back to article THESE ARE THE VOYAGES of the space probe Discovery

NASA's scheme for reasonably priced space probes, the Discovery programme, has issued a new short list of ideas for its next economical science-shot. The idea is to choose a cunning lightweight mission which can be ready to go in no more than a few years, and get it out into space before it can snowball into a budgetary …

  1. GregC

    I was going to post a snarky comment about backronyms...

    ... but you beat me to it in the article

    DAVINCI is a fine example of the art though.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: I was going to post a snarky comment about backronyms...

      Snarky comments aside, that is not a worthy mission. Now float in the Venus athosphere (and thus survive for more than an hour) is a different ball game

      1. Little Mouse

        Re: I was going to post a snarky comment about backronyms...

        Ditto. Learning more about Venus would be my ideal number one, but not like that. Come up with a better approach than crash-and-burn, blink-and-you'll-miss-it, and I'll vote for it.

        Call me weird, but I quite like all those plucky little probe and rover missions that drag on and on and refuse to die that we've been seeing of late.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge


    To search for a black monolith!

  3. Alister Silver badge


    Because she's in the sky with diamonds!

  4. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    Definitely "Lucy" for me

    ANY of these missions would be scientific wins in one way or another, but I'd like to know more about the asteroid belt. The Jupiter Trojans are possibly less chaotic in their movement and interaction with each other, thereby making them safer to study. One presumes at least some (if not all) of the Jupiter Trojans are likely asteroid belt objects pulled into Jupiter's orbit by the passing mass of our largest planet. Perhaps, in addition to clues about our system's history, studying these Trojans will show us some heretofore undiscovered or misunderstood effect of gravity and system dynamics. THAT could be extremely useful knowledge if/when we finally get out and about in the neighborhood.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ironic that Lucy is the only one with a male principal investigator (probably - given names in the US can sometimes be a bit, err, arbitrary).

  6. cray74

    To the Belt!

    I want to see Psyche, partly because it sounds interesting and partly because it might get people off this Mars obsession. Mars offers little but a deep gravity well, water, and mediocre resources. The Belt has mountains, even proto-planets, of pure metal and plenty of water.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To Bognor Regis !!

    Rumour has it that there may be a habitable weekend there, despite the weather.

    1. Graham Marsden

      Re: To Bognor Regis !!

      Bugger Bognor!

      1. TheWanderer

        Re: To Bognor Regis !!

        I'm going to LA


  8. GitMeMyShootinIrons


    But it needs more than cameras - perhaps something in the multiple megaton range, or perhaps Bruce Willis and a bunch of mining engineers?

    Sure, it'll be nice to see the object before it destroys all life on Earth, but perhaps the ability to do something about it would be a nice bonus...?

    1. dotdavid

      Re: NEOCam

      "the ability to do something about it would be a nice bonus"

      That's the successor mission; NEOBlam

  9. breakfast

    Good news for computer science

    As a programmer, it would be nice to have the opportunity to work on the DAVINCI code.

    1. Ashton Black
      Thumb Up

      Re: Good news for computer science

      Upvote for a groan.

  10. ravenviz Silver badge

    Poor Venus

    Was thinking about choosing one of the Venus ones but the naked asteroid sounds intriguing since we'd get to see the inside of a planet - wow!

    Maybe people don't like Venus because you can't see its surface.

    We need a Venus rover like the one in The Six Million Dollar Man. I'd definitely vote for that!

    1. Flatpackhamster

      Re: Poor Venus

      I'm not fussed by it because we can't use it for anything in the distant or near future. We can use the asteroid belt, we can use knowledge about Jupiter's trojan points Knowledge about Venus gets us no closer to conquering the solar system and expanding human activity beyond earth.

  11. Chris G Silver badge

    Pity we can' t build something tough enough to actually land on Venus that could send back data from the surface.

    One of our closest neighbours and apart from knowing it is bloody awful, most of what we know is deduction from observing the top of the atmosphere.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The whole atmosphere is a giant defence system.

      You can land but you will melt/dissolve.

    2. Youngone Silver badge

      @ Chris G

      The Soviets did, the Venera landers in the late '70's.

      There are pictures of the surface of Venus on Wikipedia. They didn't last long however, about an hour.

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  13. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Well, cos Amy Mainzer is hot (appears on NatGeo spacy programs), Venus is hot, I suggest....

    1. Greg J Preece

      For fuck's sake...

  14. Christoph Silver badge


    Once the probe is at the Trojan point it can very easily cruise round looking at multiple targets, with very low fuel use. Like Cassini cruising Saturn's moons, but with a huge number of potential targets.

  15. Drudgery Leak


    Gotta be Lucy but why no backronym?

  16. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

    A blimp on Jupiter!

    That's what I want to see, bobbing about the upper atmosphere and dropping mini-probes to their doom below.

    1. Graham Marsden

      Re: A blimp on Jupiter!

      Perhaps we could have A Meeting with Medusa

  17. tony2heads


    who is writing the CODE for that one; Dan Brown?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Mage Silver badge

    What the heck ... make all of them

    Allegedly the decision of Grundig boss when shown prototypes of new radios and had to pick one, in 1950s.

    I mean USA, under 12% of world's population, rich, world's leading super power consuming nearly 75% of many resources and they can only do ONE cheap quick project?

  19. Esme

    All of the above.

    I'd also like to see a pair, or better yet trio of optical telescopes with good pointing accuracy but not necessarily huge diameter put into orbits at least as far out as Mars so that they can get a better fix on the distances to nearby stars. Equip them with radio aerials and engage in some very long base-line interferometry.

  20. John 110

    Lucy of course,

    My granny was called Lucy and she would have loved a Venus mission named after her.

    Oh, and - Science

  21. Neil Barnes Silver badge


    But where will we find a Motie who speaks Recent Trailing Trojan?

  22. Martin Budden


    NEOCam is the boringest choice but also the only one we actually *need*. So it has to be NEOCam.

  23. Herbert Meyer


    Because the most interesting dust collects in dead spots that never get vacuumed.

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