Author Topic: New Frontiers 4  (Read 41365 times)

Offline Star One

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New Frontiers 4
« Reply #180 on: 09/07/2017 06:48 PM »
I don't want to rehash my views on this again needless to say I will be rooting for Dragonfly or Oceanus, exploring a truly unique environment.

I suspect of the two Oceanus has a better chance of getting through to the next round due to its hardware heritage and more manageable power & mission requirements.
« Last Edit: 09/07/2017 06:54 PM by Star One »

Offline vjkane

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #181 on: 09/08/2017 03:29 AM »
It's the next mission which is (probably) an automatic flagship.  Although there is also the concern that discovering life slows exploration as people struggle with how to study it without messing it up.

From my limited understanding of astrobiology, it's misleading for us to even be discussing "finding life," because that's not really how the science works. The more accurate--and annoying--way to look at this is "finding some evidence that might be life, or is consistent with life, but will probably require decades of discussion and arguing ad infinitum, along with even more data gathering that will cost a lot of money and may not even settle the issue."

At a recent meeting of planetary scientists, somebody pointed out that there are still people arguing over the Viking findings, and it took over a decade to finally settle the Alan Hills meteorite argument in favor of it not being life.

Blackstar, you are quite correct that time doesn't run backwards.  Missions that have the potential to find life or last least explore its origins tend to rank higher in priority than those that don't.  The probability of finding life on Mars has always been low.  Hostile environment now, and finding fossils and identifying them as such, as you point out, is very hard.  Yet NASA has spent billions exploring the possibility and building the case for habitability.  If we *knew* that Mars never hosted life and that Europa doesn't, then I think that our spending priorities would be quite different.  Because we are biophiles, the possibility of life raises the priority of certain targets. 

Offline Don2

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #182 on: 09/08/2017 06:50 AM »
@redliox...I think that Moonrise and ELF are among my favorites. The soils at the lunar south pole never get as warm as the ones near the equator which means that area is likely to be richer in volatiles than any of the Apollo samples. Moonrise will dig a little below the surface and the soil might get wetter as you go deeper. A polar soil sample would be useful for people thinking about the possibility of a manned polar base. In fact there is a case for the manned program to fund the mission if they are at all serious about returning to the moon.

If there is a way to make the lander survive the sample return rocket departure, then you could add a burrowing mole similar to the one on Insight to look for water in the subsurface. A mass spectrometer could monitor the atmosphere and look for evidence of a lunar water cycle.

@vjkane...Mars is quite easy to get to and has abundant 3 billion year old rocks which record the early evolution of a terrestrial planet.  I think it would get a fair bit of attention even if it was known to be lifeless, although not as much as it does.

Offline Don2

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #183 on: 09/08/2017 07:01 AM »
As far as Dragonfly goes, I think the level of complexity looks more like MSL than any $1 billion mission. New Horizons was RTG powered, and that bought a very simple spacecraft for $800 million or so. Dragonfly will cost a lot more than that or Juno or OSIRUS-REX. MSL did have a brief powered flight when it was being lowered from the skycrane. Dragonfly will weight a lot less, but it needs autonomous navigation capabilities that even MSL did not have and it operates in a much colder environment which will cause materials and component challenges. I think I remember something about MSL having trouble because the development of a low temperature electric motor failed. I don't think I can believe in anything less than $1.5 billion for Dragonfly cost, and $2.5 billion seems like a more likely number.

Offline Star One

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New Frontiers 4
« Reply #184 on: 09/08/2017 08:45 AM »
As far as Dragonfly goes, I think the level of complexity looks more like MSL than any $1 billion mission. New Horizons was RTG powered, and that bought a very simple spacecraft for $800 million or so. Dragonfly will cost a lot more than that or Juno or OSIRUS-REX. MSL did have a brief powered flight when it was being lowered from the skycrane. Dragonfly will weight a lot less, but it needs autonomous navigation capabilities that even MSL did not have and it operates in a much colder environment which will cause materials and component challenges. I think I remember something about MSL having trouble because the development of a low temperature electric motor failed. I don't think I can believe in anything less than $1.5 billion for Dragonfly cost, and $2.5 billion seems like a more likely number.

