NASA has announced that there are five investigation proposals that could potentially be flight missions by 2020. Two of them are focused on Venus, and the other three in asteroids and various space objects.
“The selected investigations have the potential to reveal much about the formation of our solar system and its dynamic processes,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, in a NASA press release.
NASA will make the decision next September, choosing one or maybe two of the proposals. After being selected, science teams will get to work. “Almost all of the funding goes to contractors, this stage is mostly about engineering,” explained UCF Physics Professor Daniel Britt, investigator of one of the teams, according to Orlando Sentinel News.
NASA’s Discovery Program requested proposals for spaceflight investigations in November 2014. A panel of NASA and other scientists and engineers reviewed 27 submissions, according to PHYS.
Venus is the target of Missions DAVINCI and VERITAS. The chemical composition of Venus atmosphere is hoped to be investigated by DAVINCI Mission, by making a 63-minute descent. Mission VERITAS aims to create high-resolution topography of Venus’ surface to investigate its deformation and composition.
On the other hand, the asteroid Psyche is the object of the investigation that has its name, and it looks to explore the origin of planetary cores. The NEOCAM project hopes to discover even more near-Earth objects and study them. Mission Lucy is the final proposal and it will focus on the Jupiter Trojan asteroids, according to PHYS.
“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,” concluded John Grunsfeld on the press release.