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NASA MEDIA TELECON ANNOUNCING SEMI-FINALISTS FOR NEXT NEW FRONTIERS MISSION, Dec 20, 2017, 2:00 pm ET (NASA Live)

NASA will hold a media teleconference on December 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm ET to announce the semi-finalists in the competition to be the next New Frontiers planetary science mission.  Each New Frontiers mission is led by a “principal investigator” (PI) who takes responsibility for managing the project within designated cost and schedule limits.

The audio of the teleconference will be livestreamed on NASA’s website NASA Live.   Participants are:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate
  • Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters
  • Curt Niebur, New Frontiers program scientist at at NASA Headquarters
  • Principal investigators of the selected missions

A total of 12 mission concepts are competing for opportunities to continue concept definition studies into Phase A, leading to a final selection in 2019.  Launch will take place in the mid-2020s.  It will be the fourth mission in this series of spacecraft that have a development cost cap of  approximately $1 billion, which is a medium-size planetary mission by NASA standards (larger than the Discovery class and smaller than a flagship mission).   The first three are:  the New Horizons mission that flew past Pluto in 2015 and is now on its way to a Kuiper Belt object; the Juno mission currently orbiting Jupiter; and the OSIRIS-REx mission now enroute to the asteroid Bennu, from which it will return a sample to Earth.

NASA determines what solar system destinations may be considered in each round of selections.  For this one, New Frontiers 4 (NF-4), the options were:

  • Comet Surface Sample Return
  • Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin Sample Return
  • Ocean Worlds (Titan and/or Enceladus)
  • Saturn Probe
  • Trojan Tour and Rendezvous
  • Venus In Situ Explorer

 

Details

Date:
December 20, 2017
Time:
2:00 pm - 10:00 pm