NASA has given the green light to a new Mars mission led by the UC Berkeley Space Science Laboratory called ESCAPADE. The purpose of the mission is to study the magnetosphere of Mars. NASA also confirmed that the mission will use Rocket Lab spacecraft. Rocket Lab will provide a pair of Photon spacecraft.
The company announced that it has begun final design of the mission and will begin production of two Photon interplanetary spacecraft for the ESCAPADE mission. Rocket Lab claims that its rockets will deliver scientific data to NASA at a cost below the usual cost of such a mission.
ESCAPADE (Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers) will revolve around Mars in orbit as a pair of Photon spacecraft and collect data that will help scientists understand Mars in detail not currently available. ESCAPADE is NASA’s latest mission in a small innovative planetary exploration program known as SIMPLEX, which aims to make planet exploration cheaper.
The mission is currently preparing to launch in 2024 and will be operated by NASA’s Heliophysics Division. ESCAPADE is the department’s first mission to another planet.