Ceres program seal
|Motto||Exploring Beautiful Worlds|
|Purpose||Finding a habitable planet|
|Maiden flight||Ceres I|
|Habitable planets found||0|
The Ceres program will find a new planet for future generations of humanity to call home. This program will bring us deeper into space than we’ve ever been before, surveying potential habitable planets, with the ultimate goal to enhance our understanding of humanity’s place in the universe and maintain a place for us in the future.
Ceres, named after the Roman goddess of the earth, fertility, motherhood and the harvest, encompasses all of our efforts aligned with the goal to find a habitable planet for the future of humanity.
The missions will explore the beautiful worlds that our ancestors always dreamed of while looking up at the night sky.
The new suit that will be worn on Ceres missions is called the Planetary Surface Exploration Mobility Unit, or PSEMU for short. The PSEMU will be optimized for the vastly different atmospheric conditions the Ceres crew will endure.
List of potentially habitable planets
Through thorough research candidates are marked and placed on a prime target list. These planets are then scheduled for missions.
Phases of development
For the Ceres program, safety and communication are of utmost importance. This is why the development of each mission is separated into distinct phases which categorise the work that needs to be done. Decomposing the mission life cycle into phases makes the entire process more organised and devides it into more manageable parts. The phase boundaries are moments in which the teams review what has been done and communicate this to the rest of the program and the people of Earth.
Ceres program missions are named sequentially “Ceres I, Ceres II, Ceres III”. Missions always start and end on Earth.
The phases of development are:
- Phase A
- Preliminary Analysis & Research
- Development Roadmap
- Phase B
- Concepting & Definition
- System Requirements Review
- Preliminary Design Review
- Phase C
- Design and Fabrication
- Test of subsystems and assemblies
- Phase D
- System assembly, Integration, and Test (SIT)
- Verification/ Certification
- Phase E
- Formulation stage
- Phase F
- Entry, Descent, Landing
- Return to Earth
- Phase G
- Baseline mission final report
- Image processing
- Capture lessons learned
- Final archival of data
Mission under development
The first step of any mission begins with a preliminary analysis. Goals are set and defined more clearly, the teams check what expertise is available and what needs to be further developed.
The teams research the findings from the analysis and a roadmap for development is made.
A component, assembly or subsystem goes through concepting and through further examination key areas are defined for development.
The teams check the system requirements for the development of concepts and make a preliminary design. At the end of phase B the system requirements and the design are reviewed.
The final design of the system is completed.
The test and flight architecture is fabricated.
All the components, assemblies, and subsystems are tested.
All the components, assemblies and subsystems are assembled and go through their final test. This is called the SIT (System assembly, Integration, and Test).
The finished system then goes through verification & certification before being used on a mission.
Pre-formulation stage begins the process to define a viable and affordable concept. The final crew is selected for the mission. The mission moves on to the formulation stage. A launch date is set and all systems are checked.
The crew and cargo is loaded onto the shuttle and is launched into Earth orbit until it can start it’s trajectory to the Interstellar Gateway. The shuttle docks with the Interstellar Gateway to start their journey through interstellar space.
The Interstellar Gateway travels to the target star system.
During the cruise the spacecrafts monitor and calibrate their subsystems.
Navigation activities, including trajectory correction maneuvers, for determining and correcting the vehicle´s flight path and for training navigators prior to approach.
When entering the target star system, the Interstellar Gateway is placed into a parking orbit around a giant planet. The optimal trajectory for reaching the target planet is calculated. After undocking the shuttle begins it’s final approach to the target planet.
Entry, Descent, Landing
The entry, descent, and landing begins when the shuttle reaches the target planet’s atmospheric entry interface point and ends on the surface of the planet in a safe state.
The crew put on their EVA equipment and leave the shuttle to survey the target planet for key points of data. During expeditions the crew will traverse geology, collect samples, analyze the atmosphere and conduct seismic experiments. This will determine if the planet is fit for habitation.
Return to Earth
The crew returns to the shuttle and loads all the collected samples. The shuttle launches from the planet and rendezvouses with the Interstellar Gateway. Once docked, together they journey back to Jupiter where the Interstellar Gateway is placed into it’s parking orbit. The shuttle then returns to Earth for re-entry and landing.
Baseline mission final report
This baseline mission report is the final product of the mission. The document is written by the team who worked on the mission. This report provides a reference point for the monitoring and evaluation of the progress and achievements for future missions.
Images captured during the mission must be processed in order to return the most information possible. A lot of the images that are taken use cameras that see a wider spectrum of light.
The scientists often use “false color” to make the data more comprehensible. They map different shades of the visible spectrum to represent the intensity of radio emission, this can result in rather spectacular looking images.
Sometimes colors are chosen to make them look as our eyes would see them, called “natural color,” but not always.
Capture lessons learned
The knowledge and understanding gained from the mission needs to be captured to reduce risk, improve efficiency, promote validated processes and improve performance in future missions.
Ceres uses an online database called the Captured Lessons Online Database (CLOD).
Final archival of data
All the data collected during the mission is prepared for long-term retention. The data archives are indexed and have search capabilities, so files can be located and retrieved.