Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Exploration: Asteroids, Moon and Mars
  [Discuss] NASA's Orion Asteroid Redirect Mission (Page 1)

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search


This topic is 2 pages long:   1  2 
next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   [Discuss] NASA's Orion Asteroid Redirect Mission
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-29-2013 12:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Aviation Week & Space Technology reports that NASA's fiscal 2014 budget request will include $100 million for a new mission to find a small asteroid, capture it with a robotic spacecraft and bring it into range of human explorers somewhere in the vicinity of the moon.
Suggested last year by the Keck Institute for Space Studies at the California Institute of Technology, the idea has attracted favor at NASA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. President Obama’s goal of sending astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025 can’t be done with foreseeable civil-space spending, the thinking goes. But by moving an asteroid to cislunar space — a high lunar orbit or the second Earth-Moon Lagrangian Point (EML2), above the Moon’s far side — it is conceivable that technically the deadline could be met.

The Keck study estimated it would cost about $2.65 billion to bring in a 500,000-kg (1.1 million-lb.) asteroid, using solar-electric propulsion to reach it and a deployable capture bag to enfold a carbonaceous asteroid measuring 7 meters across. Positioned at EML2, the small space rock would be close enough to reach with an Orion crew vehicle launched by a heavy-lift Space Launch System, and would give a crew a real objective for scientific study.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1822
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 03-29-2013 07:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd like clarification — is the $100 million for initial studies in 2014 and $2.65 billion the total cost of a mission that might not launch until the 2020's?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-29-2013 07:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The $100 million is to begin work on the mission during Fiscal Year 2014.
The initial NASA request will be divided among the agency's human exploration, science and space technology directorates to begin advancing technology already in the works.
The article states that the goal remains sending astronauts to the captured asteroid by 2025, so the mission to capture and move the rock would precede that.

The President's budget request for NASA will be released next month, when more details will be confirmed.

Fra Mauro
Member

Posts: 1160
From: Bethpage, N.Y.
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 03-29-2013 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How about we use that $2.65B and use it to boost the SLS/Orion budget so we can get to Mars a little sooner?

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2300
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 03-29-2013 05:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How about using it to build a lunar lander, the only missing piece needed to return to the Moon and train for a future journey to Mars?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-05-2013 03:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
RIA Novosti reports that Roscosmos may join NASA's mission to capture an asteroid and place it in high lunar orbit for exploration.
"[It is] a very interesting project, which NASA proposes to carry out jointly with Roscosmos specialists," Popovkin said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper to be published on Friday.

"We could send a manned expedition to explore the asteroid or study it with probes," he said.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-05-2013 03:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Senator Bill Nelson spoke about this proposed mission, as reported by Central Florida News 13.
"This is part of what will be a much broader program," Nelson said today, during a visit in Orlando. "The plan combines the science of mining an asteroid, along with developing ways to deflect one, along with providing a place to develop ways we can go to Mars."

Nelson said... President Obama favors it, as the president already has announced a goal of sending astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025. This plan would advance that date by four years to 2021.

"It would be mankind's first attempt at modifying the heavens to enable the permanent settlement of humans in space," scientists have said in the feasibility study.

p51
Member

Posts: 1170
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 04-05-2013 03:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've talked with some people I know in the DoD and have been told that there is some interest in such a mission, especially in light of the recent asteroid incident over Russia.

As we all know, people's memories are short, so NASA needs to get the funding lined up now before people forget what happened recently with two hunks o' space rock that could have really made for some really bad days here on Earth...

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-05-2013 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to a NASA overview obtained by CBS News, the rationale for the proposed asteroid retrieval project is based on the agency's long-range goals of advancing technology development; providing opportunities for international cooperation; developing new industrial capabilities; and helping scientists better understand how to protect Earth if a large asteroid is ever found on a collision course.

The program also would help NASA develop the navigation, rendezvous and deep space operations experience needed for eventual manned flights to the red planet.

"I hope it goes forward," said Rusty Schweickart, a former Apollo astronaut who help found the B612 Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to building and launching a privately funded space telescope to search for threatening asteroids.

"Asteroids are a very, very interesting area," he told CBS News in a telephone interview. "They're a hell of a resource, and I think the potential for long-term resource development for use in space is going to be a very big thing. And this is sort of step one. It's a baby step in a way, but it should be very interesting."

...Louis Friedman, former director of the Planetary Society and a co-author of the original Keck study, said the proposed mission "is quite an exciting idea" that supports President Obama's 2010 call for sending astronauts to an asteroid.

"It turns out, a first mission to an asteroid is still a big step, too big a step, because you'd need a much larger launch vehicle than we're building, you'd need a crew support system that could last for at least nine months in space because of the round-trip time," Friedman said in a telephone interview. "If we have to wait for that, it would be a couple of decades.

"But the nice idea here is we can robotically move the asteroid closer to Earth and do the mission as soon as ... the 2020s, the goal is 2025. By moving the asteroid here, we have a much safer, earlier first step for humans going beyond the moon."

