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Planetary Science Decadal Survey 2022 is here! possible Uranus orbiter & other big news


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Main takeaways:

-Highest priority is Mars Sample Return

-Highest priority for next flagship mission should be A Uranus Orbiter of some kind

-Second highest priority for next flagship mission is an "Enceladus OrbiLander" (multi purpose Orbiter/Lander spacecraft).

-3 Mid sized New Frontiers missions

-5 new Discovery mission with 800 million dollar cost cap

 

It's important to note that a lot of this stuff will be either scaled back, cancelled, or just straight up get abandoned.

But Uranus Orbiter which was given highest priority might just become a reality, with the "Neptune Odyssey " proposal being not totally forgotten & Trident almost getting selected it seems we might finally be on the brink of another Ice Giant mission.

File:Uranus-orbiter-and-probe.jpg - Wikipedia

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4 minutes ago, Mitchz95 said:

Nice to see the ice giants getting some attention. Would Starship be able to reduce the Uranus Orbiter's travel time?

My understanding on Starship vs SLS is on-paper no, but in practice Starship is likely to be rather more available / have fewer delays.

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8 minutes ago, UmbralRaptor said:

My understanding on Starship vs SLS is on-paper no, but in practice Starship is likely to be rather more available / have fewer delays.

Musk's previous statements on Starship are that for beyond Mars, the idea would be set up ISRU/refueling(refilling) at Mars, and then Mars becomes the jumping off point for the asteroid belt and the gas giants.  If that is relevant

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14 minutes ago, darthgently said:

Musk's previous statements on Starship are that for beyond Mars, the idea would be set up ISRU/refueling(refilling) at Mars, and then Mars becomes the jumping off point for the asteroid belt and the gas giants.  If that is relevant

Like that's going to happen in the next decade?

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1 hour ago, darthgently said:

I seriously doubt that.  I have zero faith in NASA timelines.

First know something called 'James Webb' I was second grade in primary school. And the book said it will be launched 'NEXT YEAR' (probably was 2008).

Now I'm working on my post graduate:D

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Still can't understand, what's a purpose of a single Martian sample delivery, except pure failometry.

To seriously study the Martian geology, they need locals mining and  a cloud of probes.

For quick analyzis there are Martian rovers.

Just spending efforts on useless aim.
Exactly like one more Venusian lander.

The Triton expedition should be significant for understanding of the early Solar System (giants) evolution, Kuiper belt, their interaction (how it was captured).
It's obviously the highest priority, much higher than anything else.

The Uranus probes are also something new, as it was never studied before.

But what do they expect from the particular Martian stone?
"Wow, there was liquid water on Mars! Wow, it's full of perchlorates! Wow, we still haven't found a life, but they arre hiding somewhere near!"

(Same about another photo of the static burnt Venusian rock desert, like if something could change since the last such photo.)

Edited by kerbiloid
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It'd be relatively simple to whip up an expendable version of Starship for outer system probe missions.

The refuelling at Mars thing wasn't a serious mission architecture, but an aspirational way for reusably extending *human* presence through the solar system. (Yes, this is so far in the future that Starship will probably have been retired, so I wouldn't think about it).

Fully refueled in LEO, an expendable starship could seriously cut down on transit times for the same probe launched on SLS (at the expense of very high arrival speed).

There's probably a median way where transit time is substantially (instead of seriously) reduced and a braking stage is included.

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1 hour ago, kerbiloid said:

The Triton expedition should be significant for understanding of the early Solar System (giants) evolution, Kuiper belt, their interaction (how it was captured).
It's obviously the highest priority, much higher than anything else.

What’s the purpose of this? /s

In the end, it comes down to personal opinion and desire on what should be done, rather than logicality.

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18 hours ago, Mitchz95 said:

obligatory Uranus joke

 

Nice to see the ice giants getting some attention. Would Starship be able to reduce the Uranus Orbiter's travel time?

Technically bigger payload capacity could give bigger fuel tanks and higher dv which can be used to decrease the travel time. Practically, if they decide to plan and build a craft for Falcon Heavy, they will not change it later even there would be more capable or economical rockets later.  Building spacecrafts, launch contracts etc. are extremely bureaucratic work and all changes take ridiculous amount of years and billions.

That's why flexible private companies, like SpaceX can have impossible looking cadence of developoment. They can just decide to scrap work in progress and make better if they find a better way during development. Except of course certified products, like man rated rockets and capsules, which are locked in the current state forever (or until someone pays needed billions to make new certifications).

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6 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Still can't understand, what's a purpose of a single Martian sample delivery, except pure failometry.

To seriously study the Martian geology, they need locals mining and  a cloud of probes.

For quick analyzis there are Martian rovers.

They can use much more sophisticated methods on Earth. That's why samples are so valuable scientifically. Even samples from Moon, for example those Chang'e 5 returned couple of years ago.

