At the last OPAG meeting in February, Jim Green, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, gave an update on the program. Included in that update was a schedule of upcoming planetary exploration events for the next three years. I've slightly modified the list of events to include key mission selection events. I was unable to find a definitive timeline for when ESA will select its next large mission; one of the candidate missions is the Jupiter Ganymede Orbiter.
Looking over this list, the next three years will be a wonderful time for those of us who follow planetary exploration.
- June 13 - Hayabusa (JAXA) asteroid sample return
- Decadal survey: 2nd-3rd Quarter Prioritization and drafting of survey report
- July 10 – Rosetta (ESA) closest approach for asteroid Lutetia
- Sept – Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter transitions to Planetary Science Division
- Nov 4 - EPOXI encounters comet Hartley 2
- Late ‘10 Venus Climate Orbiter (JAXA) arrives at Venus
- Late ‘10- Early ‘11(?) – Opportunity gets to Endeavour
- Late ‘10- Early ‘11(?) – Down selection of Discovery missions?
- Decadal Survey - 1st Quarter Report approved, NASA, NSF, OMB and Congress briefed and report released (prepublication-format)
- Feb 14 - Stardust NExT encounters comet Tempel-1
- Mar 18 - MESSENGER orbit insertion at Mercury
- April/May - New Frontiers mission selection
- July - Dawn orbit insertion at asteroid Vesta
- Aug - Juno launch to Jupiter
- Sept - GRAIL launch to the Moon
- Oct - MSL launch to Mars
- Mid-year – Dawn leaves Vesta starts on its journey to Ceres
- Mid-year – Selection of next Discovery mission?
- Aug - MSL lands on Mars
- Oct - LADEE launch to the Moon
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