Thursday, October 28, 2010

Interesting Articles

Here are links to several interesting articles:

India Plans Moon Mission Sequel, Like China ( - India's plans for a joint mission with Russia for an lunar orbiter, lander, and rover to launch in 2013.

Meteorite-Based Debate Over Martian Life Is Far from Over ( - The debate over whether meteorite ALJ84001 from Mars has signs of past Martian life continues.  This suggests how hard it will be to detect signs of life even in returned samples.  (While I've come to favor a Martian sample return mission, it's not because I think it will settle the question of past life on Mars, but for what it will tell us about the earliest history of processes on terrestrial worlds.)

Two articles focus on how the James Webb Space Telescope came to dominate NASA's astronomy program and what the effects will be.  This is a cautionary tale about what happens when Decadal Surveys prioritize a mission the ends up costing far more than expected.  The lesson was learned -- both the recently completed Astronomy and the in-progress Planetary Decadal Surveys put a strong focus on attempting to cost out missions in more detail than was done for the previous round of Surveys.

The golden age (is ending) (
Space science: The telescope that ate astronomy (

The following essay discusses one of the casualties resulting from the JWST's cost growth

SIM and the “ready, aim, aim” syndrome (

Tomorrow I'll post my personal choice for the second most compelling planetary mission under consideration.

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