Lunar and Planetary Institute

NASA Decadal Survey
Whitepaper Proposals

The purpose of this site is to allow members of the planetary science community to inform one another of their intent to submit a white paper as part of the planetary decadal survey. This site is for information only; listing a white paper proposal here does not commit the author to submitting a white paper.

White papers can be submitted at

Giant Planets

Cassini-Huygens Solstice Mission Our understanding of the Saturn system has been greatly enhanced by the Cassini-Huygens mission. Fundamental discoveries have altered our views of Saturn, Titan and the icy moons, the rings, and magnetosphere of the system. The proposed 7-year Cassini Solstice Mission would address new questions that have arisen during the Cassini Prime and Equinox Missions, and observe seasonal and temporal change in the Saturn system to prepare for future missions. Linda Spilker, Robert Pappalardo and 250 other authors Linda J Spilker (
Entry Probe Missions to the Giant Planets The primary motivation for in situ probe missions to the outer planets derives from the need to constrain models of solar system formation and the origin and evolution of atmospheres, to provide a basis for comparative studies of the gas and ice giants, and to provide a valuable link to extrasolar planetary systems. As time capsules of the solar system, the gas and ice giants offer a laboratory to better understand the atmospheric chemistries, dynamics, and interiors of all the planets, including Earth; and it is within the deep, well-mixed atmospheres and interiors of the giant planets that pristine material from the epoch of formation can be found, providing clues to the local chemical and physical conditions existing at the time and location at which each planet formed. Detailed explorations and comparative studies of the gas and ice giant planets will provide a foundation for understanding the integrated dynamic, physical, and chemical origins, formation, and evolution of the solar system. To provide a basis for significantly improved interpretations of the Galileo Jupiter probe measurements and to allow for comparative studies of gas giants Jupiter and Saturn, an entry probe mission to Saturn is needed. To provide a basis for comparative studies of the gas giants and the ice giants a probe mission to either Uranus or Neptune will be needed. Atkinson, D.H., T. Colaprete, S. Atreya, L. Spilker, T.R. Spilker, T. Balint, R. Frampton, A. Coustenis, J. Cuzzi, K. Reh, E. Venkatapathy, K.H. Baines, T. Guillot, J-.P. Lebreton, et al. David H. Atkinson (
Jupiter Atmospheric Science in the Next Decade The exploration of Jupiter has played a pivotal role in the development of our understanding of the Solar System; it has served as a paradigm for the interpretation of planetary systems around other stars, and as a fundamental laboratory for many physiochemical phenomena evident on the gas giants. Yet, despite great success in the scientific investigation of Jupiter over four centuries of research, our characterisation of Jupiter remains incomplete, with many of our most fundamental questions unanswered. The thin atmospheric ‘weather-layer’ is the only region accessible to direct investigation by remote sensing and in situ sampling, but it represents only a tiny fraction of Jupiter’s total mass. Yet the observable atmosphere provides vital insights to the interior structure, bulk composition and formation history of most of our Solar System, as well as serving as the paradigm for extrasolar giant planets. This White Paper outlines key scientific drivers for Jupiter atmospheric science in the 2013-2023 time frame. Leigh N. Fletcher, G. Orton, T. Stallard, K. Baines, K. M. Sayanagi, F. J. Martin-Torres, M. Hofstadter, I. de Pater, S. Edgington, R. Morales-Juberias, T. Livengood, D. Huestis, B. Marty, P. Hartogh, D. Atkinson, J. Moses, M. Wong et Leigh N. Fletcher (
Rings Research in the Next Decade The study of planetary ring systems is a key component of planetary science for several reasons: 1) The evolution and current states of planets and their satellites are affected in many ways by rings, while 2) conversely, properties of planets and moons and other solar system populations are revealed by their effects on rings; 3) highly structured and apparently delicate ring systems may be bellwethers, constraining various theories of the origin and evolution of their entire planetary system; and finally, 4) planetary rings provide an easily observable analogue to other astrophysical disk systems, enabling real “ground truth” results applicable to disks much more remote in space and/or time, including proto-planetary disks, circum-stellar disks, and even galaxies. Significant advances have been made in rings science in the past decade. The highest-priority rings research recommendations of the last Planetary Science Decadal Survey were to operate and extend the Cassini orbiter mission at Saturn; this has been done with tremendous success, accounting for much of the progress made on key science questions, as we will describe. Important progress in understanding the rings of Saturn and other planets has also come from Earth-based observational and theoretical work, again as prioritized by the last Decadal Survey. However, much important work remains to be done. At Saturn, the Cassini Solstice Mission must be brought to a successful completion. Priority should also be placed on sending spacecraft to Neptune and/or Uranus, now unvisited for more than 20 years. At Jupiter and Pluto, opportunities afforded by visiting spacecraft capable of studying rings should be exploited. On Earth, the need for continued research and analysis remains strong, including in-depth analysis of rings data already obtained, numerical and theoretical modeling work, laboratory analysis of materials and processes analogous to those found in the outer solar system, and continued Earth-based observations. Tiscareno + 44 others (so far) Matthew Tiscareno (
Saturn Atmospheric Science in the Next Decade The Cassini mission to Saturn, presently in its first extended mission (though to July 2010), has revealed a wealth of new information, established new ideas and posed new questions about the Solar System’s second largest planet. But even though the ringed world has been regularly observed from Earth throughout the last few decades, and despite the Pioneer 11 and Voyagers 1 and 2 flybys a full Saturnian year (nearly 30 earth years) earlier, there are many fundamental atmospheric properties and processes which remain poorly characterised. Cassini’s second extended mission is expected to dominate Saturn atmospheric science in the 2013-2023 timeframe, but many questions will remain outstanding. This White Paper uses these discoveries from three decades of Saturn exploration to assess the important scientific goals for the coming decade. Glenn S. Orton, L. N. Fletcher, T. Stallard, K. Baines, K. M. Sayanagi, D. Huestis, Y. Yung, S. Edgington, S. Gulkis, J. Moses, F. J. Martin-Torres Glenn S. Orton (
The Atmospheres of the Ice Giants This White Paper will outline the most important science questions to be addressed by studies of the atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune. We conclude that a New Frontiers mission to an ice giant should be made a priority for the 2011 to 2020 time-frame. Mark Hofstadter, Leigh Fletcher, Glenn Orton, et al. Mark Hofstadter (
The Case for a Uranus Orbiter Uranus and Neptune are composed mostly of ices, such as H2O, making them fundamentally different from Jupiter or Saturn. These ice giants, and their unique satellites and rings, have an important story to tell us about the formation, evolution, and structure of planets in our Solar System and beyond. To understand that story, we must learn the basic properties of their interiors. We do not know if they have extensive solid- or liquid-water layers (making them almost overgrown icy satellites) or if the H2O-H2 phase diagram allows structures unlike any other planet in our solar system. How internal heat is transported through the interior and atmosphere is also important to learn. We wish to know the nature of atmospheric convection and circulation and how they relate to internal and solar forcing. We also wish to know the composition and temperature of the atmosphere as a function of latitude, altitude, and time. One of the great surprises of the Voyager encounters was the discovery of strongly tilted dipole magnetic fields, offset from the planet's centers. How and where is the field generated? How does its unique geometry affect the transfer of energy from the solar wind to the magnetosphere? A mission to Uranus, supported by healthy ground-based observing and laboratory campaigns, should be a priority for the next decade. A recent JPL study identified trajectories that could deliver significant science payloads into orbit around Uranus. The study also indicates it may be possible to fly such a mission for under the New Frontiers cost cap and using solar-power. M. Hofstadter, K. Baines, S. Brooks, L. Fletcher, A. Friedson, R. Moeller, N. Murphy, G. Orton, R. Pappalardo, N. Rappaport, C. Sotin, T. Spilker, D. Wenkert Mark Hofstadter (
Thermal System Technologies for Future Outer Planet Exploration An overview of thermal protection system (TPS) technologies required for the in-situ exploration of the Gas and Icy Giant atmospheres is provided for consideration by the Outer Planets Sub-Panel of the NRC Decadal Survey. It discusses the capability of heritage TPS technology used on the Galileo probe, as well as new materials required for future outer planet probe missions. A prime conclusion is that there are important issues regarding the availability of the forebody TPS required for Outer Planet entry probes. Specifically, there is a shortage of the legacy rayon necessary to make the heritage carbon phenolic, and there is concern that the industrial capability to manufacture TPS from this material may be atrophied, causing problems similar to those recently seen in recovering Avcoat, Apollo’s TPS material for use on Orion. Recommendations are made that NASA establish a cross-cutting TPS Technology Program to support future outer planet probe missions. TPS Community (>50 co-authors from 17 organizations) Ethiraj Venkatapathy (
Click here to submit a whitepaper proposal.

