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Maryland scientists vie for NASA missions

Proposals to win $425 million in funding include landing on a comet or in a Titan lake

May 29, 2011|By Frank D. Roylance, The Baltimore Sun



NASA contenders

TiME (Titan Mare Explorer)

Principal investigator: Ellen Stofan, Proxemy Research Inc., Gaithersburg

Manager: Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, Laurel

Goal: Splash down in Ligeia Mare, a liquid hydrocarbon lake on Titan, largest moon of Saturn, for 96 days of scientific study.

Launch: 2016

Arrival at Titan: 2023

Power: NASA's Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator

Comet Hopper

PI: Jessica Sunshine, University of Maryland, College Park

Manager: Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt

Goal: Fly spacecraft to join Comet 46P/Wirtanen near orbit of Jupiter, and study it, hopping on and off as it races toward the sun.

Launch: Late 2016

Arrival on comet: November 2017

Power: NASA's Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator

Geophysical Monitoring Station (GEMS)

PI: Bruce Banerdt, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Manager: JPL

Goal: Land a spacecraft on Mars with thermal probe, seismometer and orbital tracking gear to study inner composition of the planet.

Launch: Late 2016

Arrival at Mars: 2017

Power: NASA's Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator

Maryland weather blog: Frank Roylance on meteorology

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