How does DS1's mission compare to other space missions?
NASA has an ambitious plan for space exploration in the next century. It envisions a scenario in which spacecraft will have revolutionary new capabilities compared to those of today. One goal of the New Millennium Program is to have lots of spacecraft in space at once on different missions. A quote that a lot of people use at NASA is that the New Millennium Program will establish a "virtual presence" in space, meaning lots of spacecraft will be constantly giving us information from all parts of the solar system, in effect being our spaceborne "eyes and ears." But making and keeping track of a lot of spacecraft is expensive both in terms of manpower and materials costs. Therefore spacecraft in the new Millennium must be inexpensive and able to control themselves and not have to communicate with Earth all the time---in other words, autonomous. NASA also wants them to go to all areas of the solar system, even those areas from which communication with Earth is impossible (like under the ice of Europa) which also means that a spacecraft must work independently.
The goal of the New Millennium Program (NMP) is to develop, test, and use technologies that improve space exploration. The new technologies will make spacecraft more autonomous which will decrease the cost of space missions; enable spacecraft to gather information from remote regions; and make space missions more reliable.
While each NMP flight will carry a suite of advanced technologies to be tested in space, it is also designed to meet scientific objectives. Science data will be returned during the various flights as the advanced technologies are "put through their paces," thus accomplishing a dual goal for the program for purposes of science and technology. DS1 is the first mission of the New Millennium Program. It is testing many new technologies, including Remote Agent, Solar-Electric Propulsion, and Autonomous Navigation which are geared to meet the goals of the New Millennium Program.
What is DS1's programmed course?
What new technologies are being tested on DS1?
What is autonomy technology?
How long will DS1's mission take?
What will DS1 do on its mission?
How does Remote Agent improve space exploration?
How is NASA overseeing the DS1 mission?
How will we know if the new technologies work?
Why don't we just send astronauts on deep space trips?
Why are we testing new technologies on DS1?