. NASA Mission Named "Europa Clipper" 

. JUpiter ICy moons Explorer - JUICE

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TOPICS @ ACTIVE MISSIONS

. Incredible Space Travel of New Horizons to PLUTO

. MAVEN-Mars Atmospheric and Volatile EvolutioN

. The Fantastic Voyage of JUNO to JUPITER (Full Story)

. List of Active Spacecrafts Missions... Last update: February 2018

. Japan's Hayabusa-2 mission to Asteroid 1999 JU3

. OSIRIS-REx mission to Asteroid Bennu (1999 RG36)

Notes: The topography of Venus has only been seen by radar. The best radar images of Venus are from the Soviet orbiters, Venera-15 and 16, and the American orbiter Magellan.

Credit: Monique

 
 

 
 

All NASA missions progress through phases A to F, as early concept studies (A), operational or prime phase (E) and end of life (F).

Few Next Spacecrafts Missions

DISCOVERY MISSION

PSYCHE: JOURNEY TO A METAL WORLD

For the first time, a spacecraft will examine a world made not of rock and ice, but of metal. Psyche is the name of an asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter — and the name of an ASU mission to visit that asteroid. LEARN MORE

DISCOVERY MISSION

LUCY

NASA's Lucy mission, will  be  launched in 2021 for the first reconnaissance of  Trojans asteroids, a population of primitive bodies orbiting in tandem with Jupiter.LEARN MORE

TRIVA MISSION

BEPICOLOMBO

Scheduled for launch in October 2018, BepiColombo will be carry by the spacecraft Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) for almost seven years to reach its target. LEARN MORE

SOLAR SYSTEM  EXPLORATION MISSION

EUROPA CLIPPER

NASA's upcoming mission to investigate the habitability of Jupiter's icy moon Europa now has a formal name: Europa Clipper. 

JUpiter ICy moons Explorer - JUICE

NASA is collaborating with the European Space Agency (ESA) on this ESA-led mission to Ganymede and the Jupiter system. ESA plans to launch the mission in 2022 for arrival at Jupiter in 2030. It has a tentative model payload of 11 scientific instruments. The NASA contribution consists of three separate projects: one full instrument, Ultra Violet Spectrometer; two sensors for the Particle Environment Package suite of instruments; and the transmitter and receiver hardware for the Radar for Icy Moon Exploration instrument.

Feb., 2017, NASA'S EUROPA FLYBY MISSION MOVES INTO DESIGN PHASE

Artist's rendering shows NASA's Europa mission spacecraft

This artist's rendering shows NASA's Europa mission spacecraft, which is being developed for a launch sometime in the 2020s.

A mission to examine the habitability of Jupiter's ocean-bearing moon Europa is taking one step closer to the launchpad, with the recent completion of a major NASA review.

On Feb. 15, NASA's Europa multiple-flyby mission successfully completed its Key Decision Point-B review. This NASA decision permits the mission to move forward into its preliminary design phase, known as "Phase B," beginning on Feb. 27.

A highlight of Phase A was the selection and accommodation of 10 instruments being developed to study the scientific mysteries of Europa. The new mission phase is planned to continue through September 2018, and will result in the completion of a preliminary design for the mission's systems and subsystems. Some testing of spacecraft components, including solar cells and science instrument detectors, has already been underway during Phase A, and this work is planned to continue into Phase B.

In addition, during Phase B subsystem vendors will be selected, as well as prototype hardware elements for the science instruments. Spacecraft subassemblies will be built and tested as well.

The Europa mission spacecraft is being planned for launch in the 2020s, arriving in the Jupiter system after a journey of several years. The spacecraft would orbit Jupiter as frequently as every two weeks, providing many opportunities for close flybys of Europa. The mission plan includes 40 to 45 flybys in the prime mission, during which the spacecraft would image the moon's icy surface at high resolution and investigate its composition and the structure of its interior and icy shell.

The life cycle of a NASA science mission includes several key phases. At each step, missions must successfully demonstrate that they have met the agency's requirements in order to indicate readiness to move forward into the next phase. Phase B includes preliminary design work, while phases C and D include final design, spacecraft fabrication, assembly and testing, and launch.

