Author Topic: New Frontiers 4  (Read 30033 times)

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7766
  • UK
  • Liked: 1237
  • Likes Given: 168
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 »

Online vjkane

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
  • Liked: 81
  • Likes Given: 2
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

  • Member
  • Posts: 71
  • Liked: 16
  • Likes Given: 0
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

  • Member
  • Posts: 71
  • Liked: 16
  • Likes Given: 0
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7766
  • UK
  • Liked: 1237
  • Likes Given: 168
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

  • Member
  • Posts: 71
  • Liked: 16
  • Likes Given: 0
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7766
  • UK
  • Liked: 1237
  • Likes Given: 168
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?

Online vjkane

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
  • Liked: 81
  • Likes Given: 2
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

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7766
  • UK
  • Liked: 1237
  • Likes Given: 168
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

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1667
  • Arizona USA
  • Liked: 311
  • Likes Given: 54
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.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
-Tigatron

Online vjkane

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 530
  • Liked: 81
  • Likes Given: 2
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

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10756
  • Liked: 2277
  • Likes Given: 1
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.

Tags: