Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Upcoming Events

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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