Mosaic taken by Mariner 10.
Click on image for full size
NASA Names Next Two Discovery Missions
News story originally written on July 9, 1999
NASA has chosen the next two projects that will join a special series called the Discovery Program. This program specializes in low cost, scientific projects. Out of 26 possible projects, Messenger (the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging), and Deep Impact missions were chosen.
Messenger will begin its long journey to Mercury, in 2004. It will be loaded with special instruments to study the surface and interior of the tiny planet. Probably the most important goal of the mission is the search for ice near the polar craters. Messenger will be the first mission to Mercury since the Mariner 10 flyby in 1975.
Deep Impact is the other project that will join the Discovery Program. The mission is simple, send a large spacecraft to crash into Comet Tempel 1. Scientists can then study the core of the comet. Moving at speeds up to 22,300 MPH, the spacecraft will collide with the comet on July 4, 2005.
A similar project that would have landed a probe on Tempel 1 was recently scrapped by NASA because of a lack of funding. There are currently six projects working under the Discovery Program.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
A mission that would have sent a probe to comet Tempel 1 has been postponed indefinitely. This mission, the first of it's kind, would have landed on the comet in 2005. Unfortunately, other projects have...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more