It is impossible to bring equipment able to detect for example microfossiles or make detailed chemical analysis. For example our university have small particle accelerator for such studies. On Earth scale "small" means few large industrial buildings full of equipment, thousands of cubic meters of underground  caves, few orders of magnitude more energy consumption than all spacecrafts have ever produced totally etc. Starship will never bring "small particle accelerator" on Mars even some researchers may call some larger than average electron tube as "particle accelerator" for marketing purposes. And that is mostly for material studies, it is far too weak for any work related to actual particle physics.

 

6 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

The Triton expedition should be significant for understanding of the early Solar System (giants) evolution, Kuiper belt, their interaction (how it was captured).
It's obviously the highest priority, much higher than anything else.

Didn't they say that they would have suggested a probe to Neptune and Triton if they were not somehow bad position. I understood that during next decades there will be better trajectories to Neptune (I guess Jupiter will be in position which give more dv in gravity sling maneuver). Probably they can use data from Uranus and its moons for same purposes.

 

6 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

But what do they expect from the particular Martian stone?
"Wow, there was liquid water on Mars! Wow, it's full of perchlorates! Wow, we still haven't found a life, but they arre hiding somewhere near!"

Microfossiles or chemical signs of ancient life. Or maybe even living microbes. It is gambling, of course. If they will not find any signs of life from returned samples, many will say it was waste of time and money.

 

6 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

(Same about another photo of the static burnt Venusian rock desert, like if something could change since the last such photo.)

Do they have those new electronic GaN components yet, which can operate at 500 C? If they have, long lasting surface probe would be intersting. But if it last couple of hours, take few photos and make quick simple surface analysis, like Venera probes did, some kind of floating atmospheric balloon would probably give more bang for the buck.

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2 minutes ago, Hannu2 said:

They can use much more sophisticated methods on Earth. That's why samples are so valuable scientifically.

All at once in the same place, found right on the surface?

Or it requires a lot of points around the planet to take samples?

Or it requires taking them from depth, where they were protected by a couple of meters of rock?

And isn't it much better to watch a layered cliff?

How can a bucket of stones from the already studied places help that it deserves the effort and time.
Human miners should be sent there. And a cloud of robotic probes.

6 minutes ago, Hannu2 said:

It is impossible to bring equipment able to detect for example microfossiles or make detailed chemical analysis.

Then how do you know that exactly this stone is containing this and should be delivered?

How many random stones from Sahara should be sent to another planet to find something useful?

The human expedition is exactly what can sort the samples in situ and delivere only significant ones.

8 minutes ago, Hannu2 said:

Didn't they say that they would have suggested a probe to Neptune and Triton if they were not somehow bad position.

2030+, so not by these people.

9 minutes ago, Hannu2 said:

Microfossiles or chemical signs of ancient life.

How many stones around your house are dinosaur bones or at least coal?

10 minutes ago, Hannu2 said:

But if it last couple of hours, take few photos and make quick simple surface analysis, like Venera probes did

The keyword is "did". Another photo of the same wasteland.

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4 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

All at once in the same place, found right on the surface?

Or it requires a lot of points around the planet to take samples?

Or it requires taking them from depth, where they were protected by a couple of meters of rock?

No one knows.

 

4 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

How can a bucket of stones from the already studied places help that it deserves the effort and time.
Human miners should be sent there. And a cloud of robotic probes.

There are no well studied places on Mars. Those probes can do only very primitive studies. Humans on Mars or million probes can not do much better except bring stuff back. There are many things which can only be found in proper labs on Earth.

But I do not believe that there will be humans on Mars any time soon. There will be several decadal propositions and many robotic Mars missions before that.

4 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

Then how do you know that exactly this stone is containing this and should be delivered?

How many random stones from Sahara should be sent to another planet to find something useful?

I am not a biologist but as far as I have understood, every stone on sedimentary layers have clear signs of life on Earth. Past and present. Mars is of course much more uncertain because it has not thriving life everywhere but I think if samples are chosen from sedimentary layers which have chemical signs of past water, possibilities are reasonable good.

 

4 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

The keyword is "did". Another photo of the same wasteland.

Single photos will not probably be important. I do not know is there any visible changes on Venus surface. I think seismic data, weather of low atmosphere, seasonal/daily changes (which are same thing on Venus) etc. may be much more interesting and photos are PR-stuff or maybe there will not be a camera at all (complex photographic detector cell is probably not the first component they make from novel material). I am not a big fan of Venus but it planetarty scientists think it is interesting place to investigate if have very little arguments against them.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 4/20/2022 at 8:13 PM, UmbralRaptor said:

My understanding on Starship vs SLS is on-paper no, but in practice Starship is likely to be rather more available / have fewer delays.

If you refill an disposable starship or better one with an large 3rd stage, obviously. 
With no refueling you can still put an 100 ton 3rd stage into LEO unless size restricted. 

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