The space agency said Friday it selected two Explorer Missions of Opportunity proposals and three Astrophysics Small Explorer proposals under the Explorers Program based on feasibility and potential scientific value.
“The Explorers Program brings out some of the most creative ideas for missions to help unravel the mysteries of the universe,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for science at NASA.
NASA will award $1 million to each mission under the Astrophysics Small Explorer project and $250,000 to each Missions of Opportunity proposal to carry out concept studies.
The agency will choose one from each mission type by 2017 for the construction and launch phase.
James Bock of the California Institute of Technology has proposed to investigate the universe’s origin by conducting a near-infrared, all-sky spectral survey, while Martin Weisskopf at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will probe how neutron stars and black holes produce X-ray emissions through X-ray polarimetry explorer.
Keith Jahoda of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center will also use X-ray polarimetry to determine the behavior of black holes, supernovae and other X-ray sources.
Christopher Walker at the University of Arizona in Tucson has proposed to study the Milky Way galaxy through his balloon-based observatory, dubbed Gusto, while Adrian Lee at the University of California in Berkeley will focus on the LiteBIRD mission that aims to conduct polarization survey of the Cosmic Microwave Background.