Inner Planets

A Summary of the Lunar Exploration Roadmap: Exploring the Moon in the 21st Century: Themes, Goals, Objectives, Investigations, and Priorities, 2009 The Lunar Exploration Roadmap is composed of three themes: Science, Feed Forward to Mars and Beyond, and Sustainability. The Science theme is highly relevant to the decadal survey process because it contains the key unanswered science question pertaining to the Moon. Clive R. Neal + 30 others Clive R. Neal (
Comparative Planetary Climate Studies It is the purpose of this White Paper to draw attention to, and summarize, the important role that planetary exploration, and research activates with a comparative planetology focus, have played and should continue to play in our understanding of climate, and climate change, on Earth. David Grinspoon, Mark Bullock and others. David Grinspoon (
Exploring the Bombardment History of the Moon Understanding the bombardment history of the Moon is critical to our knowledge of the solar system. For example, we use the Moon to benchmark the chronology of events throughout the solar system, while its record of early impacts can be used to constrain planet formation proceses. Unfortunately, at present, our understanding of this history is quite limited and may have huge inaccuracies. One critical aspect of the Moon's impact record concerns the so-called the "Late Heavy Bombardment" or LHB, a phase that occurred roughly 4.5 to 3.8 Ga. Near the end of this epoch, the lunar basins with known or inferred ages were formed (e.g., Serenitatis, Imbrium). The controversy has been about whether the LHB was the tail-end of terrestrial planet accretion or a "spike" in the impact rate occurring roughly 3.9 Ga and lasting ~100-200 My (i.e., "lunar cataclysm"). We are still unable to observationally distinguish between these two fundamentally different histories of the solar system. The question is important because it may hekp us determine whether the solar system rearranged itself 3.9 Gy ago (i.e., via the so-called Nice model). It also motivates the drive to date the oldest and largest lunar basin, South Pole Aitken (SPA) basin. Beyond this early period, we also lack data on the chronology and nature of events that took place between ~3.0 Ga and today. This information could provide us with critical clues to interpet the evolution of life on Earth as well as events throughout the solar system. William Bottke (+ many co-authors) William F. Bottke (
Exploring the Moon and Solar System impact history with samples from and investigation of the South Pole-Aitken Basin As the largest and oldest of the clearly recognizable impact basins on the Moon, South Pole-Aitken Basin holds several keys to understanding the impact history and distribution of materials across the Moon. Because of its antiquity and stratigraphic position, it anchors the period of heavy impact bombardment that produced the scores of observable impact basins on the Moon. Dating impact-derived samples from the basin will allow us to determine the age of the Basin and to test models for impact bombardment of the inner Solar System during the first ~600 million years following accretion. Because of its size, it excavated materials of the deep crust and possibly the upper mantle. Analysis of these crustal materials will allow us to test models for the early differentiation of the Moon. Understanding the age and characteristics of the impact that produced the Basin will allow us to better understand the process of giant impact-basin formation and the role it played in modifying early planetary crusts. Sample return from the South Pole-Aitken Basin and further investigation of the diversity and distribution of materials within the Basin will address questions of high scientific priority for understanding early Solar System history, planetary differentiation, and impact processes, with implications for the development of life and habitable environments on the early Earth. B.L. Jolliff, N.E. Petro, NLSI SPA Focus Group, et al. Noah Petro (
Extralunar Materials in Lunar Regolith This paper lays out the scientific rationale for locating and studying extralunar material found in lunar regolith. The extreme age and lack of weathering of lunar regolith make it a natural repository for samples from a wide range of parent bodies and across a vast span of solar system history. The possibility also exists that terrestrial fragments reside in lunar regolith as well, providing a means to study geologic history that has been erased by weathering and crustal recycling on Earth. Analysis of this material will provide a fundamentally new means to study the origin and evolution of asteroidal and planetary bodies. Marc Fries, NASA JPL Marc Fries (
Geopolitical Context of Lunar Exploration and Settlement The Moon has attracted international attention as the current focus of peaceful competition in space. This competition has long term implications for the future of liberty on Earth. If non-democratic regimes dominate exploration and settlement of the Moon, liberty will be at risk. Only the United States and its democratic partners can assure the elimination of this space-related risk to liberty. Harrison H Schmitt Harrison H Schmitt (
Lunar Field Geological Exploration Lunar field geological exploration by experience and highly trained field geologists provides the foundation for interpretation of lunar samples and thus for their interpretation in the context of the origin and evolution of the terrestrial planets. If future lunar exploration does not fully utilize the capabilities of the best available field geologists, planetary science will not benefit fully from a future return to the Moon. Harrison H Schmitt Harrison H Schmitt (
Lunar Helium-3 Fusion Resource Distribution The Moon's regolith contains vast resources of helium-3, an ideal fuel for terrestrial fusion power systems. Development of plans for private sector investment in obtaining helium-3 and its by-products requires detailed definition of that isotope's selenographic distribution. Harrison H Schmitt Harrison H Schmitt (
Lunar polar volatiles and associated processes Science of lunar polar volatiles, volatile processes, and implications Dana Hurley and David Lawrence Dana M. Hurley (
Lunar Pyroclastic Deposits and the Origin of the Moon The primary difficulty in accepting the computer modeled "giant impact" hypothesis for the origin of the Moon, versus independent derivation, comes from the analysis of the non-glass components of lunar pyroclastic deposits. These components prove that volatile reservoirs exist in the mantle of the Moon. Such reservoirs would not be expected to have survived the conditions postulated in current models of a giant impact of a Mars-sized planetesimal with a young Earth. The sampling of a broad representation of lunar pyroclastic glasses, including stratigraphic sequences to give variations by age, will be critical to the final determination of the origin of the Moon. Harrison H Schmitt Harrison H Schmitt (
Lunar Science and Lunar Laser Ranging Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) has significantly contributed to our understanding of the Moon’s internal structure and the dynamics of the Earth-Moon system. LLR has expanded knowledge of the lunar interior by studying the variations in the orientation and tidal distortion of the Moon as a function of time. The orientation of the Moon in response to forces and torques from the Earth and Sun is a function of the structure, state, and mechanical response of the lunar interior and mantle. To further advance these studies the upcoming missions to the Moon’s surface should include new laser ranging instrumentation. Return to the Moon offers a unique opportunity to improve the LLR experiment. New lunar instruments could improve the range accuracy. James Willliams, S. Turyshev, D. Currie, H. Hanada, J. Mueller, N. Rambaux, R. Spero, P. Shelus James G. Williams (
Observations Necessary for Useful Global Climate Models Critical differences exist between scientists who observe weather and climate and those who attempt to model nature’s complexities. Those who observe the natural, economic, and sociological aspects of climate change are “realists,” not “skeptics.” The modelers, on the other hand, believe complex mathematics and broad assumptions can forecast the future of climate, Earth’s most complex system. Models do not yet match observations. Continuous space-based observation can provide the basis for ultimate creation of useful global climate models. Harrison H. Schmitt Harrison H Schmitt (