Max Q
Member

Posts: 395
From: Whyalla South Australia
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 04-06-2013 08:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Moving asteroids. Hmm, sounds a bit like a Bruce Willis movie plot.

DChudwin
Member

Posts: 1043
From: Lincolnshire IL USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 04-06-2013 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Max Q:
Moving asteroids. Hmm, sounds a bit like a Bruce Willis movie plot.

I think that is one of the main rationales for the project-- learning how to move asteroids While in this project the asteroid will be a relatively small rock (less than 10 m diameter), the technology and learning experience will be applicable to moving larger asteroids which may prove a threat to Earth.

I support this project because it encompasses many goals, including manned spaceflight out of low-earth-orbit, telerobotics, moving asteroids, and scientific studies and mining of asteroids.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-10-2013 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Planetary scientist and former astronaut Tom Jones writes for Fox News why Americans must support NASA's plan to capture an asteroid.
To jolt NASA from its doldrums, we must give the agency an exciting, practical focus that accelerates our move into deep space.

Capturing and retrieving an asteroid will energize NASA's exploration efforts: first, access to nearby raw materials out of the Moon's gravity well; next, expeditions to extract lunar resources or visit larger, "free range" asteroids; finally, using space resources to lower the cost and risk of Mars expeditions.

Along the way, we'll create an industry that can free Earth from its finite resource limitations, paying for our space exploration efforts many times over.

Here is a space future both the White House and Congress can support. By "mining the sky" — for profit — we can enrich our society with new wealth and technological innovation.

This new mission will put Americans to work far beyond the moon, spur discovery and commerce on the newest American frontier, and give us the wealth and experience to begin the human exploration of Mars.

mach3valkyrie
Member

Posts: 376
From: Albany, Oregon USA
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 04-10-2013 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mach3valkyrie   Click Here to Email mach3valkyrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On a lighter note, this concept was the focus of the original Outer Limits episode "The Man with the Power", 50 years ago. If you have the time, it's worth a look.

328KF
Member

Posts: 944
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 04-10-2013 11:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think we are lowering the bar to fit what some bean counters think we can afford here. The target asteroid, which has yet to be found, is determined to be 23 to 33 feet wide (7 to 10 meters) and about 500 tons (450,000 kilograms). Yet the "ripped from the headlines" justification for this new mission, the Russian meteor, was calculated to be over 55 feet wide and weighed over 10,000 tons.

This gigantic bag design that is shown in the NASA videos is bound to have unforeseen failure modes. Remember the Tethered Satellite System and the inflatable structures flown on the space shuttle? How will this retrieval system be tested in space and how much additional will this cost? Has testing been considered in the proposed budget?

What if it gets all the way to the target and fails to capture it? Even if it does, can we assume that this concept is scalable and feasible to use as a deflection mechanism? While it might "sell well" to the some of the more uninformed public (using the "Big Bad Russian Meteor" example), most here know that this complex system is not required for adequate deflection. A simple solar sail would do the trick.

Have we become so risk averse that we now have to bring the destination for human exploration into our own backyard to make it palatable for the politicians? For the American public? And we have to wait years for it to arrive, assuming that all of the robotics go well and are able to accomplish the task of getting it within reach.

I also found it amazing that the NASA video was very similar to the old Apollo movies...the open hatch EVA from the Orion, the familiar geologic hammer being swung by the EVA crewmember. All from the same playbook of Constellation and the revived Saturn V-painted SLS...showing familiar images to drum up nostalgic support from the Apollo-era taxpayers.

This is nuts. As much as I want the U.S. to get out of LEO and go further out into the solar system, we seem to be on this continuous re-run of electing presidents with their own little circle of advisors telling them that "space", be it exploration or jobs or political survival, just isn't that important anymore.

How does this new direction put us any closer to going to Mars? It doesn't. But it does put us closer to going to the moon again. Funny thing is, I'll bet most of those craters on the moon are full of asteroid fragments that our guys in dirty white spacesuits could go pick up without waiting 10 years for a multi-billion dollar robotic trash bag to drag them back to our neighborhood.

