NASA has a hard nut to crack. He must choose which of the four missions to accomplish


They all sound exciting.

It can be firmly stated that NASA employees do not have time to get bored. Not only is the agency supervising many missions of already launched vehicles, such as Juno or InSight, it is already preparing for the implementation of the next, i.e. for example sending the next rover to Mars or returning to the Moon in 2024. In addition, NASA always looks ahead, thinking and planning what missions could be successful in the future.

Unfortunately, the funds that NASA has at its disposal are limited. Therefore, the agency is not able to do everything it would like to do – no matter how exciting the new proposed missions promise to be. This is how the missions are outlined, which NASA described in its latest announcement, of which only part of it can be completed. Making a choice won't really be easy.

The fruits of Discovery

Proposals for these missions were developed as part of the Discovery program. Its purpose is to enable frequent implementation of space missions (focused on the study of the Solar System excluding Earth and Sun) with high scientific value and relatively low costs. The missions are selected on a competition basis from proposals sent by American scientific and university institutions.

Of the last proposals NASA chose four missionsthat would be worth realizing. Each team that is responsible for them will receive $ 3 million to be spent on refining mission plans. Once these plans are refined, the agency will have to decide which ones are best. This is important because NASA will not be able to complete all its missions. But what missions are we talking about?

Missions that will reveal the secrets of the Solar System

The first of the proposals, IVO (Io Volcano Observer), involves launching an orbiter into space that would look at one of Jupiter's moons – Io. Perhaps this mission would allow to explore the secrets of the so-called tidal forces, as well as to learn more about the moon itself. It is not even known if Io, one of the most volcanically active bodies in the Solar System, has an ocean of magma inside.

Other scientists have proposed that Venus would be the focus of NASA's future mission. DAVINCI + (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging Plus), because that is the name of the mission, would be to send a probe to the planet that would enter its atmosphere, and then analyze the atmosphere to find out how this arose and evolved, and whether Venus ever had an ocean.

As part of the next mission, TRIDENT, NASA would send a probe into space that would look at Triton, Neptune's largest moon, in a single flight. This probe would take pictures of the moon and try to find out if Triton has a subsurface ocean.

Last proposed mission VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy) is another mission that would be Venus. Within it, the orbiter would revolve around the planet, collecting data that perhaps would determine its geological history and understand why Venus developed so differently from Earth.

Impossible choice

Each of the mentioned proposals sounds incredibly interesting. Unfortunately, NASA will choose only two of them to be implemented.

Which missions do you think are the most exciting? I can't absolutely isolate the favorites.

Source: NASA