For more information about NASA's mission to Europa, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/europa

NASA's upcoming mission to investigate the habitability of Jupiter's icy moon Europa now has a formal name: Europa Clipper.

The moniker harkens back to the clipper ships that sailed across the oceans of Earth in the 19th century. Clipper ships were streamlined, three-masted sailing vessels renowned for their grace and swiftness. These ships rapidly shuttled tea and other goods back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean and around the globe.

In the grand tradition of these classic ships, the Europa Clipper spacecraft would sail past Europa at a rapid cadence, as frequently as every two weeks, providing many opportunities to investigate the moon up close. The prime mission plan includes 40 to 45 flybys, during which the spacecraft would image the moon's icy surface at high resolution and investigate its composition and the structure of its interior and icy shell.

Europa has long been a high priority for exploration because it holds a salty liquid water ocean beneath its icy crust. The ultimate aim of Europa Clipper is to determine if Europa is habitable, possessing all three of the ingredients necessary for life: liquid water, chemical ingredients, and energy sources sufficient to enable biology. 

"During each orbit, the spacecraft spends only a short time within the challenging radiation environment near Europa. It speeds past, gathers a huge amount of science data, then sails on out of there," said Robert Pappalardo, Europa Clipper project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Previously, when the mission was still in the conceptual phase, it was sometimes informally called Europa Clipper, but NASA has now adopted that name as the formal title for the mission.

The mission is being planned for launch in the 2020s, arriving in the Jupiter system after a journey of several years.

JPL manages the mission for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information about NASA's Europa Clipper mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/europa

The Discovery Program currently consists of Discovery Missions, as NEAR, Mars Pathfinder, Lunar Prospector, Stardust, Genesis, CONTOUR, MESSENGER, Deep Impact, Kepler, Dawn, GRAIL, and InSight),  five Missions of Opportunity ( ASPERA-3, Moon Mineralogy Mapper, NExT, EPOXI, and Strofio), the Discovery Data Analysis Program, the Sample Return Laboratory Instruments and Data Analysis Program, and planning for future mission announcements of opportunity.
Missions that have visited Europa and the Jupiter System are Juno, New Horizons, Cassini, Galileo, Ulysses, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11

The Explorers Program

The mission of the Explorers Program is to provide frequent flight opportunities for world-class scientific investigations from space utilizing innovative, streamlined and efficient management approaches within the heliophysics and astrophysics science areas.

The program seeks to enhance public awareness of, and appreciation for, space science and to incorporate educational and public outreach activities as integral parts of space science investigations.

Explorers Missions Status


GOLD / Launch Date: 3rd Quarter 2017 / Phase D: System Assembly, Integration & Test, Launch
ICON / Launch Date: July 2017 / Phase D: System Assembly, Integration & Test, Launch
IXPE / Launch Date: November 2020 / Phase A: Formulation
NICER / Launch Date: May 2017 / Phase D: System Assembly, Integration & Test, Launch
TESS / Launch Date: March 2018 / Phase C: Final Design & Fabrication

Aug., 2017, RELEASE 17-069 - NASA Selects Proposals to Study Galaxies, Stars and Planets

NASA has selected six astrophysics concept study proposals as part of the agency’s Explorers Program.

The proposed studies would study various emissions from galaxies, galaxy clusters, and neutron star systems, as well as exoplanet atmospheres, as a way to fill in the gaps between the agency’s larger missions. Credits: NASA

NASA has selected six astrophysics Explorers Program proposals for concept studies.  The proposed missions would study gamma-ray and X-ray emissions from clusters of galaxies and neutron star systems, as well as infrared emissions from galaxies in the early universe and atmospheres of exoplanets, which are planets outside of our solar system.

The selected proposals, three Medium-Class Explorers missions and three Explorers Missions of Opportunity, call for focused scientific investigations and developments of instruments that fill the scientific gaps between the agency’s larger missions.

