NASA Eyes Venus, Asteroids and Other Targets for New Exploratory Missions

First Posted: Oct 01, 2015 10:13 AM EDT

What is NASA going to explore next? That's a good question and now, NASA has revealed its five science selections for refinement during the next year as a first step in choosing one or two missions for flight opportunities as early as 2020.

Each investigation team will receive $3 million in order to conduct concept design studies and analyses. After a detailed review and evaluation of the concept studies, NASA will make the final selections by September 2016 for continued development leading up to launch.

"The selected investigations have the potential to reveal much about the formation of our solar systems and its dynamic processes," said John Grunsfield, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, in a news release. "Dynamic and exciting missions like these hold promise to unravel the mysteries of our solar system and inspire future generations of explorers. It's an incredible time for science, and NASA is leading the way."

One of the missions includes producing global, high-resolution topography and imaging of Venus' surface, and producing the first maps of deformation and global surface composition. Another mission includes exploring the origin of planetary cores by studying the metallic asteroid Psyche, which is likely the survivor of a violent hit-and-run with another object that stripped off the outer, rocky layers of the protoplanet.

Of course, it remains to be seen which missions actually receive funding. What is certain, though, is that NASA continues to provide more information about other planets both inside and outside of our solar system.

For more information about NASA's Discovery Program, visit their website.

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