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NASA selects New Frontiers finalists
Posted: Wed, Dec 30, 2009, 7:12 AM ET (1212 GMT)
NASA announced Tuesday the selection of three proposals for missions to the Moon, Venus, and an asteroid for further study. The three concepts are finalists for the next New Frontiers mission, NASA's program for medium-class planetary science missions. The SAGE mission would send a probe through the atmosphere of Venus and land on its surface. Osiris-Rex would rendezvous with an asteroid and collect samples for return to Earth. The MoonRise spacecraft would land in the South Pole-Aitken Basin of the Moon and return to Earth with samples from that region. The three proposals will each get approximately $3.3 million from NASA for additional concept studies in 2010, with a final selection planned for mid-2011; the winning mission would launch no later than the end of 2018. The winning mission will be NASA's third New Frontiers mission, after the New Horizons mission current en route to Pluto and the Juno Jupiter orbiter mission, scheduled for launch in 2011.
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