Going to Pluto was incredible, but as we continue to soak in the glorious images, NASA’s already trying to figure out which celestial target to hit next. The space agency revealed five finalist concepts this week, including missions that would take us to Jupiter’s asteroids and the surface of Venus.
I’ve been pondering NASA’s choices for the last couple of days and I honestly can’t decide which one would be the coolest. Should we return to Venus, a Soviet-era haunt that still harbours plenty of unsolved mysteries? Should we strike out for the bizarre space magnet of an asteroid Ria Misra described this week? Perhaps we should stick to our own backyard, and begin prospecting near-Earth objects in the hopes of striking it rich.
After all, we’ll need to start mining those asteroids if we ever hope to become a spacefaring society.
Or should we be heading somewhere else entirely? Personally, I was a bit disappointed that Saturn’s moon Enceladus — which probably harbours a global ocean beneath its icy surface — didn’t make the shortlist. Let us know where you’d like NASA to explore in the comments below. Illustrative space pictures and GIFs are, of course, encouraged.
Top Image: Artist’s concept of the New Horizons probe, via NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Steve Gribben/Alex Parker