NASA Audio File

NASA Chooses Three Finalists for Future Space Science Mission
NASA has selected three proposals as candidates for the agency's next space venture to another celestial body in our solar system. The final project that will be selected in mid-2011 may provide a better understanding of Earth's formation or perhaps the origin of life on our planet.

The proposed missions would probe the atmosphere and crust of Venus; return a piece of a near-Earth asteroid for analysis; or drop a robotic lander into a basin at the moon's south pole to return lunar rocks back to Earth for study.

Mission cost, excluding the launch vehicle, is $650 million. The selected mission must be ready for launch no later than Dec. 30, 2018.

HQ Contact: Dwayne Brown, 202-358-1726

TRT: 0:37

Dr. Paul Hertz
Science Mission Directorate Chief Scientist

CUT 1 (:27) – Hertz: How did the Earth come about? How did life get started on Earth? How did the solar system form? These are real questions that science can answer today and in order to answer these questions we need to go exploring our own solar system. We need to touch other parts of our solar system whether they’re planets or moons or asteroids, bring back samples, analyze them, understand where did it all come from. Look for precursors of life in other parts of our solar system.
› Play Now

CUT 2 (:10) – Hertz: The three we’ve selected go to three very different targets. One goes to the Earth’s moon, one will go to Venus, and one will go to an asteroid.
› Play Now