meaning to put down ESA, they've achieved stunning space successes with Huygens and Mars Express and Rosetta, even if they don't actually realise it themselves, but as tasp pointed out, it's easy proposing a mission and entirely another thing funding and building it. The graveyard of Good Ideas and Intentions is full of the rusting bodies and faded blueprints of "Proposed ESA" spacecraft and missions, and the Aurora rover is peeping over the fence. I'd love to see ESA pull something like this off, but I think they'd be better off making sure their Mars rover actually gets built, and roves on Mars, before reaching for the Big ESA Book of Fabby Space Ideas and getting all excited about a meaningful and very costly relationship with Japan and the US before even asking them out... wink.gif

I keep this very post saved on my hard disk to remind you one day what you wrote!
...and I agree with you
remcook
Right now the cosmic visions programme has made its first cut, but several more will follow. a good chance only 1 or so planetary mission will come out of that
edstrick
Europe is now willing and able to fly what are essentially small flagship missions. Rosetta, loaded with instruments and a small but sophisticated lander is one. I think Bepe-Colombo, the Mercury mission is another. Like American flagsship missions, they'll be infrequent due to expense and effort, but worth it. It's the sort of ambitious but but not implausibly technically advanced mission they can pull off. What the mission unique science justifications that make it worthwhile, may be another question, especially if some advanced, high $ options like a Europe lander get discarded after study.
Mariner9
Bepi-Columbo is a great mission, but it was in preliminary discussions in the mid-90s and will likely launch around 2013-2014. Twenty years from concept to launch is a long time.

Exomars was supposed to be a fast track moderate sized mission, launching by 2011, but they will be lucky to make 2013.


It's unfortunate that they seem to have abandoned the lower cost, faster turnaround missions such as Mars Express, Venus Express and SMART. By pursuing those missions they had mission launches in 2003, 2004, 2005 ..... but now they will not have one until 2013 at the earliest.

For a while it appeared they had learned NASA's lesson about the perils of putting all your efforts into large, expesive missions, but it looks like that lesson got lost somewhere along the line.
Paolo
You forgot a relatively small mission, the Solar Orbiter (which is my preferred future ESA mission)
http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=45
Paolo
QUOTE (Mariner9 @ Sep 29 2007, 08:26 PM) *
Bepi-Columbo is a great mission, but it was in preliminary discussions in the mid-90s and will likely launch around 2013-2014. Twenty years from concept to launch is a long time.


Actually, Europe has been studying Mercury orbiters since the late 60s
edstrick
I'd have to dig out <can't get at it now> The NASA SP publication on asteroids from about 1970 that was the first prototype of a Univ of Arizona Press Space Science monster conference volume. Ideas like Dawn were well studied at a sketch level then. It was abundantly clear that the only good way to explore the belt with plausible technology was with ion drive missions.
rlorenz
QUOTE (Mariner9 @ Sep 29 2007, 02:26 PM) *
Bepi-Columbo is a great mission, but it was in preliminary discussions in the mid-90s and will likely launch around 2013-2014.
....
It's unfortunate that they seem to have abandoned the lower cost, faster turnaround missions such as Mars Express, Venus Express and SMART. By pursuing those missions they had mission launches in 2003, 2004, 2005 ..... but now they will not have one until 2013 at the earliest.

For a while it appeared they had learned NASA's lesson about the perils of putting all your efforts into large, expesive missions, but it looks like that lesson got lost somewhere along the line.


I agree MEx and (especially) VEx have been great missions for ESA to do - high scientific payoff, doing
things NASA hadnt got round to doing/hadnt thought of. (Smart-1 is a different case - it was a technology
demo mission, and it is not clear its science results have been terribly profound).

However, there are only so many low-hanging fruit in the solar system, wherein significant scientific
advances can be had for Discovery-class investments (which, roughly speaking, MEx/VEx were). At that
level you can do Mars/Venus orbiters (so maybe now there's a niche for a Mars SAR, Mars Aeronomy),
the moon, and nearby small bodies.

