There are unlimited opportunities to explore the cosmos because of the access to billions of dollars and an abundance of talented space engineers, technologists, and scientists. With limitless possibilities to study any space body or materials, humanity cannot pick a single part of the solar systems are the area of interest. There is no incorrect answer to a question as to whether the human race will explore a particular space body. It does not get boring even when the list is narrowed down to bodies in the outer space solar systems such as planets, the lunar surface, cosmic rubble, and asteroid rings. However, time only allows scientists involved in space missions to fly to a few of the solar system destinations. Scientists dare to dream about going to all of the assignments, a virtual drive towards achieving space exploration.
The Outer Planets Assessment Group is a science-based research and advisory group that concentrates on studying everything beyond asteroids’ belt. Recently, OPAG hosted an online meeting whereby scientists explained to the audience the three distinct studies for space mission concepts commissioned to report to the Planetary Science Decadal Survey. The PSDS provides the guidelines for NASA’s space programs scheduled from 2023 to 2032. The National Academies of Sciences manages the PSDS to provide NASA with an independent evaluation of its priorities for a scientific research community and gives the framework for assessing the launch sites for more gigantic and miniature space missions. The panel officials developing NASA’s decadal survey said that evaluating the priorities is easier when put in a pictorial illustration that shows the kind of science offered at various solar system destinations.
Shannon MacKenize, a planetary research scientist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, said that the missions’ flying is surprising. Mackenzie is the lead author among the studies conducted for mission concepts. During a Q&A session held on September 2, Mackenzie said that the project aims to illustrate the scope of the research and possibilities for development, rather than submit mission proposals.
The three distinct concept studies evaluated the subdivisions of NASA’s flagship missions, including projects such as the Cassini mission to Saturn, the Mars Rovers Curiosity and Perseverance, and the Galileo mission Jupiter. The red planet’s Perseverance project is the most extensive of the three, costing an estimated $2.7 billion. NASA is unable to manage the implementation of all the three flagship projects at the same time.
In summary, even if all the missions never fly, the concept studies continue to shape the future of spacecraft launch missions, decades to come. The reviews on the concept missions examine the type of science-based research feasible in every region of the solar system.