What about all the advancement in autonomous systems, even with the requirements for radiation hardening components, which will be less onerous at Saturn,  or the cold environment this technology has advanced considerably. In general you seem to be over costing this mission for no real reasons that I can see.
« Last Edit: 09/08/2017 09:02 AM by Star One »

Offline Don2

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #185 on: 09/09/2017 05:37 PM »
@Star One... There are a lot of features of this mission that make me worry about costs. RTG powered missions are normally very expensive and rarely come in at less than $1billion. Low temperature operation causes trouble because some materials become brittle. Infra-red telescopes cast far more per unit of area than visible light ones because of this. While we are on the subject of embrittlement, hydrogen can also cause problems and the Titan atmosphere has it.

Flying vehicles are normally far more expensive than wheeled ones. Think of the cost difference between a car and a helicopter. While there is a lot of talk about advances in autonomous systems, why are they not being used to guide the next Mars rover to a pinpoint landing? Unlike Titan, we have high resolution imagery of Mars which could be used to train an autonomous system. Human pilots have always been able to find a runway using landmarks, which implies navigating with 10m precision. I'm not aware of an autonomous system that can reliably manage that feat.

Offline Star One

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #186 on: 09/09/2017 06:21 PM »
@Star One... There are a lot of features of this mission that make me worry about costs. RTG powered missions are normally very expensive and rarely come in at less than $1billion. Low temperature operation causes trouble because some materials become brittle. Infra-red telescopes cast far more per unit of area than visible light ones because of this. While we are on the subject of embrittlement, hydrogen can also cause problems and the Titan atmosphere has it.

Flying vehicles are normally far more expensive than wheeled ones. Think of the cost difference between a car and a helicopter. While there is a lot of talk about advances in autonomous systems, why are they not being used to guide the next Mars rover to a pinpoint landing? Unlike Titan, we have high resolution imagery of Mars which could be used to train an autonomous system. Human pilots have always been able to find a runway using landmarks, which implies navigating with 10m precision. I'm not aware of an autonomous system that can reliably manage that feat.

Autonomous systems are you forgetting about the ExoMars rover?

Offline vjkane

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #187 on: 09/09/2017 10:12 PM »
When I first read about Dragonfly I was concerned about the autonomous flight and landing. I did some web searches and was impressed with how mature the technology has become. I also suspect that there's a lot more technology available on the military side that's classified but available to the team.

My guess is that the cost of integrating and especially thoroughly testing everything will prove too much for a new Frontiers budget (but I want to be proved wrong!).  If that's the case I hope that NASA will fund further technology development and the next Decadal will prioritize the mission.

Offline Star One

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #188 on: 09/13/2017 07:15 PM »
Quote
Jeff Foust @jeff_foust
NASA’s Jim Green: we’re in good stead for the next several decades regarding plutonium for RTG-powered future missions; won’t be limiting.
6:35 pm · 13 Sep 2017

https://mobile.twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/908021412362891265

Quote
Jeff Foust @jeff_foust
Green appeared to confirm that there were missions to Enceladus and/or Titan proposed in latest New Frontiers round (not surprising).
6:46 pm · 13 Sep 2017

https://mobile.twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/908024205123432461

Offline redliox

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #189 on: 09/14/2017 05:04 AM »
Quote
Jeff Foust @jeff_foust
Green appeared to confirm that there were missions to Enceladus and/or Titan proposed in latest New Frontiers round (not surprising).
6:46 pm · 13 Sep 2017

https://mobile.twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/908024205123432461

If that's correct, we could assume 2 out of the "3-ish" missions are Saturn themed with 1 non-Saturnian running mate.  I hope Venus fared better than in Discovery.
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Offline vjkane

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #190 on: 09/14/2017 06:26 AM »
Quote
Jeff Foust @jeff_foust
Green appeared to confirm that there were missions to Enceladus and/or Titan proposed in latest New Frontiers round (not surprising).
6:46 pm · 13 Sep 2017

https://mobile.twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/908024205123432461
I believe that he was only talking about what in the 12 submitted

If that's correct, we could assume 2 out of the "3-ish" missions are Saturn themed with 1 non-Saturnian running mate.  I hope Venus fared better than in Discovery.
I believe that Green was talking only about what is in the 12 submitted proposals.  I don't believe he would give any hint about what the possible down selects will be.  And considering that the announcement of the down selects are expected as a Christmas present, he may not know what those will be yet.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #191 on: 09/14/2017 12:22 PM »

I believe that Green was talking only about what is in the 12 submitted proposals.  I don't believe he would give any hint about what the possible down selects will be.  And considering that the announcement of the down selects are expected as a Christmas present, he may not know what those will be yet.

