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November 29, 2008


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Will Baird

Sorry this is so delayed. The family is at 6 Flags atm so I thought I'd try to get some fun stuff done. Replying here is one of those. Back in the 1990s I had a list like this up on my NMSU webpage along with the stealth aircraft webpage.


Isn't there a planned ESA mission? Yep, BepiColombo. 2013.

"BepiColombo will consist of three modules: a European orbiter, a Japanese orbiter and a transfer module carrying the two spacecraft to Mercury. The complete unit will have a height of approximately five metres and a mass of about three tonnes, of which about 50% is propellant.

The European “Mercury Planetary Orbiter” (MPO) will be equipped with eleven scientific instruments. Flying in a polar orbit, it will study Mercury for at least a year, imaging the planet’s surface, generating height profiles, and collecting data on Mercury’s composition and atmosphere. The Japanese “Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter” (MMO) will investigate the planet’s magnetic field with its five on-board instruments. "


I am surprised that the Russians are not interested in renewing their exploration there. They had some primo work done for the Soviet missions and they could walk away with the press way easier than shipping stuff to Mars (which is harder to do anyways). The public doesn't know that Venus is much easier to get to and can be arrived at more frequently.

IDK of any other probes planned here.


There's a plethora of ones coming up. MSL, some of the others. Russia and China teamed for something to Phobos next year, remarkably. Mars and the Moon are the sexy hip hangouts right now.

Asteroid Belt:

tsk. Forgetting the rubble yard like that.
DAWN! It will even orbit Ceres. damned kewl that. NEAR! The Japanese probes. etc.


A lot. The Halley's flotilla. Deep Impact. Stardust. Rosetta. Deep Impact was just plain kewl though...and was accused of being a tech demo of US military tech in space.

The outer system missions are a little depressing. The US has a monopoly and we are not cranking them out very fast at all. *sighs*


I really wish we were in a position that it made sense to have generic landers and spacecraft buses that could be tailored missions in the payload departments. However, the market is simply too erratic and infrequent for it to be worthwhile. Ah well.

Douglas Muir

Standards, Will -- I called the post "Visiting the /Planets/". And if I included missions not launched yet, well, where does that stop?

(Though I suppose Dawn could squeak in on the grounds that if Pluto is included, Ceres should be too -- apparently now they're both "dwarf planets". Hum.)

Doug M.

Will Baird



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