Four mission proposals submitted to
“NASA’s Explorers Program has a proud tradition of supporting innovative approaches to exceptional science, and these selections hold that same promise,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “From studying the evolution of galaxies to explosive, high-energy events, these proposals are inspiring in their scope and creativity to explore the unknown in our universe.”
NASA Explorer missions conduct focused scientific investigations and develop instruments that fill scientific gaps between the agency’s larger space science missions. The proposals were competitively selected based on the potential science value and feasibility of development plans.
Each of the two Medium Explorer teams selected at this stage will receive $3 million to conduct a nine-month mission concept study. Astrophysics Medium Explorer mission costs are capped at $300 million each, excluding the launch vehicle. The selected proposals are:
UltraViolet EXplorer (UVEX)
- UVEX would conduct a deep survey of the whole sky in two bands of ultraviolet light, providing new insights into galaxy evolution and the lifecycle of stars. The spacecraft would have the ability to repoint rapidly to capture ultraviolet light from the explosion that follows a burst of
Moon Burst Energetics All-sky Monitor (MoonBEAM)
- In its orbit between Earth and the Moon, MoonBEAM would see almost the whole sky at any time, watching for bursts of gamma rays from distant cosmic explosions and rapidly alerting other telescopes to study the source. MoonBEAM would see gamma rays earlier or later than telescopes on Earth or in low orbit, and astronomers could use that time difference to pinpoint the gamma-ray source in the sky.
- Principal investigator: Chiumun Michelle Hui at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama
A LargE Area burst Polarimeter (LEAP)
- Mounted on the International Space Station, LEAP would study gamma-ray bursts from the energetic jets launched during the formation of a
The program is managed by NASA Goddard for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, which conducts a wide variety of research and scientific exploration programs for Earth studies, space weather, the solar system, and the universe.
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