“The Explorers Program brings out some of the most creative ideas for missions to help unravel the mysteries of the universe,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “The program has resulted in great missions that have returned transformational science, and these selections promise to continue that tradition.”

The proposals were selected based on potential science value and feasibility of development plans. After concept studies and detailed evaluations, one of each mission type will be selected by 2019 to proceed with construction and launch. The earliest launch date would be in 2022. Medium-Class Explorer mission costs are capped at $250 million each, excluding the launch vehicle, and Mission of Opportunity costs are capped at $70 million each.

Each astrophysics Medium-Class Explorer mission will receive $2 million to conduct a nine-month mission concept study. The selected proposals are:

Arcus: Exploring the Formation and Evolution of Clusters, Galaxies and Stars

Arcus would study stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies using high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy to characterize the interactions between these objects and the diffuse million-degrees gas that surrounds and permeates them.

Principal investigator: Randall Smith at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Fast INfrared Exoplanet Spectroscopy Survey Explorer (FINESSE)

FINESSE would investigate the processes that govern planet formation and global climate, and probe the mechanisms that establish atmospheric chemical composition and shape atmospheric evolution. It would perform transit spectroscopy of at least 500 exoplanet atmospheres in the visible and near infrared range for planets ranging from super-Earths to sub-Neptunes to gas giants.

Principal investigator: Mark Swain at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization, and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx): An All-Sky Spectral Survey

SPHEREx would perform an all-sky near-infrared spectral survey to probe the origin of the universe, explore the origin and evolution of galaxies, and explore whether planets around other stars could harbor life.

Principal investigator: James Bock at Caltech in Pasadena, California.

Missions of Opportunity will receive $500,000 to conduct a nine-month implementation concept study. The selected proposals are:

Compton Spectrometer and Imager Explorer (COSI-X), a Small Complete Superpressure Balloon Mission

COSI-X is a balloon-borne, wide-field-of-view telescope designed to survey the gamma-ray sky at 0.2-5 MeV, performing high-resolution spectroscopy, wide-field imaging, and polarization measurements. COSI-X would map gamma-rays from antimatter around the Milky Way's center, as well as from newly-formed radioactive elements in the debris of stellar explosions.

Principal investigator: Steven Boggs at the University of California, Berkeley.

Transient Astrophysics Observer on the International Space Station (ISS-TAO)

ISS-TAO is a wide-field X-ray transient detector aboard the International Space Station that would observe numerous events per year of X-ray transients related to compact objects. The mission’s primary goal is the detection of X-ray counterparts to gravitational waves produced by neutron stars merging with black holes and other neutron stars. Other targets would be supernova shocks, neutron star bursts, and high redshift gamma-ray bursts.

Principal investigator: Jordan Camp at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

A Partner Mission of Opportunity (PMO) has been conditionally selected to provide detectors for the Fine Guidance Sensor assembly of the Atmospheric Remote Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-Survey (ARIEL) mission -- one of three proposed missions currently under consideration by ESA (European Space Agency). The PMO would proceed with construction only if ARIEL is selected by ESA.

The conditionally-selected PMO is:

Contribution to ARIEL Spectroscopy of Exoplanets (CASE)

CASE would provide packaged detectors to ARIEL’s Fine Guidance Sensor assembly. ARIEL would measure the spectra of hundreds of warm and hot transiting gas giants, Neptunes, and super-Earths around a range of host star types. Observations of these exoplanets will allow us to understand the early stages of planetary and atmospheric formation during the nebular phase and the following few millions of years.

Principal investigator: Mark Swain at JPL

The Explorers Program is the oldest continuous NASA program designed to provide frequent, low-cost access to space using principal investigator-led space science investigations relevant to the Science Mission Directorate’s astrophysics and heliophysics programs. Since the Explorer 1 launch in 1958, which discovered Earth’s radiation belts, the Explorers Program has launched more than 90 missions, including the Uhuru and Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) missions that led to Nobel Prizes for their investigators.

The program is managed by Goddard for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, which conducts a wide variety of research and scientific exploration programs for Earth studies, space weather, the solar system, and the universe