He doesn't know what they are because the decision has not been made yet. Also, it's not his decision. The review board produces its recommendations. That is presented to Green and to the AA for SMD. Green then provides his own input to the AA based upon a number of factors, including the available budgets and programmatic balance. The AA is the selecting official and makes the final decision.

I have talked to a previous AA for science about the Discovery selection process. He said that they have less maneuvering room than you would think--the review board provides a recommendation and a detailed explanation of their recommendation, and it's hard to go against that. For instance, if the review board says that the only viable missions are to go to planet Q and you really would like to select the planet P mission, it's not really possible to select the planet P mission.

Offline vjkane

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #192 on: 09/25/2017 06:46 PM »
When I did my blog post on the New Frontiers proposals, there was one mystery proposal.  Several people told me this was a late entry JPL Venus proposal, the Venus Origins eXplorer (VOX).

This proposal takes a very different approach than either of the other two proposals which would use one or two entry probe-lander(s).

VOX combines the ideas of the not selected (but found selectable) Discovery VERITAS orbiter along with what appears to be the CUPID high atmosphere probe.  In submitting this proposal, JPL (which is also backing the VICI entry probe-proposal), is betting that a very different approach will be found acceptable.  The entry probe-lander approach would provide much richer atmospheric measurements and richer surface composition measurements at an area on Venus that might be a couple of square meters in size.  VOX would provide the key noble gas measurements along with less rich but global composition measurements.  VOX would also provide high resolution radar mapping and higher resolution gravity measurements than previous missions did.

The VOX team is hoping to pull a Juno.  The original Decadal Survey requirement for the Jovian mission was an orbiter and multiple entry probes.  The Juno mission accomplishes the goals of the entry probes via remote sensing instruments.  The VOX team is proposing that for the solid planet measurements and proposing a much simpler atmospheric probe.  Designing an entry probe-lander for Venus does have its challenges, although the Discovery DAVINCI entry probe from the same PI as for the VICI probe-lander was judged suitable for selection.

As a geomorphology kind of guy, I do like the VOX proposal.

Abstract from the upcoming DPS conference follows.


TITLE: New Frontiers Science at Venus from Orbit plus Atmospheric Gas Sampling
ABSTRACT BODY:
Abstract (2,250 Maximum Characters):
Venus remains the most Earth-like body in terms of size, composition, surface age, and insulation. Venus Origins Explorer (VOX) determines how Earth’s twin diverged, and enables breakthroughs in our understanding of rocky planet evolution and habitability. At the time of the Decadal Survey the ability to map mineralogy from orbit (Helbert et al.) and present-day radar techniques to detect active deformation were not fully appreciated. VOX leverages these methods and in-situ noble gases to answer New Frontiers science objectives:

1. Atmospheric physics/chemistry: noble gases and isotopes to constrain atmospheric sources, escape processes, and integrated volcanic outgassing; global search for current volcanically outgassed water.
2. Past hydrological cycles: global tessera composition to determine the role of volatiles in crustal formation.
3. Crustal physics/chemistry: global crustal mineralogy/chemistry, tectonic processes, heat flow, resolve the catastrophic vs. equilibrium resurfacing debate, active geologic processes and possible crustal recycling.
4. Crustal weathering: surface-atmosphere weathering reactions from redox state and the chemical equilibrium of the near-surface atmosphere.
5. Atmospheric properties/winds: map cloud particle modes and their temporal variations, and track cloud-level winds in the polar vortices.
6. Surface-atmosphere interactions: chemical reactions from mineralogy; weathering state between new, recent and older flows; possible volcanically outgassed water.

