Author Topic: New Frontiers 4  (Read 41114 times)

Offline vjkane

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New Frontiers 4
« on: 01/07/2016 06:27 PM »
NASA has previewed the New Frontiers 4 mission selection

Big News: A mission to Titan/Enceladus has been added to the list:

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

Selection in spring 2019, launch in 2024 or 2025.  Up to three MMRTGs available.


Community Announcement Regarding New Frontiers Program Announcement of
Opportunity

Estimated Release of draft AO .....................………...July 2016 (target)
Estimated Release of final
AO.....................................January 2017 (target)
Estimated Proposal due date........................................90
days after AO release

This community announcement is an advance notice of NASA’s Science
Mission Directorate (SMD) plan to release a Draft Announcement of
Opportunity (AO) for New Frontiers Program mission investigations with
a target release date of July 2016.

The New Frontiers Program conducts Principal Investigator (PI)-led
space science investigations in SMD’s planetary programs under a
not-to-exceed cost cap for the PI-Managed Mission Cost (PMMC).  At the
conclusion of Phase A concept studies, it is planned that one New
Frontiers investigation will be selected to continue into subsequent
mission phases.  There will be no Missions of Opportunity (MO)
solicited as part of this AO.  All MOs are now solicited through the
Stand Alone Mission of Opportunity Notice (SALMON) AO.  New Frontiers
Program investigations must address NASA’s planetary science
objectives as described in 2014 NASA Strategic Plan and the 2014 NASA
Science Plan.  Both documents are now available
athttp://science.nasa.gov/about-us/science-strategy/.

Investigations are limited to the following mission themes (listed
without priority):

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

Five themes are described in the Planetary Science Decadal Survey.
The Ocean Worlds theme for this announcement is tentatively focused on
the search for signs of extant life and/or characterizing the
potential habitability of Titan or Enceladus.   The draft AO will
fully elucidate information on the mission themes.

The time frame for the solicitation is intended to be:

Release of final AO...........................................January
2017 (target)
Preproposal conference...................................~3 weeks
after final AO release
Proposals due ...................................................~90
days after AO release
Selection for competitive Phase A studies....November 2017 (target)
Concept study reports due...............................October 2018 (target)
Down-selection .................................................May
2019 (target)
KDP B .................................................................August
2019 (target)
Launch readiness date ....................................2024

PI-Managed Mission Cost (PMMC) for investigations are capped at a
Phase A-D cost of $850M (FY 2015$) with exclusions as noted in this
announcement.  The now-standard 25% minimum reserve on Phases A-D will
be required within the PMMC.  Operations costs (Phase E and F) are not
included in the PMMC, but will be evaluated for reasonableness.  This
exclusion for operation costs will not apply to the development of
flight or ground software, ground hardware, or testbed development or
refurbishment that occurs after launch.  These activities will be
considered deferred Phase C/D work and their costs will be included
under the PMMC.  Only costs related to spacecraft operations will be
excluded from the PMMC.  Lower-cost investigations and cost-efficient
operations are encouraged.

Launch Vehicle costs and procurement will be the responsibility of
NASA.  A standard launch performance capability will be defined and
provided as GFE and its cost will not be included in the PMMC.  The
cost of mission specific and special launch services, such as for
higher performance launch vehicles or the use of nuclear materials,
are the responsibility of the PI and must be included within the PMMC.
Details of these costs are still under discussion.

The value of foreign contributions remains constrained as was done for
the recent Discovery Program AO.  The total value of foreign
contributions may not exceed one-third of the PMMC, and the value of
foreign contributions to the science payload may not exceed one-third
of the total payload cost.

Investigations may propose the use Multi-Mission Radioisotope
Thermoelectric Generators (MMRTG) and Radioisotope Heater Units
(RHUs).  Some of the costs for the use of these systems and materials
will be included in the PMMC as detailed below.  These costs are not
final and may change.

Up to three MMRTGs are available at the cost of $105M for one unit,
$135M for two units, and $165M for three units.  The cost for the
unit(s) is included in the PMMC.  In addition, the usage of MMRTG(s)
requires delaying the LRD by at least one year to no earlier than 2025
to allow for mission-specific funding to support provision of MMRTGs.
43 RHUs are available as GFE, and the cost of the units is not
included in the PMMC.  However, the PMMC will include approximately
$26M of costs associated with the use of RHUs.

In addition to the costs above, investigations using either MMRTGs or
RHUs will also incur approximately $28M or $21M, respectively, in
costs for special launch services against the PMMC.