With a big enough budget, you want a balanced program of large and small missions (e.g. see Solar System
Roadmap). But if the budget is small (as, basically, ESA's science program budget is), what do you do - fly
small missions for the sake of flying something often, even if it does not answer priority science questions,
or save up to do fewer, but more significant, science-driven missions?

Both NASA and ESA are confronting this issue, which may lead them to consider more joint missions....Laplace
and TANDEM being prime examples.
ngunn
TANDEM has its own site with lots of detailed notes and a splendid slide presentation freely available. Can you point me towards anything similar for LAPLACE? Unfortunately the stuff linked in post 1 above seems to be password controlled.
gndonald
QUOTE (edstrick @ Oct 1 2007, 05:00 PM) *
I'd have to dig out <can't get at it now> The NASA SP publication on asteroids from about 1970 that was the first prototype of a Univ of Arizona Press Space Science monster conference volume. Ideas like Dawn were well studied at a sketch level then. It was abundantly clear that the only good way to explore the belt with plausible technology was with ion drive missions.


[off topic]

NASA was looking at 'Solar Electric' (Ion Drive) missions from the early 60's to about the early/mid 70's, they even considered using them to get to Jupiter and to perform Ulysses style missions above the ecliptic.

See Study of a common solar-electric-propulsion upper stage for high-energy unmanned missions. Volume 2 - Technical Final report(14mb) for all the details of the planned 'mission bus'.

[/off topic]
vjkane
I am beginning to doubt that ESA will pick either of the two outer planet missions for their next big mission.

For Jupiter, NASA and ESA have fundamentally different mission architectures. NASA is looking at single craft with a large science payload. (~170kg) ESA has been looking at a split mission in which one craft stays in the outer Jovian system and provides a communications relay while a small orbiter (with a fairly small science payload ~43kg) is placed in orbit around Europa. (The third craft in Laplace, as I understand it, would be a Japanese supplied craft to study the magnetosphere.) (My comments on the Laplace design are based on the ESA Jovian minisat study, which I understand is the basis for Laplace. Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

Neither of the NASA options (a Europa or Ganymede orbiter) has the mass reserve for an additional spacecraft. I also cannot imagine NASA depending on a second craft to handle the communications relay rather than simply building that into their orbiter. Given that, what role could an ESA spacecraft play? At today's exchange rate, 640M euros is roughly $1B, which is the cost of Juno, which is as simple of an orbiter as could be built. However, the purchasing power of the 640M euros in Europe is really more like $640M (unless ESA builds the craft in the United States). So what could ESA add to a Jupiter mission for 2/3 the purchasing power of Juno? Possibly a 3-axis stabilized outer moon flyby/remote Jupiter and Io observer craft. But to fit that into $640M purchasing power, someone else would have to provide the launcher. (Neither NASA option has sufficient mass margin for a second piggy back craft of any size).

For a Titan mission, there are three key pieces of technology development required. The first is aerocapture, which will not be tried out in the next New Millennium mission. Also, presentations on the mission have discussed the need for technology development for the balloon material and operation in a cryogenic environment. Given three pieces of undeveloped technology, I suspect that NASA will pass on Titan for the next Flagship mission. (The Europa mission has had 10-15 years of technology development and has the technology available now that it needs.) Europe could make a major contribution to a multi-craft Titan mission, but again, I don't think NASA will pick it. Instead, I expect NASA to begin funding the technology development for a Titan mission to be selected about 10 years from now.

Unfortunately, $640M in purchasing power just doesn't buy that much for outer planet missions. It would be possible for ESA to build substantial portions of a single Jupiter bound craft, but I don't know if that would provide the visibility that ESA would deserve for that large of an investment.

Now, if I were king and could supply a launch vehicle, I'd love to see ESA fly either a outer moon flyby/remote Jupiter and Io observer or a Ganymede orbiter to compliment a large Europa orbiter. Either would be a killer mission that could be solar powered and would not have extreme radiation problems.
Paolo
QUOTE (gndonald @ Nov 3 2007, 03:34 PM) *
[off topic]

NASA was looking at 'Solar Electric' (Ion Drive) missions from the early 60's to about the early/mid 70's, they even considered using them to get to Jupiter and to perform Ulysses style missions above the ecliptic.