VOX’s Atmosphere Sampling Vehicle (ASV) dips into and samples the well-mixed atmosphere, using Venus Original Constituents Experiment (VOCE) to measure noble gases. VOX’s orbiter carries the Venus Emissivity Mapper (VEM) and the Venus Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (VISAR), and maps the gravity field using Ka-band tracking.

VOX is the logical next mission to Venus because it delivers: 1) top priority atmosphere, surface, and interior science; 2) key global data for comparative planetology; 3) high-resolution topography, composition, and imaging to optimize future landers; 4) opportunities for revolutionary discoveries with a 3-year long mission, proven implementation and 44 Tb of data.
CURRENT * CATEGORY: Future Missions, Instruments, and Facilities (Poster Only)
CURRENT : None
AUTHORS (FIRST NAME, LAST NAME): Suzanne Smrekar1, Melinda Dyar2, Scott Hensley1, Joern Helbert3
INSTITUTIONS (ALL): 1. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States.
2. Mount Holyoke College, Amherst, MA, United States.
3. German Space Agency, Berlin, Germany.
Contributing Teams: VOX Science and Engineering Teams

Offline redliox

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #193 on: 09/26/2017 01:37 AM »
When I did my blog post on the New Frontiers proposals, there was one mystery proposal.  Several people told me this was a late entry JPL Venus proposal, the Venus Origins eXplorer (VOX).

This proposal takes a very different approach than either of the other two proposals which would use one or two entry probe-lander(s).

VOX combines the ideas of the not selected (but found selectable) Discovery VERITAS orbiter along with what appears to be the CUPID high atmosphere probe.  In submitting this proposal, JPL (which is also backing the VICI entry probe-proposal), is betting that a very different approach will be found acceptable.  The entry probe-lander approach would provide much richer atmospheric measurements and richer surface composition measurements at an area on Venus that might be a couple of square meters in size.  VOX would provide the key noble gas measurements along with less rich but global composition measurements.  VOX would also provide high resolution radar mapping and higher resolution gravity measurements than previous missions did.

The VOX team is hoping to pull a Juno.  The original Decadal Survey requirement for the Jovian mission was an orbiter and multiple entry probes.  The Juno mission accomplishes the goals of the entry probes via remote sensing instruments.  The VOX team is proposing that for the solid planet measurements and proposing a much simpler atmospheric probe.  Designing an entry probe-lander for Venus does have its challenges, although the Discovery DAVINCI entry probe from the same PI as for the VICI probe-lander was judged suitable for selection.

As a geomorphology kind of guy, I do like the VOX proposal.

So this would be a combination orbiter/entry probe-lander?  I can understand the functions of an orbiter and atmospheric probe, but how would it obtain surface measurements...and more importantly by 'surface' are they implying gas or soil sampling?  I understand Huygens did some surface science on Titan, mainly in the form of physical properties, otherwise its priority was atmospheric and camera imaging.  Although I wouldn't think this particular mission would be as well-funded as Huygens, but it occurs to me that Huygens got some grand science about Titan in a time frame not unlike what a Venus probe might have: 2 hours.
"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 #194 on: 09/26/2017 05:25 AM »
So this would be a combination orbiter/entry probe-lander?  I can understand the functions of an orbiter and atmospheric probe, but how would it obtain surface measurements...and more importantly by 'surface' are they implying gas or soil sampling?  I understand Huygens did some surface science on Titan, mainly in the form of physical properties, otherwise its priority was atmospheric and camera imaging.  Although I wouldn't think this particular mission would be as well-funded as Huygens, but it occurs to me that Huygens got some grand science about Titan in a time frame not unlike what a Venus probe might have: 2 hours.
More to come in a blog post I'm writing for publication probably this weekend.

Offline redliox

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #195 on: 09/26/2017 05:38 AM »
So this would be a combination orbiter/entry probe-lander?  I can understand the functions of an orbiter and atmospheric probe, but how would it obtain surface measurements...and more importantly by 'surface' are they implying gas or soil sampling?  I understand Huygens did some surface science on Titan, mainly in the form of physical properties, otherwise its priority was atmospheric and camera imaging.  Although I wouldn't think this particular mission would be as well-funded as Huygens, but it occurs to me that Huygens got some grand science about Titan in a time frame not unlike what a Venus probe might have: 2 hours.
More to come in a blog post I'm writing for publication probably this weekend.

