Venus, asteroid or the Moon?

So which will be the next celestial body that NASA will explore?

The space agency has announced that it has chosen three finalists among the eight proposals sent for its next space probe. Depending on which finalist will be ultimately selected by mid-2011, the next space mission will be to Venus, an asteroid, or the Moon.

Here’s an excerpt from the NASA announcement.

NASA will select one proposal for full development after detailed mission concept studies are completed and reviewed. The studies begin during 2010, and the selected mission must be ready for launch no later than Dec. 30, 2018. Mission cost, excluding the launch vehicle, is limited to $650 million.

“These are projects that inspire and excite young scientists, engineers and the public,” said Ed Weiler, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “These three proposals provide the best science value among eight submitted to NASA this year.”

Want more info on NASA’s New Frontiers Program? Check out the site. You can also become a fan of the NASA Discovery & New Frontiers page on Facebook.

Photo courtesy of NASA.