Every few years, we get big news from NASA about the potential next wave of solar system exploration. This year, the four finalists for the Discovery Missions were announced and if they all had something in common, it is the volcanoes! Potential missions to Venus, Io and Triton were approved to go forward and two of this quartet of missions will be picked to continue development towards potential launch. This new batch of potential missions each recieve $3 million to construct a full mission plan to prove their value and feasibility.The Discovery Missions are not the big flagship missions like Galileo or New Horizons. Instead, they are missions built on a smaller budget that can produce amazing results. Alumni of the Discovery Mission program include Mercury’s MESSENGER, the comet hunter Deep Impact and Dawn’s visits to Vesta and Ceres.The FinalistsThe four finalists proposed to visit three potential worlds, all of which have not been closely studies by an American mission for…



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