See Study of a common solar-electric-propulsion upper stage for high-energy unmanned missions. Volume 2 - Technical Final report(14mb) for all the details of the planned 'mission bus'.

[/off topic]



The original European proposal for the out-of-the-ecliptic mission was also to be electric engine powered. This image is taken from a ESRO document of 1972
rlorenz
QUOTE (vjkane @ Nov 4 2007, 12:00 PM) *
........
However, the purchasing power of the 640M euros in Europe is really more like $640M (unless ESA builds the craft in the United States).

I'd be interested in your rationale for that remark.
My sense, having worked in both environments, is that the purchasing power in Europe is (or at least was)
higher than the $$ equivalent - I think typically there are fewer warm bodies doing a given task in Europe (dunno
how the work hours add up, but the number of individuals is smaller). ESA does have issues like juste retour
which will surely decrease the fiscal efficiency of a project, so you might well be right, but I am curious why
you say so.

It is worth noting that the ESA mission cost reflects the platform only - the not insignificant costs of payloads
(and it is perhaps a semantic distinction as to whether you consider sub-vehicles like a French balloon as a
payload or a separate spacecraft) are borne separately by the member states, so perhaps 800 or more Meuro
might get spent in total in Europe on a '640 M' ESA project
QUOTE
....
For a Titan mission, there are three key pieces of technology development required. The first is aerocapture, which will not be tried out in the next New Millennium mission.


All the technology developments in all the NASA Flagship studies were rolled into their costs, and schedules are
laid out accordingly so in some ways that shouldnt be a discriminator (at least if you believe the radiation issue is
solved) so I'd like to think therefore that scientific merit will be the deciding factor. You can also think of the
technology developments as assets rather than liens - announce you are spending $$$/EURO on a Titan Flagship and
soon there are test balloons floating around, robot arms digging in tents drenched with liquid nitrogen, cool stuff
like that - tangible stuff people can relate to and see their money being spent. Drop all your $$ on an orbiter and,
well, you get an orbiter.

Editorially, I think without exception everyone I have spoken to sees an aerocapture demo as technically
unnecessary - more of a 'give warm fuzzy feeling to program manager' exercise. (Recall that Apollo was
qualified to do skip entry, the Russian Zond probes actually did it ; I think Constellation will be doing it; MSL
has guided entry which is functionally similar.... the demo requirement could be removed with the stroke of a pen)

Ralph
gndonald
QUOTE (Paolo @ Nov 5 2007, 04:45 AM) *
The original European proposal for the out-of-the-ecliptic mission was also to be electric engine powered. This image is taken from a ESRO document of 1972


It does not look dissimilar to the 'Solar Electric Mission Bus' that NASA/TRW were looking at around the same time, but then the engineering problems were identical, though NASA was looking at everything from close (0.1au) solar orbit missions to Jupiter flybys.

It's sobering to think that out of all of them only the comet rendezvous (Deep Space 1) and the asteroid rendezvous (Dawn) have been attempted, with the Dawn mission being closest to what was originally envisaged over 30 years ago.
vjkane
QUOTE (rlorenz @ Nov 4 2007, 10:07 PM) *
I'd be interested in your rationale for that remark.
My sense, having worked in both environments, is that the purchasing power in Europe is (or at least was)
higher than the $$ equivalent...

It is worth noting that the ESA mission cost reflects the platform only - the not insignificant costs of payloads
(and it is perhaps a semantic distinction as to whether you consider sub-vehicles like a French balloon as a
payload or a separate spacecraft) are borne separately by the member states, so perhaps 800 or more Meuro
might get spent in total in Europe on a '640 M' ESA project


Ralph raises some good points, especially that ESA's mission costs do not include the instrument development, which can run into very significant figures. I'd forgotten that.