Sample Return from the Moon Returned lunar samples are crucial to scientific understanding and future exploration of the Moon. A.H. Treiman, C.R. Neal, C.K. Shearer et legio Allan H. Treiman (
Technologies for future Venus exploration The purpose of this white paper is to provide an overview to the NRC Decadal Survey Inner Planets Sub–Panel on key technologies required for future Venus exploration missions. It covers both heritage technologies and identifies new technologies to enable future missions in all three mission classes. The technologies will focus on mission enabling and enhancing capabilities for in situ missions, because most orbiter related sub–systems are considered heritage technologies. This white paper draws heavily on the recently completed Venus Flagship Mission study that identified key technologies required to implement its Design Reference Mission and other important mission options. The highest priority technologies and capabilities for the Venus Flagship Design Reference mission consist of: surface sample acquisition and handling; mechanical implementation of a rotating pressure vessel; a rugged–terrain landing system; and a large scale environmental test chamber to test these technologies under relevant Venus–like conditions. Other longer–term Venus Flagship Mission options will require additional new capabilities, namely a Venus–specific Radioisotope Power System; active refrigeration, high temperature electronics and advanced thermal insulation. The white paper will also argue for a technology development program, since without it future Venus missions might not be achievable. Tibor Balint, James Cutts, Mark Bullock, James Garvin, Stephen Gorevan, Jeffery Hall, Peter Hughes, Gary Hunter, Satish Khanna, Elizabeth Kolawa, Viktor Kerzhanovich, Ethiraj Venkatapathy Tibor Balint (
The Chemical Reactivity of Lunar Dust Relevant to Human Exploration As NASA prepares to return to the Moon, a clear understanding of the chemistry of lunar dust is required to set the stage for extended duration lunar surface operations. All aspects of the unique environment of the Moon—micrometeorite bombardment, UV light exposure, solar wind radiation, solar particle event radiation and galactic cosmic radiation—influence the mineralogy of the Moon, and are believed to impart a high degree of chemical reactivity to lunar dust. While the basic structure and composition of lunar dust is well known, little is known about its chemical reactivity, which could have significant implications for astronaut health and in situ resource utilization needed for lunar habitat development. This white paper advocates development of a comprehensive effort to understand the chemical reactivity of lunar dust by carrying out a combination of ground based studies, focusing on UV and solar radiation effects on lunar dust, together with development of instrumentation to obtain in situ chemical reactivity information. David J. Loftus, Erin M. Tranfield, Jon C. Rask, Clara G. McCrossin David J. Loftus (
The Importance of a Long Lived Lunar Geophysical Network for Solar System Science Geophysical observations of the Moon via a global and long-lived network of stations will yield a wealth of knowledge from regions heretofore inaccessible using the Apollo database. Data collected over a period of at least 6 years (covering one lunar tidal cycle) will yield information on the nature and evolution of the lunar interior using a combination of seismic, heat flow, laser ranging, and magnetic field data. These data are required in addition to the observations made by the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Packages or ALSEPs (at Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 – see Fig. 1). The ALSEPs contained a variety of different experiments (Table 1) that produced significant information regarding the nature of the lunar surface environment as well as the lunar interior. The impact of these data has been hamstrung by the fact that the ALSEP stations were clustered in the equatorial regions of the Moon on the near side. This is particularly significant for understanding the nature of the deep lunar interior. Clive R. Neal + 76 others Clive R. Neal (
The Lunar Dusty Exosphere: The Extreme Case of an Inner Planetary Atmosphere The lunar exosphere and ejected dust represent the most primitive atmosphere in the inner solar system. As such, it can be used as an extreme case - the low density case- for comparison studies to other bodies of the inner solar system. We argue that the Moon provides context to other inner planetary systems (like Mercury) and may be an important (but often ignored) data point when considering the very divergent habitability pathways of inner solar system rocky planets. NLSI Dust and Atmosphere Focus Group (~50 co-authors) Bill Farrell (
The Moon as a Test Body for General Relativity This white paper discusses the tests of general relativity that can be performed with the next generation of lunar laser ranging instruments. Stephen M. Merkowitz and 15 others Stephen M. Merkowitz (
Thermal Protection System Technologies for Future Venus Exploration The purpose of this white paper is to provide an overview to the NRC Decadal Survey Inner Planets Sub-Panel on thermal protection system (TPS) technologies required for future Venus exploration missions. It considers the capability of heritage TPS technology used by the Galileo probe and identifies new ones that could enable greater science value and more ambitious missions in the future. A prime conclusion is that there are important issues regarding the availability of forebody TPS required for Venus entry probes. Specifically, for the carbon phenolic flown on the Pioneer Venus probes, there is a shortage the heritage rayon necessary to manufacture this heritage TPS. Further, there is concern that the industrial capability to manufacture carbon phenolic heat shields may be atrophied, causing problems similar to those recently seen in recovering Apollo’s TPS material, Avcoat, for use on the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. We recommend that NASA invest in a cross-cutting technology development program that focuses on TPS material development, test facility upgrades, design tool improvements, and flight instrumentation inclusion. TPS Community (>50 co-authors from 17 organizations) Ethiraj Venkatapathy (
Venus Atmosphere: Major Questions and Required Observations “How Does Venus Work?” This fundamental question requires a dedicated exploration effort. The paper describes the observations needed and observation strategies to fulfill those needs. Limaye, Allen, Atreya, Baines, Bjoraker, Bullock, Chassefiere, Chin, Covey, Gulkis, Lewis, McGouldrick, Markiewicz, Pertzbornm Piccioni, Schubert, WIlson, Yung Sanjay S. Limaye (
Venus: Constraining Crustal Evolution from Orbit Via High-Resolution Geophysical and Geological Reconnaissance A Venus Geophysical/Geological Orbiter equipped with a geodetic-precision radar altimeter and a high resolution polarimetric SAR could help resolve key issues associated with crustal volcanic resurfacing, the origin and evolution of complex ridged terrain (tessera), and whether ancient impact basins are preserved within the crustal column. Jim Garvin, Lori Glaze, Sushil Atreya, Bruce Campbell, Don Campbell, Peter Ford, Walter Kiefer, Frank Lemoine, Greg Neumann, Roger Phillips, Keith Raney James Garvin (
Venus Exploration Goals, Objectives, Investigations, and Priorities This document summaries the prioritized Goals, Objectives, and Investigations developed via community inputs to the Venus Exploration Analysis Group. The overarching goals of the proposed investigations are to study the 1. Origin and Evolution of Venus, 2. Venus as a Terrestrial Planet, and 3. Climate Change and the Future of Earth. Sanjay Limaye, Sue Smrekar, and the VEXAG Sue Smrekar (
Venus Geochemistry Abridged report from the Venus Geochemistry Workshop (Feb, 2009), with recommendations for investigations to advance understanding of Venus' surface geochemistry. A.H. Treiman, D.S. Draper, M.D. Dyar Allan H. Treiman (
Why the Moon? This paper describes the Moon's importance in understanding the evolution of terrestrial planets and the evolution of the inner solar system. Clive R. Neal and others wishing to participate! Clive R. Neal (
Click here to submit a whitepaper proposal.


