Wednesday, February 02, 2005

JIMO pushed past 2015? reported yesterday that the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) maybe delayed past the current 2015 launch date thanks to decreased funding in the FY 2006 NASA budget. JIMO is to be the first mission in NASA's Project Prometheus, NASA's first attempt at Nuclear Electric Propulsion and is designed to orbit Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

While I am no Europa fan, I was hopeful in this mission, since with the wide power margin, a very powerful camera system could be placed on JIMO. With that system, even though the spacecraft was designed to explore the icy Galilean satellites, plenty of Io science could still be done from afar. As it stands now, a dedicated Io mission looks a ways off (definitely not before a Europa or Titan mission). However, with this delay, it is looking more and more likely that JIMO will be cancelled altogether.


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