As for my concerns about the purchasing power of the Euro versus the dollar, here is my thinking. It was not long ago that the two currencies were trading nearly 1 to 1 (early 2003, if I recall, and the two have bounced between that and the current ~1:1.4 since). Ideally, currency exchange rates would reflect only the relative purchasing power of the two currencies. While that is a factor, supply (there are too many dollars floating around the world) and demand (as American interest rates fall, so does demand for dollars) are responsible for a lot of the short term oscillation. So when the current Euro target expenditure is translated to dollars and today's exchange rates, it appears that ESA's next mission would be equivalent to approximately a New Frontier's class mission, especially when you consider that the instrument costs aren't included. If, however, you assume that the real purchasing power of each currency is approximately equal within its own geography, then the purchasing power of the Euro would be less than the current exchange rate would indicate. Clearly, this is a complicated subject that reflects many factors. NASA, I've read, calculates its own rate of inflation separately from the CPI because NASA buys largely within the States and what it buys often is custom designed and manufactured by well paid workers. I suspect that somewhere there is a group that tracks relative costs of aerospace procurement around the world, and that would be the definitive word on this subject.

I think a multi-craft mission to Titan would be fantastic. When I put on my ex-high tech manager hat (these days I'm getting a PhD in environmental remote sensing), technology development was always the biggest risk to a project's costs and schedule. With Alan Stern's focus on managing within fixed budgets, I think that the technology development of the Titan mission puts it at a competitive disadvantage. On the other hand, a significant contribution of foreign investment into the Titan mission might swing the selection.

Clearly, I don't have any inside track on what will be decided, but I am very interested in hearing the opinion of others who have more direct experience as Ralph does.
rlorenz
QUOTE (vjkane @ Nov 4 2007, 11:23 PM) *
As for my concerns about the purchasing power of the Euro versus the dollar, here is my thinking. It was not long ago that the two currencies were trading nearly 1 to 1 (early 2003, if I recall, and the two have bounced between that and the current ~1:1.4 since). Ideally, currency exchange rates would reflect only the relative purchasing power of the two currencies. While that is a factor, supply (there are too many dollars floating around the world) and demand (as American interest rates fall, so does demand for dollars) are responsible for a lot of the short term oscillation. So when the current Euro target expenditure is translated to dollars and today's exchange rates, it appears that ESA's next mission would be equivalent to approximately a New Frontier's class mission, especially when you consider that the instrument costs aren't included. If, however, you assume that the real purchasing power of each currency is approximately equal within its own geography, then the purchasing power of the Euro would be less than the current exchange rate would indicate. Clearly, this is a complicated subject that reflects many factors. NASA, I've read, calculates its own rate of inflation separately from the CPI because NASA buys largely within the States and what it buys often is custom designed and manufactured by well paid workers. I suspect that somewhere there is a group that tracks relative costs of aerospace procurement around the world


Yeah - I guess we need something like the Economist's Big Mac Index for spacecraft. This index
factors purchasing power into exchange rates
http://www.economist.com/markets/Bigmac/Index.cfm

e.g. in Feb of this year, a Big Mac was $3.41, but averaged Eur 3.06 (=$4.12), so for Big Macs at least the situation
is closer to vjkane's outlook of Euro worth less than a dollar. But as NASA's own avoidance of the CPI
suggests, spacecraft costs have less to do with what burger-flippers and beef farmers are paid than on the
number and seniority of engineers writing code and laying out circuits :my contention was based more on issues
like the heavy regulatory burden on NASA (e.g. I think New Horizons had to pay for special cameras at the cape
to be able to track the RTGs if they fell off in a launch explosion...), the pool of young technical talent (lots
of people from some countries have to do some kind of 'military service', which in many cases can simply
be some technologically-related work that may not get charged to a project,plus I think more students are
dragged in to do work in Europe that better-paid engineers might be required to do in the USA). On the other
hand, people work fewer hours in Europe, so there are a lot of factors.

Yeah, definitely need a Beagle Index or something. If anyone out there can contribute hard numbers to this
discussion it would be most appreciated.
rlorenz
QUOTE (vjkane @ Nov 4 2007, 11:23 PM) *
I think a multi-craft mission to Titan would be fantastic. When I put on my ex-high tech manager hat (these days I'm getting a PhD in environmental remote sensing), technology development was always the biggest risk to a project's costs and schedule. With Alan Stern's focus on managing within fixed budgets, I think that the technology development of the Titan mission puts it at a competitive disadvantage. On the other hand, a significant contribution of foreign investment into the Titan mission might swing the selection.


