For the first time in more than three decades, NASA has announced it will send a robotic mission to Venus, selecting two proposals in the latest round of its Discovery program.
NASA is considering missions to Venus and two outer solar system moons as the next in its Discovery line of planetary science missions.
NASA has done a good job implementing the recommendations of its latest planetary science decadal survey despite past budget problems, but needs to improve some programs, a recent report concluded.
NASA has selected two missions to asteroids in the latest round of its Discovery planetary science program, a move that NASA says puts the program back on track after a recent drought of missions.
The agency has said it could select two of the five finalists for the latest of its Discovery-class planetary missions — including two Venus concepts and three asteroid concepts — next year for full-scale development.
Five robotic mission concepts — two for Venus, three for asteroids — will duke it out to become NASA's next Discovery-class small planetary science mission. The winner would launch in 2021.
Over half of the 28 proposals NASA received for a $450 million robotic solar-system mission launching around 2021 seek to explore small bodies such as comets, asteroids or tiny moons.