- The New Frontiers-3 Draft AO is now online. The Announcement of Opportunity states that following classes of mission proposals will be accepted: Aitken Basin Sample Return, Venus in Situ Explorer, Comet Surface Sample Return, Network Science, Trojan/Centaur Reconnaissance, Asteroid Rover/Sample Return, Io Observer, and Ganymede Observer. The cost cap has been set to $650 million in FY09 dollars and will be not be permited to use radioisotope power sources. This would make a potential Io Observer difficult, but NOT impossible due to the radiation environment at Io (I will get to why it isn't impossible in a later post). Despite the National Research Council's recommendation, the AO was not opened up to "all missions except to Earth and the Sun that fit within the budget and power source constraints," as Jim Green promised back in March.
- Van Kane has a great post comparing the virtues of the Saturn/Titan and Jupiter/Europa missions now vying for the flagship mission spot. I think Van hits the nail on the head here. I will post a similar recommendation post soon.
Report from the Starship Century Conference: Tuesday
10 hours ago