Again, like the technology developments being seen as visible and exciting use of funds, the multiple-element
nature of a Titan mission is in some sense a risk reduction
(one can at least track the balloon from the ground a la Huygens VLBI/Doppler, and some
modest DTE capability can be easily implemented on a lander, and without too much difficulty on a balloon)

So, indeed there are more bits to go wrong (i.e probability of science return = 100% is less),
but by ensuring at least some science can be returned from the in-situ platforms even if the
orbiter fails, then the probability of science return = 0% is far lower than in a pure orbiter case.

It all depends what risk/science profile you want. Titan at least has lots of options to choose from.
vjkane
A modest proposal:

The concurrent consideration of the next Flagship, ESA major mission, and New Frontiers does open up one possibility.

NASA could totally fund either a Jovian or Titan mission as its next Flagship mission. Then the ESA funding and New Frontiers funding together could fund a more modest mission to which ever body didn't get selected for the Flagship mission.

So, it's theoretically possible we could get missions to both bodies in the next decade.
ngunn
That's exactly the scenario I've been quietly hoping for. Both need doing so let's lobby for both. I've never gone along with the 'better not push for B in case A suffers' school of thought.
djellison
Which of the two (Jovian or Saturnian) splits up the simplest (i.e. Cassini+Huygens level split). Would one 'half' be a SEP module perhaps, in trade for a few instrument slots.

Doug
vjkane
full inline quote removed - Doug

If I remember the $1B box studies (I'm not at home where I have the presentations), a Titan balloon mission without a relay (i.e., the balloon gondola has its own antenna) was around $1.5B. My guess is that the balloon + gondola portion (and maybe the entry shell) would be about $6-800M, which could be ESA contribution. (And this would take advantage of the French balloon expertise.) NASA could provide the launch and carrier craft plus mission operations and tracking.

For Jupiter, I think that $1.5B would buy a Galilean satellite tour craft (flybys only). Here, splitting costs seems harder. One possibility is that the two craft mini-sat idea proposed by ESA (and is the core of Laplace, I believe) might work. But I have my doubts.
power
QUOTE (ngunn @ Nov 1 2007, 12:22 PM) *
TANDEM has its own site with lots of detailed notes and a splendid slide presentation freely available. Can you point me towards anything similar for LAPLACE? Unfortunately the stuff linked in post 1 above seems to be password controlled.

some of the information are here http://jupiter-europa.cesr.fr/ (part of the content is also password controlled)
ngunn
Interestingly while TANDEM seems to be ahead of Laplace at ESA, from NASA we now have OPAG final reports for all the likely targets except Titan. I wonder if there is any significance in this?
djellison
I assume Ralph et.al. are still working on theirs.

Doug
ngunn
I assume so too, but I note that Ralph Lorenz, Jonathan Lunine and Carolyn Porco also all have their names on the cover of the ESA-instigated international TANDEM proposal.
Geographer
It seems pertinent to suggest ESA and NASA should coordinate missions to Jupiter and Europa to avoid redundancies. The NASA OPAG reports have several mission ideas to Jupiter and Europa around the same time scale. ESA could send a probe to Jupiter and NASA a probe to Saturn or Neptune, or at least use different instruments if they're both going to Jupiter.
djellison
QUOTE (Geographer @ Nov 22 2007, 02:00 PM) *
It seems pertinent to suggest ESA and NASA should coordinate missions to Jupiter and Europa....


And Saturn and Titan and Enceladus.

Doug
mps
Russia is to participate in the Laplace mission. Read more here
nprev
A lander, no less!!! smile.gif

Well...we can only hope, but frankly I'm not optimistic.
vjkane
Getting a mission into the $2B frame that NASA is looking for + ESA's 600M Euros is likely to require using a smaller launcher. If Russia is to contribute a lander, it would either have to be *very* light (a hard lander?) or they would have to supply their own launcher. However, splitting a Jovian ensemble of craft into a couple of different launchers would really add a lot of flexibility
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