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
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...
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.