Meteor shower

n planetary scientists have been chosen to lead the analysis of measurements to be made by miniaturized instruments carried aboard a mission called Deep Space 1, the first flight in NASA's New Millennium Program.

Scheduled for launch in July 1998, Deep Space 1 (DS1) is intended to validate advanced instrument and spacecraft systems technologies required for low-cost space science missions. The spacecraft will conduct flybys of an asteroid, a comet and Mars. DS1 science investigation proposals were evaluated on the basis of their scientific ideas, and the unique theoretical and analytical capabilities that they would bring to bear in meeting the overall mission objectives and its cost constraints.

The selected scientists are:

Frances Bagenal, University of Colorado, Boulder

Daniel Boice, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX

Daniel Britt, University of Arizona, Tucson

Bonnie Buratti, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA

Jurgen Oberst, the German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR)

Berlin Tobias Owen, University of Hawaii, Honolulu

Laurence Soderblom, U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, AZ

Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO

Nicolas Thomas, Max-Planck-Institut fur Aeronomie, Lindau, Germany

David Young, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio

DS1's primary science goals include detailed studies of the characteristics of the solar wind, the stream of charged particles emitted by the Sun, and learning more about the physical properties of the asteroid McAuliffe (January 1999 flyby) and Comet P/West-Kohoutek-Ikemura (June 2000), including the comet's nucleus and its plasma properties.

The DS1 spacecraft science instrument package has two main components. The Miniature Integrated Camera Spectrometer (MICAS) encompasses a camera, an ultraviolet imaging spectrometer and an infrared imaging spectrometer, all within one 12-kilogram (26- pound) package. The Plasma Experiment for Planetary Exploration (PEPE) combines multiple instruments into one compact six- kilogram (13-pound) package designed to determine the three- dimensional distribution of plasma, or electrically charged particles, over its field of view. PEPE includes a very low- power, low-mass micro-calorimeter to help understand plasma- surface interactions and a plasma analyzer to identify the individual molecules and atoms in the immediate vicinity of the spacecraft that have been eroded off the surface of the asteroid and the comet

"NASA could not have selected a better team of investigators. The results of the DS1 investigations will make a significant contribution to our understanding of the conditions in the early Solar System," said Dr. Robert Nelson, the DS1 project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. "We will learn more about the material from which planets condensed and life evolved. Ultimately, we will learn more about ourselves."

The 12 advanced systems technologies to be validated by DS1 include solar electric propulsion, high-power solar concentrator arrays, autonomous on-board optical navigation, and several telecommunications and microelectronics devices.

"We are conducting science on Deep Space 1 in order to demonstrate that the technologies being tested are compatible with future science-focused missions and to take full advantage of this rare opportunity to send a capable spacecraft to such interesting solar system targets," explained Dr. Marc Rayman, DS1 Chief Mission Engineer at JPL.

Further information on DS1 is available on the Internet at the following URL:

The New Millennium Program is managed by JPL for the NASA Office of Space Science in Washington, DC. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.

News Media Contact