Likely future missions for robotic explorers?
The current space exploration program led by NASA is shifting into a transition from the human explorer Shuttle Program to a new era – Constellation Program – where robotic technology and human astronaut will partner together to conquer space.
Robotic probes have already identified potential resources on the Moon, and discovered evidence of water on Mars and the moons of Jupiter.
NASA plans several forthcoming robotic explorer missions between 2008 and 2012. What are some of them and what are their targets?
Exploration Testbeds, Resources, and Solar System History (targets)
- Deep Impact Comet Mission
- Stardust Comet Return
- New Horizons Pluto Flyby
- Messenger/Mercury Orbiter
- Dawn Asteroid Orbiter
- Lunar Orbiter
- Robotic Landing
Past and Present Water and Life; Testbeds and Resources (targets)
Underground Oceans, Biological Chemistry, and Life (targets)
Earth-Like Planets and Life (targets)
Source: NASA. NASA’s future: The Vision for Space Exploration, Feb 2004 | PDF), pp. 4-5