Atmospheric Science Research Priorities for Mars This paper addresses one component of a two-part approach to atmospheric exploration of Mars, and focuses on broad atmospheric science goals that can be obtained from orbit. It focuses on the key questions in atmospheric science that remain unanswered, and what progress can be made towards answering these questions in the coming decade. Mission types are presented that can work towards resolving these questions, as well. Michael Mischna + many others Michael Mischna (
Laboratory Measurements in Support of Present and Future Missions to Mars The case is made that supporting laboratory measurements and facilities should be considered an integral element of the Nation’s planetary exploration program. Laboratory measurements are important to the development of successful scientific instruments for space flight and, perhaps more importantly, enable the meaningful interpretation of data returned from the missions. They enable quantitative data to be obtained, such thermodynamic and kinetic data, and they enable insights into potential new planetary processes and interpretations. Vincent Chevrier and others Vincent Chevrier (
Mars Ascent Technology Planning for Mars Sample Return This whitepaper raises awareness that Mars ascent is an extremely challenging rocket problem requiring long-term, sustained, highly innovative technology development. Most planetary missions to date have only needed propulsive maneuvers that are similar to what earth satellites do (e.g. orbit insertion), so that reliable mature propulsion technology has been available. Lunar landing and ascent have even been accomplished with satellite-type propulsion systems. This whitepaper explains why Mars ascent will not merely evolve from such previous capabilities. Affordable Mars sample return needs a miniature launch vehicle the size of a person so the mission can include science instruments, surface mobility and/or drilling capability. A necessary first step may be to establish a community of experts in the field of miniature launch vehicles. John Whitehead John Whitehead (
Mars Polar Energy Balance Science for the Next Decade The seasonal polar caps of Mars consist primarily of CO2 that condenses from the atmosphere to form surface ice at high latitudes following the autumnal equinox in both hemispheres. The seasonal caps are prominent features on Mars that were first viewed by Herschel in 1784. They extend equatorward as far as 40º S in the southern hemisphere and 55º N in the northern hemisphere. Approximately 25% of the Martian atmosphere is cycled annually into and out of the seasonal caps. Consequently, the seasonal CO2 cycle plays an important role in the planet's atmospheric general circulation. Questions about the seasonal caps that remain unresolved concern local cap properties (e.g., column abundance, volumetric density, geometric thickness, dust and water ice fraction, albedo and emissivity), energy-balance terms and CO2 condensation mechanisms. The rate of seasonal deposition and sublimation of CO2 ice is determined by the local energy balance, which depends on solar insolation, atmospheric properties (such as dust optical depth), emissivity and albedo of the surface, advection of energy by the atmosphere and energy storage within the regolith. The pursuit of detailed knowledge regarding the polar energy balance continues to be an important aspect of understanding Mars and its polar regions. This white paper is intended to be a consensus of the active members of the Mars polar science community, and is the culmination of discussions held at the 3rd International Mars Polar Energy Balance and CO2 Cycle workshop (MPEB2009) held in Seattle, WA, 21-24 July 2009. The attendees represented both America and Europe. Timothy N. Titus, Thomas H. Prettyman, Timothy I. Michaels, Jeffrey Barnes Timothy N. Titus (
Near-Infrared imaging spectroscopy of the surface of Mars at meter-scales to constrain the geological origin of hydrous alteration products, identify candidate sites and samples for future in-situ and sample return missions, and guide surface operations Near-infrared (NIR, 1-2.6 microns) imaging spectroscopy of Mars has established itself as the single most effective tool for the remote identification and mapping of the distribution of aqueous alteration products on the surface of Mars. We recommend the development of capabilities to perform hyperspectral NIR observations at resolutions ~m/pixel from orbit, as well as the development of rover-portable NIR imaging spectrometers to 1) further our understanding of the geological processes involved in the formation of hydrated minerals on Mars; 2) assist with landing site selection for future missions, in particular sample return missions; and 3) assist with rover operations and target selection for in-situ measurements and sample collections Noe Dobrea, E.Z. Eldar Z. Noe Dobrea (
Next Steps in Mars Polar Science: In Situ Subsurface Exploration of the North Polar Layered Deposits Answering the most urgent questions in polar science will require the in situ application of terrestrial paleoclimate assessment techniques, including measurement of the ratios D/H and 18O/16O in ice or meltwater. Whether implemented with a single deep ice borehole or a series of shallow holes along a traverse, such a mission requires subsurface access to the polar layer deposits at sufficient depth to eliminate the possibility of recent surface alteration. Michael Hecht, Kathryn Fishbaugh, Shane Byrne, Ken Herkenhoff, Steve Clifford, Timothy N. Titus Michael H Hecht (
Seismological investigations of Mars' deep interior Compared to our knowledge of the surface of Mars, information about the deeper interior of the planet is scarce. This paper summarizes the importance of investigating the deep interior of Mars by seismological methods for a thorough understanding of the processes not only in the interior of the planet, but also on its surface. Seismometers on Mars can bring insights to questions concerning planetary structure, tectonics, mantle and core dynamics, the dynamo, and mantle chemistry. These insights into deep processes have important implications for the environment at the surface of Mars, for the atmosphere, and hence for the possibility of life on Mars. Apart from a review of the key issues to be addressed by seismology, the technical feasibility of three types of seismological experiments - two global network layouts or a regional seismic array - is assessed. Thomas Ruedas, Nick Schmerr, Natalia Gómez Pérez Thomas Ruedas (
Summary of the Mars Science Goals, Objectives, Investigations, and Priorities A 7-page summary of the MEPAG Goals Document (full version on MEPAG Goals Committee Jeffrey R. Johnson (
The importance of (Noachian) impact craters as windows to the subsurface and as potential hosts of life Impact craters are an important geologic feature on Noachian Mars. They provide outcrops of the crust they hit, serving as natural excavation process. They host fractured rocks and impact metamorphosed lithologies. The latter can be dated and used to calibrate the crater counting record of Mars, as has been done for the Moon. Large craters in water bearing crust may have developed long lasting hydrothermal systems, resulting in hydrothermal alteration minerals (smectites, chlorites, serpentines) and potentially hosting life, if it ever had existed on Mars. Susanne P. Schwenzer and others Susanne P. Schwenzer (
The Rationale for a Long-Lived Geophysical Network Mission to Mars We advocate the emplacement of a long-lived network (≥4) of geohysical stations on Mars for the purpose of investigating its deep interior. The knowledge thus gained will illuminate our understanding of processes responsible for planetary formation and their thermal and chemical evolution, us well as our understanding of the history and current state of Mars itself. In addition, such a network can make an important contribution to understanding atmospheric boundary layer processes and determining the fluxes of energy, momentum and mass near the martian surface. This type of mission has been advocated as a high science priority by advisory groups for more than 30 years, and is crucial for our balanced understanding of the solar system. B. Banerdt, T. Spohn, U. Christensen, V. Dehant, L. Elkins-Tanton, B. Grimm, M. Grott, B. Haberle, M. Knapmeyer, P. Lognonné, F. Montmessin, Y. Nakamura, R. Phillips, S. Rafkin, P. Read, G. Schubert, S. Smrekar William Bruce Banerdt (
The Value of Landed Meteorological Investigations on Mars: The Next Advance for Climate Science Complementary whitepapers submitted for consideration by the Decadal Survey Committee make the case for Mars as a high-priority exploration target and for Mars climate investigations in particular. In this paper, we argue that major advances in the understanding of the present and past Mars climate system are most likely to be accomplished by in situ meteorological surface measurements operating from both a network configuration and individual stations. Support for this position is based on the scientific output from past and ongoing Mars atmosphere measurements, reasonable expectations of future orbital information, the unique science enabled only by atmospheric measurements made at the surface of Mars, and the nature of the key outstanding climate science objectives, as identified by the Mars community. Scot Rafkin Scot Rafkin (
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Outer Planet Satellites

Enceladus Flyby Sample Return, LIFE LIFE (Life Investigation For Enceladus) is a focused flyby sample return of the Enceladus plume and Saturn E ring material. For LIFE, a trajectory to encounter the plume at less than 4 km/s with a less than 14-year mission duration was conceived, ensuring an even more gentle capture of organics than STARDUST at 6 km/s. Since the duration of the Enceladus plume is unknown, it is imperative to capture these samples by the earliest flight opportunity. A mission opportunity such as LIFE is very rare while having comparable science to a Flagship mission but at a low flyby sample return cost. P. Tsou, D. Brownlee, I. Kanik, C. Sotin, L. Spilker, N Strange, J. Vellinga Peter Tsou (
Exploration of Europa This white paper will discuss the current state of scientific knowledge about Europa, with a focus on unanswered questions relating to subsurface structure, composition, geologic activity, and habitability. It will discuss how many of these questions would be answered by the planned international EJSM mission, and identify groundwork that could be performed for a future landed mission. Cynthia Phillips + multiple co-authors Cynthia Phillips (
Ganymede science questions and future exploration This white paper will address current important science questions about Ganymede, and the many ways in which Ganymede is a unique target for exploration. Topics include Ganymede's internally generated magnetic field and interactions with Jupiter's field; the resulting variety of space weathering environments on the icy surface; Ganymede's internal structure, with implications for the formation conditions of the Jupiter system; Ganymede's surface as a recorder of the history of the Jupiter system, including clues to the early history of the tidal resonance with Io and Europa; and Ganymede as a touchstone for tectonic, cryovolcanic, and impact features found on other icy satellites. Finally, the white paper addresses how these questions can be addressed through further exploration, especially the proposed NASA-ESA Europa Jupiter System Mission. Collins + 24 others (so far) Geoffrey Collins (
Technologies for the Outer Planets: a companion to the OPAG Pathways Document This white paper describes and prioritizes technology requirements for Outer Planet satellites and Giant planet missions and provides recommendations from OPAG on how NASA should proceed. Overall it recommends an Outer Planets technology program which focuses on the next Flagship mission (after Europa)to Titan/Enceladus Pat Beauchamp and ~20 co-authors Patricia M. Beauchamp (
The Science of Titan and its Future Exploration Saturn’s largest moon Titan has been an enigma at every stage of its exploration. For three decades after the hazy atmosphere was discovered from the ground in the 1940s, debate ensued over whether it was a thin layer of methane or a dense shield of methane and nitrogen. Voyager 1 settled the matter in favor of the latter in 1980, but the details of the atmosphere it determined raised an even more intriguing question about the nature of the hidden surface, and the sources of resupply of methane to the atmosphere. The simplest possibility, that an ocean of methane and its major photochemical product ethane might cover the globe, was cast in doubt by Earth-based radar studies then eliminated by Hubble Space Telescope and adaptive optics imaging in the near-infrared from large ground-based telescopes in the 1990s. These data, however, did not reveal the complexity of the surface that Cassini-Huygens would uncover beginning in 2004. A hydrological cycle appears to exist in which methane (in concert with ethane in some processes) plays the role on Titan that water plays on Earth. Channels likely carved by liquid methane and/or ethane, lakes and seas of these materials—some rivaling or exceeding North America’s Great Lakes in size—vast equatorial dune fields of complex organics made high in the atmos-phere and shaped by wind, and intriguing hints of volcanic flows of water across an ice crust suggest a world with a balance of geological and atmospheric processes that are similar to those operating on Earth. Deep underneath Titan’s dense atmosphere and active, diverse surface are tantalizing hints of a liquid water, or water-ammonia, ocean. Exploration of this diverse and active world beyond Cassini's equinox and solistics investigations of seasonal change will require landed studes, airborne sounding platforms (most plausibly from a balloon, and an orbiter. Jonathan I Lunine Jonathan I Lunine and interested members of the planetary community (
Titan Greenhouse Effect and Climate Titan’s Earth-like credentials have been recognized for some time, beginning with the discovery of its atmosphere in 1907, and greatly enhanced with the evidence obtained during the Voyager 1 encounter in 1980 that it is mostly composed of nitrogen gas, with a surface pressure just 40% larger than terrestrial. Following from these measurements, calculations soon showed that Titan’s atmospheric gases cause ‘greenhouse’ warming of the surface, an effect similar to that seen on the Earth, Mars and Venus. In the 1990s, direct imaging from the Earth by adaptive optics also revealed that Titan’s ubiquitious haze layer is slowly changing over a 30-year cycle, tracking the seasons that occur due to Saturn’s obliquity. More recently, the NASA Cassini mission that arrived in Saturnian orbit in 2004, and the ESA Huygens Titan lander of 2005, have been returning a flood of new data regarding this intriguing world. For the first time we are now building a detailed picture of weather in the lower atmosphere, where condensable methane takes on the role played by water in the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to methane rainfall, rivers and lakes. In this white paper we examine the atmospheric parallels between the Earth and Titan, including the possibilities for dramatic climate change, and argue that by investing in further scientific study of Earth’s ‘distant cousin’, we may hope to gain a greater understanding and insight into the atmospheric equilibrium of our own planet. Extending the duration of the Cassini spacecraft mission during the next decade will provide part of the needed picture, but in addition we urge planning for a future new mission focused on Titan’s climate, and other measures. Conor A. Nixon and many co-authors Conor A Nixon (
Titan’s atmosphere and surface explored by future in situ balloon investigations A wide range of high priority scientific investigations at Titan remain to be addressed after Cassini-Huygens (as described in the 2008 joint NASA-ESA Titan Saturn System Mission study final report). Recent findings from the Cassini-Huygens answered some questions but also raised many more. Many of these questions cannot be comprehensively addressed by any envisioned extension of Cassini flybys due to its inherent limitations and require both remote and in situ elements to achieve the desired science return. Whereas a spacecraft in orbit around Titan could allow for a thorough investigation of Titan’s upper atmosphere, there are questions that can only be answered by extending the measurements into Titan’s lower atmosphere and down to the surface. Key steps toward the synthesis of prebiotic molecules that may have been present on the early Earth as precursors to life might be occurring high in the atmosphere, the products then descending towards the surface where they might replicate. In situ chemical analysis of gases, liquids and solids, both in the atmosphere and on the surface, would enable the identification of chemical species that are present and how far such putative reactions have advanced. The rich inventory of complex organic molecules that are known or suspected to be present in the lower atmosphere and at the surface gives Titan a strong astrobiological potential. Our understanding of the forces that shape Titan’s diverse landscape (dunes, cryovolcanoes, rivers, etc) and interior (subsurface ocean) will benefit greatly from detailed investigations at a variety of locations, a demanding requirement anywhere else, but one that is uniquely possible at Titan using a hot-air balloon (montgolfière). Indeed, Titan’s thick cold atmosphere and low gravity make the deployment of in situ elements using parachutes (as demonstrated by the Cassini-Huygens probe) and balloons vastly easier than for any other solar system body,. A balloon floating across the Titan landscape for long periods of time (Earth months or even years), with an adapted payload, would offer the mobility required to explore the diversity of Titan in a way that cannot be achieved with any other platform. A. Coustenis, J. Lunine, D. Matson, P. Beauchamp, K. Reh, R. Lorenz, J-P. Lebreton, E. Stofan, T. Livengood, C. Nixon, R. Jaumann, C. Erd, E. Turtle and the OPAG Titan Working Group Athena Coustenis (
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Small Bodies

A Neptune / Triton / Kuiper Belt Object Flyby Mission Argo is an innovative concept for a New Frontiers 4 mission to significantly expand our knowledge of the outer Solar System. It exploits an upcoming launch window that permits a close Triton encounter during a flyby through the Neptune system, and then continues on, using Neptune's mass for a gravity assist, to a scientifically-selected Kuiper Belt Object. The mission will yield significant advances in our understanding of evolutionary processes of small bodies in the outer Solar System, in addition to providing an opportunity for historic advances in ice-giant system science. By carefully focusing scientific goals and optimizing the payload, Argo can provide paradigm-shifting science within the New Frontiers cost envelope. C. J. Hansen, A. S. Aljabri, D. Banfield, E. B. Bierhaus, M. Brown, J. E. Colwell, M. Dougherty, A. R. Hendrix, K. Khurana, D. Landau, A. McEwen, D. A. Paige, C. Paranicas, C. M. Satter, B. Schmidt, M. Showalter, L. J. Spilker, J. Stansberry, N. Strange Candice Hansen (
Asteroids Go to to access paper. This paper identifies the top-level science issues, mission priorities, research and technology needs, and programmatic balance for the exploration of Asteroids. This paper was organized by the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group. D. Britt and 66 Co-Authors (final) Mark V. Sykes (
Binary Asteroids Binary and multiple systems comprise an important component of both the near-Earth and the main belt asteroid populations, as well as Trojans and beyond in the outer solar system. How binaries form, how they evolve, and how their structures and dynamical processes may differ from those on single systems are important questions for planetary science. Binary systems in the near-Earth population are accessible mission targets which provide new and unique opporetunities to address fundamental problems related to accretion and disruption of planetesimals. Andrew Cheng, Andrew Rivkin, Carey Lisse et al. Andrew F. Cheng (
Centaurs and Small Irregular TNOs Go to to access paper. This paper identifies the top-level science issues, mission priorities, research and technology needs, and programmatic balance for the exploration of Centaurs and Small Irregular TNOs. These papers were organized by the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group. Y. Fernandez and 35 Co-Authors (final) Mark V. Sykes (
Comets Go to to access paper. This paper identifies the top-level science issues, mission priorities, research and technology needs, and programmatic balance for the exploration of Comets. This paper was organized by the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group. H. Weaver and K. Meech and 59 Co-Authors (final) Mark V. Sykes (
Community White Papers covering Small Bodies The NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group organized white papers tracking the Statement of Task of the decadal survey and covering the general areas of Near Earth Asteroids, Asteroids, Comets, Dwarf Planets, Centaurs and Small Irregular TNOs, Interplanetary Dust, and Small Irregular Satellites. Please go to to access these papers. 137 Co-Authors (final) Mark V. Sykes (
Dwarf Planets Go to to register to access paper. This paper will identify the top-level science issues, mission priorities, research and technology needs, and programmatic balance for the exploration of Dwarf Planets. This papers was organized by the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group. W. McKinnon and W. Grundy and 31 Co-Authors (final) Mark V. Sykes (
Interplanetary Dust Go to to register to access paper. This paper will identify the top-level science issues, mission priorities, research and technology needs, and programmatic balance for the exploration of Interplanetary Dust. This paper was organized by the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group. A. Espy, A. Graps and 35 Co-Authors (final) Mark V. Sykes (
Near-Earth Objects Go to to register to access paper. This paper will identify the top-level science issues, mission priorities, research and technology needs, and programmatic balance for the exploration of Near-Earth Objects. This papers was organized by the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group. M. Nolan and 57 Co-Authors (so far) Mark V. Sykes (
Radioisotope Electric Propulsion for Robotic Exploration of the Outer Solar System Today, our questions and hypotheses about the Solar System’s origin have outrun our ability to deliver the scientific instruments to deep space. The moons of the outer planets and the Kuiper Belt objects hold a wealth of information about the primordial conditions that led to the origin of our Solar System. Robotic exploration and sample-return missions to these objects are needed to make the discoveries, but the lack of deep-space propulsion prevents any progress on a human timescale. Recent developments in radioisotope space power and electric propulsion will revolutionize the way we do deep-space planetary science with robotic vehicles. The technologies for radioisotope electric power, lightweight, multi-hundred watt ion thrusters, power processing units, and propellant supply systems are all being developed today which will soon make possible radioisotope electric propulsion (REP) systems with specific thrust power in the range of 5 to10 W/kg. Many studies have shown that this specific power range is sufficient to perform fast rendezvous missions from Earth to the outer Solar System and for sample return missions using REP. This whitepaper aims to improve the awareness of radioisotope electric propulsion for propelling compact robotic science vehicles in the outer Solar System and to motivate the need for rendezvous missions to distant primordial objects. Co-authors and contributors to this whitepaper are being sought to join the author in order to present a concise scientific motivation for visiting the objects in the outer Solar System and give a brief description of the REP potential and technologies under development. Robert J. Noble Robert J. Noble (
Small Satellites Go to to register to access paper. This paper identifies the top-level science issues, mission priorities, research and technology needs, and programmatic balance for the exploration of Small Irregular Satellites. This paper was organized by the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group. B. Buratti and 31 Co-Authors (so far) Mark V. Sykes (
Strengthening U.S. Exploration Policy via Human Exploration of Near-Earth Objects By conducting a series of piloted Near-Earth Object (NEO) missions beginning in about 2020, the U.S. will make major advances in deep space operations and technology. Such missions will surpass a lunar landing in difficulty, trumping any competitor's attempt to surpass U.S. capabilities. The challenges of NEO expeditions will instead provide opportunities for international cooperation. Commercial or international partners could augment NASA's Orion crew module with, for example, propulsion stages, inflatable habitats, or scientific packages. Astronauts exploring a NEO would provide synergistic scientific return from a “new” planetary surface, substantially different in origin, age, and composition from those of the moon or Mars. Explorers would also assay NEO resources vital to future U.S. economic activity in space. Crews could also set up and test extraction and utilization techniques for water, volatiles, and valuable metals. Piloted missions will also provide experience and civil engineering data needed for future deflection of hazardous NEOs, potentially threatening an Earth impact. Impact mitigation activities are a common sense, "know your enemy" mission for human explorers; the public will support space-based efforts to better understand and prevent the potential NEO threat. NEOs provide dramatic, high-profile exploration opportunities. The public will be able to join astronauts, via modern communications, in the ground-breaking exploration of an exotic asteroid surface, more than five million miles from Earth. Adding NEOs to NASA's portfolio will reinforce the scientific, economic, and technical strengths of the U.S. human exploration program. Reaching such varied objects using the Orion spacecraft will take advantage of the unique flexibility and adaptability of human explorers. Finally, in the event that NASA is directed to defer a return to the moon, NEOs provide the U.S. with a challenging suite of alternative destinations. Less expensive to reach than the moon, NEOs will nevertheless stretch our capabilities and demonstrate a firm U.S. commitment to ambitious human space exploration. Experience gained on the moon and on NEOs will provide a synergistic boost toward the eventual exploration of Mars. T. Jones.; R. Landis; P. Abell; D. Adamo; D. Korsmeyer Thomas D. Jones (
The Case For Ceres Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt, accounting for one-third of the mass found between Mars and Jupiter. Since the last decadal survey was undertaken our knowledge of Ceres has blossomed, with observations , modeling, and theory converging on a paradigm of a severely aqueously altered body with an icy mantle covering a rocky core, transitional in nature between the rocky bodies of the inner solar system and the icy satellites found at the jovian planets. However, this paradigm is still in its infancy and recent work has proposed alternatives including an undifferentiated object, and even an origin in the outer solar system beyond Neptune. While Dawn will begin the spacecraft reconnaissance of Ceres and provide a wealth of data, geophysical, geochemical, and astrobiological considerations show Ceres to be uniquely compelling as a target for continued ground-based and space-based attention in the coming decade. We will summarize the current state of knowledge about Ceres, present the outstanding science questions presented by Ceres, and recommendations for priorities for the upcoming decade of Ceres research. Rivkin, Castillo-Rogez, Cohen, Conrad, Li, Lim, Lovell, McCord, McFadden, Milliken, Russell, Schmidt, Sykes, Thomas... Andrew Rivkin (
Thermal Protection System Technologies for Future Sample Return Missions The purpose of this white paper is to provide an overview to the NRC Decadal Survey Primitive Bodies Sub-Panel on thermal protection system (TPS) technologies required to return samples to the Earth. This white paper draws on experience gained from the Stardust and Genesis missions, and the study of the proposed Mars Sample Return project. For missions with an entry velocity <13 km/s, current materials can meet Sample Return mission needs. However, it is critical that the manufacturing capability of these materials be sustained. For missions with an entry velocity >13 km/s, heritage carbon phenolic is fully capable, but there is a shortage in the heritage rayon necessary to manufacture this heritage material. Further, there is a concern that the industrial capability to manufacture carbon phenolic heatshields may be atrophied. Development of new, mid-density TPS materials could lead to return of higher-mass samples relative to missions using fully dense carbon phenolic. We therefore recommend that NASA invest in a cross-cutting technology development program that focuses on 1) sustaining current material manufacturing capabilities, 2) recovering heritage carbon phenolic manufacturing capabilities, 3) developing alternate carbon phenolic materials with available rayon precursors, 4) developing new, mid-density TPS materials that could enable better science returns, 5) supporting design tool improvements, and 6) including TPS flight instrumentation to generate a database of relevant flight data to aid in the design of all future Sample Return missions. TPS Technology Community (17 organizations and 50+ co-authors) Ethiraj Venkatapathy (
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A dedicated space observatory for time-domain Solar System science The specific requirements for time-domain solar system science are adequate sampling rates and campaign durations. Existing and planned facilities for general astronomy push limits of spectral range, angular resolution, or constrast, but do not satisfy these requirements for studies of solar system dynamics. Research areas include volcanism and cryovolcanism; atmospheric dynamics; seasonal cycles; mutual events, astrometry, and occultations of small solar system bodies; auroral activity and solar wind interactions; and cometary evolution. The observatory must be spaceborne both to satisfy the time-domain requirements as well as to maintain access to the dynamically significant ultraviolet spectral range. Michael H. Wong, Máté Ádámkovics, Susan Benecchi, Gordon Bjoraker, John T. Clarke, Imke de Pater, Amanda R. Hendrix, Franck Marchis, Melissa McGrath, Keith Noll, Kathy A. Rages, Kurt Retherford, Eric H. Smith, Nathan J. Strange Mike Wong (
Laboratory Spectroscopy to Support Remote Sensing of Atmospheric Composition Spectroscopic remote sensing is a mature technology but the effectiveness of this powerful tool depends directly on the reliability of the fundamental spectroscopic data. Spectroscopic remote sensing is a mature technology but the effectiveness of this powerful tool depends directly on the reliability of the fundamental spectroscopic data. Recommendations are given to improve and organize the laboratory research to support planetary studies. Linda R. Brown Linda R. Brown (
Long-Duration Balloon Platform for Planetary Science The development of a ‘planetary science platform’ to be used in conjunction with existing and planned NASA long-duration stratospheric balloons would enable a new generation of planetary science missions and provide access to mission involvement to a large number of new researchers and students. Many types of planetary science investigations would either benefit from or be enabled by this new platform. Because many planetary science investigations have very similar pointing and aperture requirements, a single platform design can potentially meet the needs of a large number of researchers. This platform can leverage the experience and technology development currently underway within the NASA Balloon Program and serve as a robust, highly capable reusable platform for a wide range of diverse researchers. The availability of an already-developed fully capable platform would mitigate risks associated with gondola developments by individual research groups and reduce costs associated with individual balloon missions as well as significantly shortening the development time for each funded effort. The goal of this whitepaper is petition for the study and development of a ‘planetary science’ balloon platform for solar system exploration. Charles A Hibbitts and 5+ others (so far) Karl Hibbitts (
Lunar Light - Planetary Renewal - A Holistic Viewpoint This policy white paper addresses the dynamics of space exploration within an internationalized and holistic earth-centric model. We find that low earth-orbit space development together with focus for lunar settlement and the worlds beyond poses a unique opportunity for collaborative venture amongst nations. This cost effective approach brings together both expertise and finite resources for a variety of practical and scientific applications. The paper brings forward an emphasis on key policy aspects within the holistic model such as the preparation of co-operative space enabled informational assets for social and economic applications, the undertaking of equitable space security structures and the prospects for a fast and effective international lunar development platform. For a world in transition, for effective measures and implementations against climate change, the scope and ability of space science today offers participation, practical engagement and genuine inspiration to peoples around the world. Many levels of commercial venture within balanced interchange will be enabled through guided policy making and well considered governmental advisement. The opening out of a innovative policy initiative of this type will ensure that economic opportunity is optimized, civil society benefits are enhanced and that the steps towards lunar settlement and the space horizons are primarily viewed within the essential terms of an insightful and earth-centric developmental practice. The paper proposes that the primary purpose of space development is to solve the problems of our planet. At a time of critical import, such collaborative international engagement offers US space venture and the extensive space enabled technologies, communications and informational communities, a worthwhile opportunity for leadership and direction within the complex yet expedient global dimensions. Topics covered include outlines for treaty level potentials and international referendums, into the expansion of space and informational age potentials. A. Sinclair " Space for Progress" amalie sinclair (
Onboard Science Data Analysis: Implications for Future Missions Recent missions have benefited from software that autonomously interprets collected science data. These systems can identify features in the spacecraft's environment to recognize transient events, anomalies, or features of interest. They can respond by automatically scheduling followup measurements or prioritizing data for downlink to earth. Improvements in onboard autonomy will continue or accelerate in coming years due to progress in the fields of AI, Robotics, computer vision, and machine learning. This document describes the potential impacts of existing and anticipated technologies for onboard science data analysis. We describe novel operational modes for platforms including rover, aerobot, and orbital spacecraft. David R. Thompson, Robert C. Anderson, Nathalie A. Cabrol, Steve Chien, Tara Estlin, Ralph Lorenz, Daniel Gaines, Martha Gilmore, David Wettergreen, et al. David R. Thompson (
Planetary Protection for Planetary Science and Exploration This paper will contain a summary of planetary protection goals and objectives, and critical issues for consideration in forwarding plans for the next decade and beyond. John D. Rummel John D. Rummel (
Radio Science Investigations of Planetary Atmospheres, Interiors, Surfaces, Rings, and Solar and Fundamental Physics Scientists utilize radio links between spacecraft and Earth to examine changes in the phase/frequency, amplitude, line-width, or polarization, as well round-trip light time, of radio signals to investigate: planetary atmospheres and ionospheres, planetary rings, planetary surface characteristics, shapes, gravitational fields, orbital motion and dynamics of solar system bodies, magnetic fields of the Sun and planets, the solar wind and corona, cometary atmospheres, gravitational waves, gravitational redshift, relativistic time-delay, and other phenomena. Advances in Radio Science instrumentation can increase the quality of the data by at least an order of magnitude and lead to new discoveries. This development will define the field for future mission in the next decade and beyond. Sami Asmar (coordinator) + ~ 50 authors Sami Asmar (
Sociological Considerations for the Success of Unmanned Planetary Exploration Missions Despite the critical importance of “unmanned” probes, planetary exploration as an endeavor also relies heavily on human interactions to cultivate ongoing mission success. The unique configuration of these relationships, roles and interactions lends each mission a different culture – a “style” or “personality”– that affects how the mission proceeds, how mission goals are met, and how science is done. From negotiating international and institutional partnerships, to the relationships among scientists, engineers, and managers on a team that animate the spacecraft and keep it safe, the human element plays an important role in robotic exploration towards the achievement of scientific, technical, and cost-related mission goals. In this White Paper, we argue that alongside scientific and technical considerations, successful missions must also incorporate deeper consideration of the social science of spacecraft operations to support the achievement of their scientific, technical, and funding goals. Under the heading of four interconnected themes – mission organization, distributed operations, data management, and community development – we outline how mission planners and review panels alike might incorporate human-centered considerations into their decisions about mission development over the coming decade. The Planetary Science Decadal Survey should recommend that such sociological considerations be explicitly included and addressed during mission formulation and execution. J.Vertesi, R.Pappalardo, W.Clancey, B.Cohen, J.Johnson et al. Janet Vertesi (
Space Weathering Impact on Solar System Surfaces Universal processes of space weathering within and beyond the solar system include plasma ion implantation into surfaces, surface sputtering by plasma and energetic ions, surface volume ionization by penetrating charged particles, and radiolytic chemistry evolved from radiation products. Surface regolith layers on bodies with very thin or no significant atmospheres evolve structurally and chemically from impact processing by micrometeroids and larger impactors. Regolith and porosity formation by such impacts have major affects on surface properties. Surface-bound exospheres arise on bodies such as the Moon and Europa from space irradiation and impact effects, and these atmospheres in turn interact chemically with the surfaces. Ejection of surface materials by sputtering, impacts, or volcanism (Io, Enceladus) becomes a local source of plasma, neutral gas, and dust. Systems of bodies, e.g., asteroids, Galilean moons, and Kuiper Belt Objects, can exchange surface materials through the intervening space environments via such processes. Orbiting or landed spacecraft missions to space-weathered bodies must survive those environments, account for processes that may hide the intrinsic composition of those bodies below a patina of space-weathering products, and exploit space environment interactions (e.g., sputtering) for measurements of surface and sub-surface properties. For potentially habitable environments such as Europa and Enceladus, the harmful and helpful effects may impact the search for biosignatures and prebiotic materials. Key mission and instrumental objectives recommended for the next decade include (1) measurement of full elemental and key isotope composition, (2) assessment of composition and radiation aging correlations to surface geology and topography, including any protected refugia of organics, (3) comparative compositional analysis of system bodies as records of system origins and evolution, (4) development of advanced remote sensing and in-situ analysis instruments for such analyses, and (5) supporting laboratory analyses to characterize surface properties under realistic conditions involving space weathering processes. John F. Cooper, Chris Paranicas, Robert E. Johnson, Edward C. Sittler, Richard E. Hartle, Melissa McGrath, Dan Pascu, Kurt D. Retherford John F. Cooper (
The Importance Of A Planetary Cartography Program: Status and Recommendations for NASA 2013-2023 This white paper centers on the need to create a long range planetary mapping and cartography plan that will (1) support processing of large datasets in advance of missions (2) balance the initial costs for instruments against the costs for future data processing needs to provide suitable products to complete the original science goals of the mission; (3) advocate for having basic image ingestion and processing software in place to allow community use of images; (4) continue to follow high-level International Astronomical Union standards; (5) prepare in advance the necessary techniques and software to handle various camera types and radar instruments, as well as the geometric controlling of large numbers of images and associated photometric processing required for mosaicking; and (6) identify what planetary cartographic products would most benefit science and exploration, followed by advocating which future instruments and missions are required to obtain data for such products. USGS Astrogeology Science Center and Planetary Cartography and Geologic Mapping Working Group Jeffrey R. Johnson (
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