NASA will provide incentives for technology infusion into New
Frontiers investigations.  NASA is considering providing technologies
as Government-Furnished Equipment (GFE), including up to 43 RHUs and
the NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) ion propulsion system (two
flight model power processing units and two thrusters).  NASA is also
considering providing an increase to the PMMC cap for investigations
utilizing the Heat Shield for Extreme Entry Environment Technology
(HEEET), a woven Thermal Protection System.  In addition, NASA is
considering limiting the risk assessment of certain technologies to
only their accommodation on the spacecraft and the mission
environment.

This incentivized technology list is not complete, and decisions on
the specific technologies and the nature of their associated
incentives will be made before the release of a draft AO.  A
Technology Workshop will be held in early 2016 to provide technology
developers a chance to provide detailed information to proposers.  All
NASA-incentivized technologies will participate in this workshop, but
other participants will be welcome as well.

New Frontiers Program investigations involving entry, descent, and
landing (EDL) into the atmosphere of a Solar System object (including
the Earth) shall include an Engineering Science Activity, to be funded
outside of the cost cap, to obtain diagnostic and technical data about
vehicle performance and entry environments. Details of the goals and
objectives of this activity will be posted on the New Frontiers
Program Acquisition Website (http://newfrontiers.larc.nasa.gov/) in
the Program Library.

New Frontiers Program investigations may propose activities that have
the potential to broaden the scientific impact of investigations as
optional Science Enhancement Options (SEOs).  SEOs include, but are
not limited to, guest investigator programs, general observer
programs, participating scientist programs, interdisciplinary
scientist programs, and archival data analysis programs.  NASA is
considering allowing New Frontiers Program investigations to also
propose Technology Demonstration Opportunities (TDOs) to demonstrate
new capabilities.  TDOs and SEOs are funded outside of the PMMC cap
and may possibly not be selected even if the parent mission is
selected for flight.

NASA will release a draft of the New Frontiers AO in the summer of
2016.  The draft AO will be based on the recent Discovery AO, as well
as the Standard PI-led Mission AO Template.  NASA has begun its
regular assessment and revision of the Standard AO, and, once it is
complete, the Draft New Frontiers AO will be written and provided for
public comment.  Proposers should read the Draft New Frontiers AO
carefully when it is released.

NASA has not approved the issuance of the New Frontiers AO and this
notification does not obligate NASA to issue the AO and solicit
proposals. Any costs incurred by prospective investigators in
preparing submissions in response to this notification or the planned
Draft New Frontiers AO are incurred completely at the submitter's own
risk.

Further information will be posted on the New Frontiers Program
Acquisition Page at http://newfrontiers.larc.nasa.gov/ as it becomes
available.

Questions may be addressed to Dr. Curt Niebur, New Frontiers Program
Lead Scientist, Planetary Science Division, Science Mission
Directorate, NASA, Washington, DC 20546; Tel.: (202) 358-0390; E-mail:
curt.niebur@nasa.gov.

Offline NovaSilisko

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #1 on: 01/07/2016 06:35 PM »
I'd be pretty enthusiastic about any of those... except the Saturn Probe. Seven years of travel for 55 minutes of data collection, taking up an entire New Frontiers slot doesn't seem like a very good trade. Granted we've never explored Saturn's atmosphere, but it seems like the sort of thing that ought to be piggybacked on another mission rather than butting out all the other missions on this list which look to me to have a much higher overall volume of science return than the probe.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #2 on: 01/07/2016 08:20 PM »
I'd be pretty enthusiastic about any of those... except the Saturn Probe. Seven years of travel for 55 minutes of data collection, taking up an entire New Frontiers slot doesn't seem like a very good trade. Granted we've never explored Saturn's atmosphere, but it seems like the sort of thing that ought to be piggybacked on another mission rather than butting out all the other missions on this list which look to me to have a much higher overall volume of science return than the probe.

The Saturn Probe advocates managed to convince the decadal survey that the science was highly valuable.


Offline Star One

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New Frontiers 4
« Reply #3 on: 01/07/2016 08:44 PM »
Just for my clarification is that an orbiter that will only visit Enceladus & Titan. If so what will it offer over what we have already obtained science wise from Cassini?
« Last Edit: 01/07/2016 08:45 PM by Star One »

Offline vjkane

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #4 on: 01/07/2016 09:19 PM »
Just for my clarification is that an orbiter that will only visit Enceladus & Titan. If so what will it offer over what we have already obtained science wise from Cassini?
Far, far better instruments.

