Solar System Chatter

The Future of Solar System Exploration

NASA announced today it has narrowed down the list for the next low-cost Discovery mission to five spacecraft, one or two of which will eventually be chosen to launch around 2020. Two of the missions would study Venus -- DAVINCI would study the chemical composition of Venus’ atmosphere, while VERITAS (artist’s concept, right) would produce a global topographic map of the planet -- and three hope to study asteroids: Psyche would study the metallic core of an asteroid of the same name; NEOCam would perform a survey of near-Earth objects; and Lucy would make the first study of the Jupiter Trojan asteroids. Each group will get $3 million to design and conceptualize the spacecraft and mission objectives before NASA makes its final selections in September 2016.

Heather Goss is the Departments Editor at Air & Space.

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asteroid, Venus