I'll be excited to see it!  :D
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
-Tigatron

Offline vjkane

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #196 on: 10/01/2017 05:47 PM »
Just published my blog post on the New Frontiers Venus Origins eXplorer proposal

http://futureplanets.blogspot.com/2017/10/venus-origins-explorer-new-frontiers.html


Offline Star One

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New Frontiers 4
« Reply #197 on: 10/01/2017 06:24 PM »
Just published my blog post on the New Frontiers Venus Origins eXplorer proposal

http://futureplanets.blogspot.com/2017/10/venus-origins-explorer-new-frontiers.html


The only justification for NASA to go back to Venus would be if it was a mission carrying something truly revolutionary like a long duration lander/rover as we’ve recently seen proposed in concept. I’d rather the time and finances were put into developing something like this which could really help answer the numerous outstanding questions about Venus in a through manner with actual wheels on the ground. Sometimes it’s better to spend the money and expend the time to build a truly complete mission I’d have thought.
« Last Edit: 10/01/2017 06:25 PM by Star One »

Online hop

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #198 on: 10/01/2017 07:44 PM »
The only justification for NASA to go back to Venus would be if it was a mission carrying something truly revolutionary like a long duration lander/rover as we’ve recently seen proposed in concept.
That's not how NASA selects missions. The criteria for a Venus mission in this New Frontiers call are spelled out in the AO:
Quote
The Venus In Situ Explorer mission theme is focused on examining the physics and chemistry of Venus’s atmosphere and crust by characterizing variables that cannot be measured from orbit, including the detailed composition of the lower atmosphere, and the elemental and mineralogical composition of surface materials. The science objectives (listed without priority) of this mission theme are:
• Understand the physics and chemistry of Venus’s atmosphere through measurement of its composition, especially the abundances of sulfur, trace gases, light stable isotopes, and noble-gas isotopes;
• Constrain the coupling of thermochemical, photochemical, and dynamical processes in Venus’s atmosphere and between the surface and atmosphere to understand radiative balance, climate, dynamics, and chemical cycles;
• Understand the physics and chemistry of Venus’s crust;
• Understand the properties of Venus’s atmosphere down to the surface and improve understanding of Venus’s zonal cloud-level winds;
• Understand the weathering environment of the crust of Venus in the context of the dynamics of the atmosphere of Venus and the composition and texture of its surface materials; and
• Search for evidence of past hydrological cycles, oceans, and life and constraints on the evolution of Venus’s atmosphere.

Offline Star One

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Re: New Frontiers 4
« Reply #199 on: 10/01/2017 07:46 PM »
The only justification for NASA to go back to Venus would be if it was a mission carrying something truly revolutionary like a long duration lander/rover as we’ve recently seen proposed in concept.
That's not how NASA selects missions. The criteria for a Venus mission in this New Frontiers call are spelled out in the AO:
Quote
The Venus In Situ Explorer mission theme is focused on examining the physics and chemistry of Venus’s atmosphere and crust by characterizing variables that cannot be measured from orbit, including the detailed composition of the lower atmosphere, and the elemental and mineralogical composition of surface materials. The science objectives (listed without priority) of this mission theme are:
• Understand the physics and chemistry of Venus’s atmosphere through measurement of its composition, especially the abundances of sulfur, trace gases, light stable isotopes, and noble-gas isotopes;
• Constrain the coupling of thermochemical, photochemical, and dynamical processes in Venus’s atmosphere and between the surface and atmosphere to understand radiative balance, climate, dynamics, and chemical cycles;
• Understand the physics and chemistry of Venus’s crust;
• Understand the properties of Venus’s atmosphere down to the surface and improve understanding of Venus’s zonal cloud-level winds;
• Understand the weathering environment of the crust of Venus in the context of the dynamics of the atmosphere of Venus and the composition and texture of its surface materials; and
• Search for evidence of past hydrological cycles, oceans, and life and constraints on the evolution of Venus’s atmosphere.

Why don’t you give me your opinion rather than telling me how NASA selects missions?

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