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Exploring the possibilities: Earth and space science missions in the context of exploration

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4 Author(s)
Pfarr, B. ; NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD ; Calabrese, M. ; Kirkpatrick, J. ; Malay, J.T.

According to Dr. Edward J. Weiler, Director of the Goddard Space Flight Center, "Exploration without science is tourism". At the American Astronautical Society's 43rd Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium it was quite apparent to all that NASA's current Exploration Initiative is tightly coupled to multiple scientific initiatives: exploration will enable new science and science will enable exploration. NASA's Science Mission Directorate plans to develop priority science missions that deliver science that is vital, compelling and urgent. This paper will discuss the theme of the Goddard Memorial Symposium that science plays a key role in exploration. It will summarize the key scientific questions and some of the space and Earth science missions proposed to answer them, including the Mars and Lunar Exploration Programs, the Beyond Einstein and Navigator Programs, and the Earth-Sun System missions. It will also discuss some of the key technologies that will enable these missions, including the latest in instruments and sensors, large space optical system technologies and optical communications, and briefly discuss developments and achievements since the Symposium. Throughout history, humans have made the biggest scientific discoveries by visiting unknown territories; by going to the Moon and other planets and by seeking out habitable words, NASA is continuing humanity's quest for scientific knowledge

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Aerospace Conference, 2006 IEEE

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