The US space agency NASA is planning a pipeline of new space missions. The missions include studying planets and their moons. The agency said it wants to study Venus and moons of Jupiter and Neptune. The agency has announced to fund studies that aim to understand Venus, Jupiter’s moon Io, and Neptune’s moon Triton. According to a NASA statement, they are not official missions yet. It said that the studies will develop concepts for new missions. It added some may not be chosen for further development. The four topics of research have been selected by the agency as part of its Discovery Program. While two of these studies will Venus, the remaining two will focus on Jupiter’s moon Io, and Neptune’s moon Triton.
The NASA program invites scientists and engineers to develop a team that will plan exciting planetary science missions. The missions will deepen what scientists know about the solar system. The agency said selected missions will help scientists unlock many secrets of how they came to be in the cosmos. The findings can transform the understanding of our complex solar system’s most active worlds. NASA said each of the four mission teams will get nine months’ time and USD 3 million for the studies. They will have to mature their concepts and present a report to NASA. The space agency will then review the studies. After evaluation, it will select two concepts for development.
Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is the second-brightest natural object after Earth’s Moon. The previous mission to Venus was launched by NASA in 1989. Jupiter’s Io is one of the four Galilean moons of the planet. It is also the innermost and third-largest of the four moons. It was discovered in 1610. The moon has over 400 active volcanoes which make it the most geologically active object. Triton, on the other hand, is a unique and highly active icy moon of Neptune. It is the first Neptunian moon to be discovered in 1846 and remains the largest moon of the planet.