How do you explore the solar system for less money--and what can we learn from this next generation of space missions? More than 300 experts from around the world will address these and related topics during the fourth International Conference on Low-Cost Planetary Missions, May 2-5 at the Applied Physics Laboratory.
Sponsored by the International Academy of Astronautics, the conference provides an opportunity for the world's planetary community to exchange ideas and experiences on scientifically effective and affordable space exploration.
"This conference is particularly timely in light of the current debate of the 'Faster, Better, Cheaper' paradigm for program management," says Stamatios M. Krimigis, conference co-chairman and head of APL's Space Department. "One could claim that the first such conference held at the Applied Physics Lab in 1994 kicked off the debate, and now it is time for us to draw some appropriate conclusions."
The conference opens with a keynote address from Edward J. Weiler, NASA's associate administrator for space science, followed by presentations on NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost missions. Highlighted missions include the NEAR, Stardust, Genesis, CONTOUR, MESSENGER and Deep Impact. Other technical sessions focus on the lessons and future of Mars missions; missions to small bodies; lunar and inner planet missions; outer planet missions; delivery systems; mission operations; mission management and costs; sensors and instrumentation; and space technology.
"Low-cost planetary missions are key to visiting often and exploring up-close the many diverse sites in the solar system," says Edward C. Stone, conference co-chairman and the director of NASA's jet propulsion laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
On May 3, Tony Spear, NASA's Faster, Better, Cheaper task manager and former Mars Pathfinder mission manager, will lead a panel discussion on "Faster, Better, Cheaper: Is it Working?" A panel discussion on May 4, headed by Leonard David of SPACE.com, will examine media and public perception of low-cost missions.
For more information, visit the official conference website at sd-www.jhuapl.edu/IAA.