Offline hop

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #5 on: 01/07/2016 09:25 PM »
Just for my clarification is that an orbiter that will only visit Enceladus & Titan. If so what will it offer over what we have already obtained science wise from Cassini?
Far, far better instruments.
...and they would be specifically targeted based on what we've learned from Cassini. Before Cassini we had no idea didn't know Enceladus even had plumes or an ocean.

edit:
more precise
« Last Edit: 01/07/2016 10:01 PM by hop »

Offline vjkane

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #6 on: 01/07/2016 09:45 PM »
Just for my clarification is that an orbiter that will only visit Enceladus & Titan. If so what will it offer over what we have already obtained science wise from Cassini?
Far, far better instruments.
...and they would be specifically targeted based on what we've learned from Cassini. Before Cassini we had no idea Enceladus even had plumes or an ocean.
There were some pretty good hints on vents based on Enceladus' brightness, the E ring, and I believe on some of the coatings on other moons.

Offline Star One

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New Frontiers 4
« Reply #7 on: 01/07/2016 10:15 PM »
Just for my clarification is that an orbiter that will only visit Enceladus & Titan. If so what will it offer over what we have already obtained science wise from Cassini?
Far, far better instruments.

Would they include the capacity to sample plumes?
« Last Edit: 01/07/2016 10:17 PM by Star One »

Offline vjkane

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #8 on: 01/08/2016 01:00 AM »
Would they include the capacity to sample plumes?
I'll write a blog post next week on what a mission might look like based on past studies and Discovery proposals.  One Discovery proposal, Journey to Enceladus and Titan, would have carried a volatile-optimized modern mass spectrometer to make far more sensitive composition measurements of Enceladus's plumes and Titan's outer atmosphere.  It would also have carried a thermal imager to map the surface of Titan in much higher resolution than Cassini has as well as the tiger stripes on Enceladus.

The other Discovery proposal, LIFE, would have carried a modern volatile-optimized mass spectrometer and a dust mass spectrometer.  It would not have made measurements at Titan.

The availability of three MMRTGs is crucial for missions to these moons.  The primary use of power on planetary mission is to either heat the spacecraft (half of Juno's watts go to this) and to power the transmitter to return data.  Three MMRTGs would allow significant data return.

Offline vjkane

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #9 on: 01/08/2016 02:29 AM »
Except that Discovery proposals are open-ended. The proposer is not trying to design a mission to answer a given set of scientific questions, they are choosing the questions themselves. Just because somebody has proposed a Discovery mission to one of these bodies in the past does not mean that their scientific goals are ones that the rest of the scientific community believes are worthwhile.
NASA's statement said they would provide more guidance in the AO on the science they are seeking.  Per the statement:

"Five themes are described in the Planetary Science Decadal Survey.
The Ocean Worlds theme for this announcement is tentatively focused on
the search for signs of extant life and/or characterizing the
potential habitability of Titan or Enceladus.   The draft AO will
fully elucidate information on the mission themes."

Online redliox

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #10 on: 01/08/2016 04:57 AM »
I'd say of the bunch, I'm the most interested in the Lunar, Ocean, and Trojan missions.  Of course it is probably far too soon to play favorites just yet until we hear the official release on what all these missions would do.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
-Tigatron

Offline GClark

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #11 on: 01/08/2016 06:17 AM »
It's worth noting that the Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin Sample Return and Venus In-Situ Explorer missions were finalists for NF3.  The feedback they received then will make any proposal from the same people this time stronger.

Remember what the Juno team had to do & how many times OSIRIS-REX was iterated before they were selected.  Titan and Enceladus have a lot of 'wow' factor, but any mission proposal is going to have to be really solid to get chosen their first time out.

Offline NovaSilisko

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #12 on: 01/08/2016 06:37 AM »
I'd be pretty enthusiastic about any of those... except the Saturn Probe. Seven years of travel for 55 minutes of data collection, taking up an entire New Frontiers slot doesn't seem like a very good trade. Granted we've never explored Saturn's atmosphere, but it seems like the sort of thing that ought to be piggybacked on another mission rather than butting out all the other missions on this list which look to me to have a much higher overall volume of science return than the probe.

The Saturn Probe advocates managed to convince the decadal survey that the science was highly valuable.

I'd like to find out more about it... I feel like I'm missing something about it that makes it more compelling science-wise than I realize.

Offline Star One

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #13 on: 01/08/2016 08:37 AM »

Just for my clarification is that an orbiter that will only visit Enceladus & Titan. If so what will it offer over what we have already obtained science wise from Cassini?

And that is the billion dollar question.

The mission concepts in the decadal survey are relatively well defined in terms of science goals and objectives. You'll note that there were no Enceladus or Titan New Frontiers mission options in the DS...

