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Compelling Planetary Science Missions: Enceladus Orbiter

16 Dec 2010, 03:43 UTC
Compelling Planetary Science Missions: Enceladus Orbiter
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For my first choice of compelling missions from the Planetary Science Decadal Survey Mission List, I picked the Lunar Polar Volatiles Explorer mission to send a rover to the Moon to assess the volatiles there. This mission has great science and "astronaut scouting" potential. However, in my first post in the series, I said thatPlanetary Science should not have to be warped beyond recognition into a substitute Robotic Precursor program just because Congress isn't wise enough to adequately fund Robotic Precursors. While robotic "astronaut scouting" has a great deal of value, we should let Planetary Science be Planetary Science, and the Jupiter and Saturn systems (if I may group them together) are certainly top-tier Planetary Science subjects. As a result, it's just a matter of choosing one of the Jupiter and Saturn missions from the Decadal Survey list for the second-place spot.The front-runner for a Jupiter or Saturn mission is probably the Jupiter Europa Orbiter (JEO). There are a number of reasons to pick this one as my second most compelling mission:The Vision for Space Exploration that this blog takes its name from specifically identifies robotic missions to Jupiter's moons (in that case the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JIMO):Conduct robotic ...

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