2019.A.4.5. The search for life on other planets with low cost space missions

Author(s)

Peter Klupar (1)
Christian Ruewer (1)
Pete Worden (1)

  1. Breakthrough Initiatives, U.S.A.

Session

B.4

Keywords

Chipsat, Cubesate software, Venus, Europa and Enceladus

Abstract

Rapid miniaturization of computing and sensing hardware has made many of the key components needed on board spacecraft available in very small, low-cost, and light-weight packages. Pushed to its extreme, this trend has led to the emergence of “chipsats” – mass-producible gram-scale spacecraft built with parts and pro¬cesses used in the consumer electronics industry. These systems present an interesting mix of technical challenges and opportunities: While power, aperture size, and communications bandwidth are limited, mass production and low costs allow tiny spacecraft to be deployed in large numbers and to collect data in situ in places larger systems cannot reach such as the planets in the solar system.

This paper discusses how chipsats in conjunction with cubesats will open new frontiers in low cost interplanetary exploration and scientific investigations. Near term possible mission approaches for life and habitability searches will be addressed including how cubesats may enable investigations at Venus, Europa and Enceladus.

Presentation

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