So, what would an Enceladus or Titan mission be? A Titan airplane? A Titan balloon? A Titan lake lander/boat? How about Enceladus? Would it be a sample return mission? Would it be an orbiter? A lander? Or something else? And how, exactly, will a review team evaluate the scientific value of such a mission considering that it is not defined in the Decadal Survey? Is a Titan airplane a "better" mission scientifically than a Titan boat? How do you rate it? Who says one is better? It's so open-ended that it's really hard to figure out what the criteria would be.

I see what you mean. At first thought I'd opt for something like a Titan boat dropped off by an Enceladus orbiter. Planetary protection wise it's probably easier & cheaper to put something on the surface of Titan than it would be Enceladus.

Online redliox

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #14 on: 01/08/2016 10:26 AM »
As far as the missions for the Saturn system, something like a dual-probe arrangement with a Saturn probe and a Titan balloon/lander could be interesting.  The Saturn probe would be short-term (yet legitimately valuable mission) while the Titan probe (in whatever form it could take) would be a long-term arrangement.  The only disadvantage with both is they'd need to communicate directly with Earth - difficult but not impossible.  I don't see the Saturn probe flying that whole distance by itself (as a mission), simply because the Saturnian system is too valuable to reduce to a mere hour-long expedition.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Offline vjkane

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #15 on: 01/08/2016 10:39 AM »
I see what you mean. At first thought I'd opt for something like a Titan boat dropped off by an Enceladus orbiter. Planetary protection wise it's probably easier & cheaper to put something on the surface of Titan than it would be Enceladus.

Based on past mission studies, I think that you could get either a Titan boat or a capable spacecraft within the cost cap of the New Frontiers program.  A spacecraft would probably do multiple flybys of Titan and/or Enceladus rather than orbit them.  Might be possible to have a foreign space program provide the other element, but there are a lot of hidden costs to building a spacecraft that can carry and relay a probe.  And as has been discussed under the Europa topic, the Huygens probe cost >400 Euros (not counting the cost of the supporting hardware and operations for the Cassini spacecraft).

As Blackstar points out, the option space for the ocean worlds call currently is very large.  I strongly suspect that NASA's managers know this and that they'll narrow down the option space considerably in the AO.  They may not have done this already because they may be consulting with the outer planet scientific community to identify the highest priority goals.  We will probably learn more from the OPAG meeting next month.

Offline vjkane

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #16 on: 01/08/2016 10:45 AM »
As far as the missions for the Saturn system, something like a dual-probe arrangement with a Saturn probe and a Titan balloon/lander could be interesting.  The Saturn probe would be short-term (yet legitimately valuable mission) while the Titan probe (in whatever form it could take) would be a long-term arrangement.  The only disadvantage with both is they'd need to communicate directly with Earth - difficult but not impossible.  I don't see the Saturn probe flying that whole distance by itself (as a mission), simply because the Saturnian system is too valuable to reduce to a mere hour-long expedition.
Best estimate for a Titan balloon without a lander was from the $1B box studies last decade.  As I recall, the price tag then was around $1.5B, which is 50% greater than the New Frontiers cap.

If NASA goes with a Saturn orbiter moon multiflyby approach, it would be nice to have the equivalent of the Electra Mars relay package on the spacecraft so that it could serve as a relay for future missions.

Offline vjkane

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #17 on: 01/08/2016 10:50 AM »
It's worth noting that the Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin Sample Return and Venus In-Situ Explorer missions were finalists for NF3.  The feedback they received then will make any proposal from the same people this time stronger.

Remember what the Juno team had to do & how many times OSIRIS-REX was iterated before they were selected.  Titan and Enceladus have a lot of 'wow' factor, but any mission proposal is going to have to be really solid to get chosen their first time out.
There have been numerous studies of Titan/Enceladus missions (some very detailed) as well as three Discovery proposals (JET, TiME, LIFE).  A team proposing a Titan/Enceladus mission isn't starting from a clean slate.  I also suspect that based on this heritage (especially the details of the Discovery proposals) that NASA's managers have a pretty good idea of what may be feasible in a New Frontiers mission.

Offline vjkane

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #18 on: 01/08/2016 10:52 AM »
At the AGU conference in December, I chatted with Jim Bell about the Trojan mission his team plans to propose (and he said that this information could be shared).  They are looking at a mission that would orbit at least one asteroid and flyby several more to study the heterogeneity of these objects.

Offline Star One

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #19 on: 01/08/2016 11:20 AM »
Didn't studies for TiME indicate that you could get a relatively 'simple' boat craft to last comparatively a long time on the lakes of Titan, well at least in theory?

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