SMEX - six up

In case you missed it, NASA announced selection of the six SMEX concept studies that will be downselected to two launch missions in 2012-2015.

And the winners are...

  • CPEX: Coronal Physics Explorer - NRL
    Solar coronography - looking at flares and mass ejections
  • GEMS: Gravity and Extreme Magnetism SMEX - GSFC
    X-ray telescope looking at "highly magnetized matter" flowing into supermassive black holes.
    Bonus points for a self-referential two level acronym.
  • IRIS: Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph - LockMart
    Dynamics of the Solar chromosphere and interface.
  • JANUS:Joint Astrophysics Nascent Universe Satellite - PSU
    Oo Ya.
    Gamma-ray Burst Monitor, with Infrared Telescope - looking for high redshift GRBs.
  • NICE: Neutral Ion Coupling Explorer - UCB
    Upper Earth atmosphere and coupling to ionosphere
  • TESS: Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite - MIT
    Six telescope, 2.5 million bright stars. Thousands of planets.

Hmm. One Earth, Two Sun and Three Universe.
I predict one of the Universe missions will make the cut... but which...

NASA announcement


Most of the mission concepts are still confidential - they're still competing and they have very little time to go from concept to full mission proposal.


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