You need to upgrade your Flash Player The theme of this blog is not only and obviously space, but in particular “terrestrial worlds”, places that tend to have surfaces on which one could walk or at least attach oneself to. These places sometimes also have other earth-like familiar features such as atmospheres, weather, volcanos, geysers and perhaps, we are finding, even exotic oceans, rivers or lakes that are not necessarily made of familiar materials we are used to here at home. The second theme is imagery. Occasionally I do some retouching of images when needed if an image is incomplete or sometimes “dirty” or noisy. I will attempt to correct image shortcomings based upon other images or well-accepted presumed attributes. When this is done, notes will be offered as to what was added, why and sometimes how it was done. This way no one should ever wonder if something they are looking at is real or photoshop.

Outer Planets Mission Selected

It is final. NASA (and ESA) have selected the next flagship mission to the outer planets. The target is the Jupiter system, and by “system” I do mean system. NASA’s side of things will concentrate on a Europa orbiter which will observe Jupiter’s moon in details that we have never seen before. See this youTube video for a good overview. The last time we were near Europa enough to make close observation was with Galileo, but problems with that spacecraft resulted in a limited amount of data that one would expect from such a long orbiter mission such as Galileo.

Beyond Europa, the mission will also be close enough to do great observations of its closest neighbor, Io, as well – of course – as it’s host planet Jupiter. Also worth noting is the possible adoption of an Io specific orbiter as part of the New Horizons class of spacecraft whose targets for the next decade have yet to be determined.

Lastly, and certainly not at all a small thing… ESA will be running a Ganymede orbiter to work in tandem with the Europa mission. The two missions are more like partner missions such as the 2 Mars rovers than separate ones. They seem to planning for them both to arrive at the same time (or even launched from the same rocket, is that even possible?).

For those unfamiliar with these bodies, check out these links to other posts about Europa and Ganymede.

4 Responses to “Outer Planets Mission Selected”

  1. Gordan Says:

    The ESA mission, if funded, would launch on an Ariane 5.
    The NASA mission would launch on an Atlas V, probably 551 configuration.

  2. thomas romer Says:

    i figured, it was just the way they were wording it that made me wonder. Chances are the tech to have them both together and separate safely would cost more than independent launches.

  3. Dave Says:

    It’s quite common for companies to pull together and share a rocket launch into space to spread the cost of the launch. They can compromise on mass, power and more simply to fit 2 in.

    Nasa/Esa missions are usually much more expensive though and so it will be interesting to see if this is why they might do that.

  4. Dave Says:

    oh and Great site by the way!

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