This is a sad excuse for the new "destination" of our manned space program.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-10-2013 11:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
Yet the "ripped from the headlines" justification for this new mission...
The Russian meteor explosion was not the catalyst for this mission; the first proposal for this mission design was made in a report released a year ago, based on a workshop held two years ago, long before the Russian meteor.
quote:
Has testing been considered in the proposed budget?
The $78 million set aside in the FY2014 budget is directed, in part, for studies to identify the tests and budget needed to accomplish the mission.
quote:
...most here know that this complex system is not required for adequate deflection.
The mission isn't designed for deflection; but it does present the chance to gain real world experience working at an asteroid, including managing related issues such as mitigating spin rates.
quote:
Have we become so risk averse that we now have to bring the destination for human exploration into our own backyard to make it palatable for the politicians?
I am not sure where you got the idea that the retrieval has anything to do with decreased risk. The retrieval is designed to reduce the time to send astronauts to an asteroid.
quote:
And we have to wait years for it to arrive...
So because New Horizons is taking seven years to reach Pluto, it is not worth waiting for?
quote:
...showing familiar images to drum up nostalgic support from the Apollo-era taxpayers.
I'll give you the Saturn V-like roll pattern, but there's only so many ways you can design a hammer. I think you're stretching.
quote:
How does this new direction put us any closer to going to Mars? It doesn't.
It does; regardless of where Orion is sent, whether it is circling the moon for four days (as the EM-2 mission was originally proposed) or heading to a captured asteroid (as it is now proposed), Orion needs an extended shake out cruise before it can be used to send astronauts out further, i.e. Mars.
quote:
Funny thing is, I'll bet most of those craters on the moon are full of asteroid fragments...
Funny thing; to reach those craters requires building a completely separate spacecraft — a lander — which requires a budget NASA does not, and will not, have.
quote:
This is a sad excuse for the new "destination" of our manned space program.
This isn't a destination, it is quite literally a first step. This is the first manned flight of Orion. Instead of circling the Earth or circling the moon, we get to do something no one has ever done before. That's not sad, that's exciting.

Ronpur
Member

Posts: 602
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 04-11-2013 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a very ambitious idea. The first manned flight of Orion to this asteroid. It reminds me of the decision to send Apollo 8 to the moon. The robot mission to retrieve the asteroid is going to be happening rather soon I gather. If they want to keep the timetable of 2025 for the Orion EM-2.

I hope the technology that the robot tug alone will create will be a great boon to deep space exploration. And after congress was so adamant that NASA do something about asteroids a few weeks ago, this should get support. I just hope I live long enough to see it!

And it should be easy to scratchbuild model of it!

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-11-2013 09:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ronpur:
The robot mission to retrieve the asteroid is going to be happening rather soon I gather.
NASA's notional timeline is described in our article, but it breaks down to:
  • 2013-2016: Search and identify using ground and possibly space-based observatories
  • 2017: Space-based test of solar electric power and advanced solar arrays (this mission was already in the planning as a technology demonstrator and is being adapted to this support this mission)
  • 2019: Launch of the robotic retrieval probe
  • 2021: Retrieval probe returns with asteroid in the moon's vicinity
  • As early as 2021: Orion EM-2 mission launches with crew to explore asteroid
This is a very early timeline that will likely change as a result of the studies funded by the FY2014 budget, but that's the current thinking.

(And for those not familiar, there are two Orion unmanned test flights before EM-2: EFT-1, launching in 2014 on a Delta IV Heavy, and EM-1, launching in 2017 on the Space Launch System.)

328KF
Member

Posts: 944
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 04-11-2013 11:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, from another AW&ST article Bolden is quoted:
"One of the serendipitous results from this flight, we hope, will be the ability to deflect an asteroid."

Bolden pointed to the unanticipated Feb. 15 explosion of a small asteroid over Russia that sent more than 1,000 people to area hospitals with blast-related injuries, and the passage of the larger asteroid 2012 DA 14 within 18,000 mi. of the Earth later the same day.

So the NASA Administrator is himself putting forth the suggestion that this mission is about asteroid deflection, while at the same time reminding people of the incredible coincidence a few months back of two rocks in the sky threatening Earth.

I also find it interesting that this new mission comes just a short time after Planetary Resources announced their commercial plans to use a similarly designed retrieval spacecraft to bring asteroids closer to Earth. How does that play into this?

Are we going to see the retrieval mission outsourced to a private company down the road? I wonder if their intentions influenced the decision to go in this direction or the other way around. I would suggest that we let that market play itself out and if the demand is there, let the commercial entities invest their own capital in the venture.

We're going to spend $2.65 billion (likely to increase over the years) to go after a yet-to-be-found target. I don't know what Altair would have cost in the long run, but a couple of billion dollars sure could have gone a long way to getting us someplace.

I would also point out in the "notional timeline" that there is no space-based hardware testing of the retrieval system. I hope this would not be the case. The proposed mission and cost would be even more of a waste if it got to the rock and tangled itself all up.

Where would our intrepid EM-2 crew go then?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-11-2013 11:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was listening to the press conference during which Bolden made those remarks and if I recall correctly it was either in that discussion or in the later telecon where he followed up and said that deflecting needn't be large moves like this mission, but even a small push far enough out would result in changing the asteroid's trajectory. I'll see if I can find his exact quote.

With regards to Planetary Resources, Chris Lewicki was interviewed by NBC News yesterday:

He said he's already been involved in an "ongoing discussion" about how such a mission could benefit the public as well as private enterprise.

"Maybe this is a model for a COTS-like program where there are operations put in place for private industry to help develop a marketplace," Lewicki told NBC News.

NASA's chief financial officer Elizabeth Robinson was asked yesterday if the commercial value of asteroid mining was a consideration in the mission, to which she said no.
"It is true that there is a space mining community, which is small but developing, [but] that has not be a part of our discussions in terms of selecting the asteroid."
The $2.65 billion figure is based on the Keck Institute for Space Studies report, which NASA said included the development of a crew vehicle to fly astronauts to the asteroid. With Orion already filling that need, and the EM-2 mission (regardless of its destination) already budgeted separately, the space agency feels the total cost will be less than what the institute cited.

As mentioned, part of the FY2014 budget set aside for this mission is to determine what space-based tests are needed, and there are notional plans to adapt the existing solar electric power demonstrator to also test the robotics systems in the 2017 timeframe. More details will be known later this year.

Of course, if an asteroid cannot be retrieved, the EM-2 mission could still orbit the moon for four days as originally planned.

328KF
Member

Posts: 944
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 04-11-2013 01:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I'll give the plan one thing. According to the National Space Society:
One medium sized asteroid, 3554 Anum, is estimated to contain $20 trillion of platinum group metals.
So if NASA were someday able to rope this particular rock, it's yield should fund a space program worthy of a great nation that allows us to go anywhere we want.

capoetc
Member

Posts: 1802
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 04-11-2013 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Apparently, some members of Congress have differing ideas, reviving the proposed REAL Space Act from 2011 ... stay tuned.

Also, check this out. Is Bigelow about to get more than just an ISS expansion contract?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-11-2013 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by capoetc:
Apparently, some members of Congress have differing ideas, reviving the proposed REAL Space Act from 2011...
The bill was introduced by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), who just earlier this week said that he was "intrigued by the concept" of the asteroid mission. He told the Orlando Sentinel that he thought the retrieval mission "has merit to it."
quote:
Is Bigelow about to get more than just an ISS expansion contract?
I would sooner guess an unfunded Space Act Agreement.

(Incidentally, speaking of unfunded, the aforementioned REAL Space Act has this to say about funding, "...the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall plan to return to the Moon by 2022 and develop a sustained human presence on the Moon, in order to promote exploration, commerce, science, and United States preeminence in space as a stepping stone for the future exploration of Mars and other destinations. The budget requests and expenditures of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall be consistent with achieving this goal." Is it even REAListic to suggest Congress as whole would go along with increasing NASA's budget?)

capoetc
Member

Posts: 1802
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 04-11-2013 10:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We shall see what happens.

The odds of the President's budget being rubber-stamped by both houses of Congress are virtually nil, particularly since the US has been operating without a budget for over 4 years now. The odds of the President not vetoing a budget that includes a return to the moon are likely about the same ... unless he gets something else that is more important to him in exchange. I doubt that he is prepared to fall on his sword over NASA funding for a project that will not execute until after he is out of office anyway, but who knows?

(From Sec. 3 of the REAL Space Act, entitled "Mission"): "...The budget requests and expenditures of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall be consistent with achieving this goal."

Are you saying that the current NASA budget is insufficient to achieve the goals of the REAL Space Act even if budget priorities within NASA were "consistent with achieving this goal"? In other words, (hypothetically) if returning to the moon were made a greater priority and other expenditures were reduced (for example, supporting only 1 or 2 commercial spaceflight contractors' development efforts instead of 4; or reducing spending in other areas such as earth sciences; or closing a NASA center or two and consolidating functions in the remaining centers)?

I'm not saying whether I agree with the REAL Space Act or not. I'm merely saying that a lot can be done with a ~$17B budget if the funding priorities are arranged to make it so.

From 1974-1982, NASA's budget in constant 2007 dollars was in the $11B range (while developing and bringing the Shuttle online). Even in 1971-1973, while the NASA budget was still supporting Apollo and developing the shuttle, the budget decreased from $15.7B down to $13.3B (again, in constant 2007 dollars).

The NASA budget is now in excess of $17B in constant 2007 dollars.

Is it hard? Of course it is. It requires hard choices to be made. It requires allocating resources to support a strategy. Which strategy? That's the $17B question, and it is being played out in DC in the coming weeks.

328KF
Member

Posts: 944
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 04-17-2013 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
Are we going to see the retrieval mission outsourced to a private company down the road?
Garver addressed this in a speech recently as reported in this Parabolicarc.com article.

I brought up risk in an earlier post, to which she states,

"It takes the risky part of the mission away from the human spaceflight part, which is excellent," she said. "It allows you to do that in a way that is very innovative. And we think it's really part of what NASA was set up to do. We absolutely believe that overall, to the asteroid community, that this is of benefit."
But then, with some contradiction to her previous statement, she goes on to say,
"It turns out we do risky things at NASA," Garver responded. “Do we do these things because they're easy? We do not. And, of course, we recognize a lot of challenges."
It seems from the article that "asteroid community" is giddy beyond words at this new direction. I wonder what the NASA and academia folks who are not in that community think of it.

Glint
Member

Posts: 830
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 05-09-2013 10:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, Buzz Aldrin's not on board, according to an online U.S. News article entitled, Aldrin Trashes Obama Asteroid Mission.

Quotes him at the Humans to Mars summit, saying, "Bringing an asteroid back to Earth? What's that have to do with space exploration?" According his advocacy, Mars should be the next target. NASA Administrator Bolden defended his boss, Obama's plan, saying "The experience of exploring an asteroid will be critical for future Mars journeys."

Aldrin was further quoted: "It's been 44 years since we stepped on the lunar surface, and I think the progress since then is a little slow. I've always felt that Mars should be the next destination..."

The article also has quite a few reader comments. And now we know where Buzz firmly stands.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-09-2013 11:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Aldrin's objection seems to be the planetary defense angle to the mission. In the same article, he says of retrieving an asteroid, "If we were moving outward from there and an asteroid is a good stopping point, then fine."

So he's okay with it being a "stepping stone" to Mars, but doesn't want NASA mired there.

Aldrin's own "unified space vision" includes missions to Lagrange Point 2 (where the captured asteroid is going to be parked) and (at least) two near-Earth objects (Comet Wirtanen and asteroid Apophis) before heading to Mars' moon Phobos.

328KF
Member

Posts: 944
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 05-09-2013 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read the article as a clear rejection of the asteroid mission by Aldrin, not merely of the deflection aspect now touted as a justification.

While not a direct quote, this line says it all:

Aldrin disagrees, saying that the asteroid mission excites no one and is a waste of time.

To be fair, Aldrin has historically rejected any long-range goal other than the dedicated manned exploration of Mars. But I have suggested here before, and Aldrin states it in this article, that if you need to stop someplace along the way, you might as well make it Phobos. It is widely accepted that the moon is a captured asteroid, so we get to explore and sample that while setting up an operations base for sorties to the Martian surface.

I'll be attending his talk and booksigning tomorrow night, and I'm sure this will be a topic of discussion. Two things I'd love to hear his opinion on firsthand is this issue and the "Inspiration Mars" project.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-09-2013 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Aldrin has a somewhat more refined position toward human and robotic missions to asteroids in his new book ("Mission to Mars").

In the sub-chapter "Getting our Space Legs" he writes:

Visitation of NEOs by robotic craft certainly paves the way for human exploration of specific asteroids in the future.

In understanding and coping with the hazard of devastating impacts by NEOs on Earth, we can learn about the physical nature of NEOs. Doing that, in turn, can incrementally enhance our our odds of effectively dealing with an NEO, should one of these objects be discovered that could gravely affect us. Furthermore, melding human and robotic abilities at an NEO serves as a test bed to perfect our skills for working at even greater distances.

In my estimation, human visits to NEOs can go part-way toward appreciating the challenges of travel to Mars, without invoking the most severe difficulties. Mars must remain a decisive destination, but NEOs offer a special, practical and inspiring challenge that gives us the "space legs" to propel deeper toward the red planet.

Aldrin then uses that introduction to advocate for missions to NEOs, but with a larger spacecraft than Orion, based on International Space Station modules. But that is based on an assumption that the trip will take considerable time. He writes:
No crew should travel for months on end and pull up to an NEO that's smaller than their own spacecraft!
The alternative, the plan to capture a small asteroid and bring it within days of Earth for Orion to visit, was adopted too late to make it into the book, but Aldrin does write about capturing an asteroid in the context of commercial mining.

I was with Charlie Walker and Fred Ordway at this year's Astronaut Hall of Fame induction when Aldrin joined them to discuss the moon versus Mars versus asteroid. It is clear that Aldrin does not support the asteroid capture and move mission, but for specific reasons — he is not opposed, and advocates (in "Mission to Mars" and as part of his "unified space vision" that it outlines) for precursor (to Mars) missions to asteroids and other NEOs. His position goes hand in hand with the advocacy for a different vehicle architecture than is currently being developed.

Glint
Member

Posts: 830
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 05-09-2013 02:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
I'll be attending his talk and booksigning tomorrow night, and I'm sure this will be a topic of discussion.

Enjoy the talk, and please share with us any additional insights he might present regarding his views of the proposed asteroid mission.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-09-2013 03:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
Two things I'd love to hear his opinion on firsthand is this issue and the "Inspiration Mars" project.
As a preview, in the same talk where he made his asteroid comments (at the Humans2Mars Summit at George Washington University), Aldrin said the following about Inspiration Mars:
Dennis Tito has come along with a very exciting mission called Inspiration Mars. I think that this should be supported to the maximum degree possible.
In fact, it is his mention of Inspiration Mars, and his desire that the mission not use the Space Launch System, that leads him into his comments about the asteroid capture mission (watch here, about 44 minutes into his talk).

His comments emphasize what he really finds wrong with the asteroid capture mission — it is not a test of an interplanetary spacecraft capable of taking humans to Mars.

If I send an interplanetary spacecraft to an asteroid, I'm sending it there to test the interplanetary spacecraft.

328KF
Member

Posts: 944
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 05-12-2013 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are a few quotes from Aldrin at Friday night's presentation at the National Press Club.

On the subject of the proposed asteroid retrieval mission:

I felt we needed to test the interplanetary spacecraft and I proposed doing it by flying by a comet, and do some really interesting things, and by going to an asteroid. But going to an asteroid not to investigate or mine the asteroid, it was to test the spacecraft in a different environment.

Now when President Obama and I went down to Florida he mentioned, well, sorta declared that one day we might orbit around Mars but we would visit a specific mission by 2025 we would send humans to an asteroid. That didn't go over too well because there were a lot of details about visiting an asteroid and when can you go back and do something again with it, and what are you going do with humans while they're there... if it's spinning.

And so there was not a whole lot of support for sending humans because they didn't consider the reason was to test the spacecraft, and you just happen to go to an asteroid to do that. But now people have decided they don't want to send a human to an asteroid, it would be too indefinite. So we're going to bring the asteroid back to the Earth-moon system... not a trivial thing.

But when you do that rather difficult thing, I ask myself, what does that contribute to exploration outward? Not very much. (Aldrin's emphasis). And so I'm not too pleased with the way we were going to send humans there to examine the asteroid, and then we're going to bring it back. Instead of what I intended to do was to just use that as a place of testing the spacecraft until to have the confidence to send it somewhere with people... the moons of Mars, but they're going to stay there with that same spacecraft.

And some revealing commentary on his trip to Florida with the President in April of 2010:
I really wanted to go down there and listen to what he was going to say, and the best way to get there was to fly down there on Air Force One. [Laughter] Laugh indicates that there was a lot of skepticism as to whether I was going to get on Air Force One. But I did.

And of course I felt in the flight from Andrews (Air Force Base) in Washington that there would be time to maybe have a little bit of a chat with the President about what I thought. Well it turned out that they were revising and revising his remarks all the way down there.

And we land and I still haven't had anyone come and ask me to talk to the President. What they said was 'You're needed at the front door', so I went to the front door and the door opened and the President and I waved to the crowd. [More laughter] Then we went down the stairs together and I realized then that I was the subject of photography on that trip rather than sharing my points of view.

His comments on Inspiration Mars seemed to be supportive (I didn't get any of them down) but he was talking more in terms of what hardware it was going to take to get the job done... launch vehicles etc. He also discussed the critical timing of the launch and that if it doesn't happen in 2018, you might as well not do it, because it would be 2036 before the alignment was correct for the shortest trip (lots of finger-waving in large elliptical motions during this discussion ).

Buzz was in good form during the signing, particularly with the younger ones.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-12-2013 12:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I ask myself, what does that contribute to exploration outward? Not very much.
I respect Aldrin's opinion, and within the context of a stronger economy and larger NASA budget, his unified space vision might be embraced more quickly, but I disagree that sending Orion to an asteroid parked at L-2 doesn't contribute to exploration outward.

Look at Apollo 7: By the time it launched, we had sent four crewed Mercury and 10 crewed Gemini spacecraft into Earth orbit. The destination wasn't the point of the Apollo 7 mission, it was the need to shake out the command module.

Orion's first manned mission has much the same purpose: to shake out the vehicle. So, if that can be coupled with another set of NASA's priorities, advancing its robotic and propulsion capabilities, as well as its scientific objectives, why is that a bad thing?

Some have questioned whether the technology to capture and move an asteroid would really be useful in protecting the planet. Even if it wasn't applicable to near Earth objects, certainly the same approach could be adapted to capturing and deorbiting spent satellites and large space junk, could it not? And if so, that both protects our planet and advances our exploration outward by clearing the path away from Earth.

The old way of doing things at NASA was that each mission fell into one category, with any secondary objectives, well, secondary. Apollo and Voyager both added to our knowledge about our solar system, but neither borrowed anything from the other. Maybe it is time to change that, especially in light of an ever-shrinking NASA budget.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-15-2013 05:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Planetary Society release
The Planetary Society Announces Conditional Support of NASA's Asteroid Mission

NASA's asteroid mission could represent a new milestone in humanity's presence in and influence on the Solar System. For the first time in history, we would capture an entire object in orbit around the Sun and move it to a place of our choosing. We would evolve from mere observers of the motions of the heavens to participants in determining them.

The Planetary Society conditionally supports NASA's plan to capture a small asteroid and place it in lunar orbit. In the best case, the mission spurs investment in technologies crucial to solar system exploration, such as very large solar-electric propulsion systems and automated deep-space operations, and in enhanced and expanded ways to detect and monitor asteroids.

"It's an intriguing idea. We are very glad that NASA has proposed to double the asteroid detection budget. That doubling could help us identify blocks of ice and rock that cross the Earth's orbit," said Planetary Society CEO, Bill Nye.

Our support is conditional, however, because The Planetary Society is concerned that the detailed goals, costs, and implementation plan for this asteroid mission are not yet well defined. In order for this mission to succeed, the Administration must plan for, and Congress must provide, long-term funding to pursue it in a timely manner without raiding funds from high-priority scientific programs within NASA.

The asteroid mission could fuse human and robotic spaceflight, drawing on the unique capabilities of both to address important scientific questions as well as challenges in celestial navigation and small body capture. Once the asteroid is moved into lunar orbit, astronaut crews would be able to survey and sample some of the most primitive materials in our Solar System.

"Although not billed as a science-driven mission, this has the potential to bring the human and robotic space exploration communities together toward common goals," said Planetary Society President and Arizona State University planetary scientist Jim Bell. "But we need more details about how it will work, what it will cost, and what the specific roles of the various science and exploration communities would be in such a daring adventure."

If a technologically-achievable, scientifically-valuable mission emerges in the coming months, and if appropriate levels of new long-term funding are provided to implement it, then capturing an asteroid and investigating it in detail could end up being a mission that truly exemplifies the spirit of adventure and bold thinking that is unique to the space program. The Planetary Society looks forward to learning more about this exciting new milestone in exploring the cosmos.

About The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. Today, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded the Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a long time member of the Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO.

Fra Mauro
Member

Posts: 1160
From: Bethpage, N.Y.
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 06-19-2013 08:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If anyone has been following NASA's budget proposal, the House isn't sold on this mission, either.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-19-2013 08:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are referring to the House Science Committee's space subcommittee's draft of the NASA authorization bill, which directs NASA to...
...not fund the development of an asteroid retrieval mission to send a robotic spacecraft to a near-Earth asteroid for rendezvous, retrieval, and redirection of that asteroid to lunar orbit for exploration by astronauts.
It also prohibits the space agency from searching for asteroids less than 20 meters wide, until NASA has first identified 90 percent of the asteroids 140 meters in diameter.

To quote Space Politics:

...the House bill is not as absolute in blocking an asteroid mission as some reports might suggest. Another provision of the draft bill calls for NASA to submit a report on the proposed mission, providing specifics on its cost, schedule, and technical aspects, as well as how it would advance human missions to Mars.
For what it's worth, the Senate' space subcommittee's draft of the same bill will almost certainly endorse the asteroid mission, given that its chair (Sen. Bill Nelson) has already voiced his support.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3304
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-19-2013 01:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The House bill steers funding back to lunar exploration (which many of us believe should be the priority).

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-19-2013 03:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While the draft inserts the moon as a destination for a "sustained human presence," it does not direct funding to lunar exploration. Rather, it cancels the asteroid mission and slashes Earth science for cost savings, while placing pressure on the existing programs. From CBS:
As for the administration's proposed mission to robotically capture a small asteroid and tow it back to the moon's vicinity for eventual manned visits, Palazzo [Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., chairman of the Subcommittee on Space,] said NASA had failed to provide a credible justification for the program or enough details to warrant funding.

"Because the mission appears to be a costly and complex distraction, this bill prohibits NASA from doing any work on the project, and we will work with appropriators to ensure the agency complies with this directive," he said.

...two witnesses at Wednesday's hearing -- Steven Squyres, principal investigator with NASA's Mars Exploration Rover program, and Thomas Young, a widely respected space industry veteran -- expressed skepticism [about the asteroid retrieval mission], at least in the context of long-range plans to visit Mars.

"I personally don't see a strong connection between the proposed asteroid retrieval mission and sending humans to Mars," Squyres said. "But I believe NASA should at least be given the opportunity to try to make that case. I haven't heard it yet."

Said Young: "My belief is, any technology that comes out of it, there are better ways to do it. ... In my judgment, this is not a highest-priority endeavor."

Both men said they believed a long-range roadmap focused on eventual manned flights to Mars was the best course for NASA, but they strongly urged Congress and the White House to resist the temptation to set milestones and technical objectives, leaving that to NASA's scientists and engineers.

And they both said Congress should not set goals that cannot be met in a realistic budget environment.

Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., asked both men how long it might take to mount a manned mission to Mars with NASA's current budget.

"With the current budget, bear with me, I would probably say never," Young said.

Squyres agreed.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-19-2013 03:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Steve Squyres prepared testimony:
To make progress toward [sending human explorers to Mars], the draft Authorization Act wisely calls for NASA to develop "a Mars Human Exploration Roadmap defining the capabilities and technologies necessary to extend human presence to the surface of Mars". But then, with almost no technical justification, the draft legislation also dictates what some of the key elements of that roadmap should or should not be. Specifically, it directs NASA to "establish a program to develop a sustained human presence on the Moon", and forbids NASA to "fund the development of an asteroid retrieval mission to send a robotic spacecraft to a near-Earth asteroid for rendezvous, retrieval, and redirection of that asteroid to lunar orbit for exploration by astronauts."

I believe that it would be unwise for Congress either to prescribe or proscribe any key milestones in NASA's Mars exploration roadmap at this time. To do so would put the cart before the horse. Personally, I agree with the draft Authorization Act's position on the Asteroid Retrieval Mission, and I disagree with its position on a sustained lunar presence. But my personal views are not the point. In the 1960s, the government set the high-level goal of sending humans to the Moon, and then left it to the engineers, scientists, and managers of NASA to find the right program architecture to achieve this goal. I believe that a similar approach should be taken to the achieving the goal of getting humans to Mars.

The key early elements of the architecture that will be used to get to Mars have been agreed upon and are in development. The Space Launch System will provide an initial heavy lift capability, the Orion crew capsule will provide short-duration crew support, and the early flights will be to lunar orbit. Other pieces of the puzzle - new technologies and new vehicles - will be needed later. But these provide a start.

Beyond lunar orbit, milestones that could be considered include an asteroid that has been redirected to lunar orbit, the lunar surface, a near-Earth asteroid, Mars orbit, and the moons of Mars. I urge that milestones not be dictated, either by the Administration or the Congress, without allowing NASA to develop a technically sound Mars roadmap first. The objective of this roadmap should be to achieve the goal of human exploration of Mars as quickly and efficiently as possible. Once a viable roadmap has been generated, the additional technologies, vehicles, and milestones that are needed to make it a reality will become clear.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3304
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-19-2013 07:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And from from Thomas Young's prepared testimony:
Nothing is more important than maintaining NASA as the premier civil space organization including maintaining the special capabilities of other government agencies, industry and the scientific community. This can only be achieved by having challenging, inspiring and worthy things to do. Studies, technology pursuits and overseeing others are important but will not maintain the civil space program as world class. We must endeavor to populate the Authorization Act with worthwhile opportunities that maintain these critical capabilities.

To maximize the return from the investment in the civil space program requires that program content be in balance with the budget. This is a much discussed but seldom achieved goal. We continually operate with a budget that is inadequate to implement the established program. Our inability to delete worthy but lower priority endeavors results in this imbalance. Too much program for the available budget results in inefficiencies, excessive risk and program cancellations. The result is that "less is accomplished for more." "Go as you pay" is a much discussed concept that I believe has merit. "Go as you pay" is a useful concept when deciding the point at which the budget will support starting a project. "Go as you pay" is a most wasteful concept for the implementation of a project.

The dominant strategic issue facing the civil space program is human spaceflight. Today, there is a human spaceflight program but no credible human space exploration strategy. There is much discussion about going to the moon, an asteroid, Phobos, Deimos and Mars; however, there is no credible plan or budget. There are human exploration elements such as SLS and Orion.

The NASA budget contains about 8B$ for human spaceflight, not including infrastructure costs. This funds the International Space Station (ISS), SLS, Orion, some technology, commercial cargo and commercial crew. If the budget remains approximately the same, my judgment is that there are two basic choices, a space station focused human spaceflight program or an exploration focused program. I do not believe the budget is adequate to accomplish both and a choice needs to be made to have a credible path forward. I believe as a part of making this choice, an independent assessment of the value of the ISS return for the significant portion of the NASA budget that is dedicated to ISS is necessary. A Senior Review is an appropriate mechanism for conducting this assessment. If this human spaceflight strategic issue is not resolved, the grave yard of cancelled , abandoned and unachievable endeavors will continue to be populated. The responsibility for leading the resolution of this strategic issue should reside with NASA. Another significant strategic issue resides in the science area of the NASA program. There are a small number of profound questions for which the U. S. is in a leadership position and is on the cusp of greatly increasing our knowledge. These include:

Are we alone?

What is dark energy and dark matter?

What is the future of our climate?

Is the U. S. going to be a leader in these profound areas or are we going to voluntarily move to the sidelines? Decadal Surveys have identified the top priority programs in pursuing these special opportunities. Sample return from Mars, a wide-field IR telescope (WFIRST) and missions identified in the Earth Science Decadal deserve priority consideration in the new Authorization Act. Technology is important "seed corn" for the civil space program. A debate in any organization involving high technology pursuits is

Should the technology be managed in a Mission organization to maximize the relevance of the technology?

or

Should the technology be managed in an independent organization to maximize the probability that the technology program will be implemented?

The risk of the former is that the demands of implementing challenging projects will consume all the resources thus sacrificing technology endeavors. The risk of the independent organization is the technology will be less relevant to NASA's missions and become an end-in-itself with scope beyond what is affordable. I believe the independent organization concept with a strong oversight process to assure maintaining relevance and responsibly containing scope of the endeavor is the best balance of merit and risk.

The final topic I want to discuss in my prepared comments is leadership. I "place my toe" in these troubled waters with great reservation. However I believe leadership of the civil space program is a topic that must be openly discussed. I strongly believe the leadership of the U. S. civil space program must be vested in NASA. This includes both formulation and implementation. Politics and ideology are a part of the fabric of a democracy; however, they should be relegated to lower level issues in the civil space program. I recognize that there are times when national issues are important factors as was the case for Apollo; however, NASA has been and will be sensitive to such issues.

NASA is about engineering, science, exploration and discovery. NASA really is about "rocket science" in its broadest definition. Leadership of the civil space program must have the capabilities and experience consistent with this demanding charter. Today, leadership of the civil space program is diffuse and authority is vested in organizations , while important, that do not have the expertise to be in a controlling role. This is a prescription for mediocrity whether it be an organization of great national importance, an industrial corporation or a local community organization. I have great worry about what I believe to be a declining trajectory for NASA and the civil space program. I believe the most significant factor in this negative outlook is the adverse leadership concept I observe.

An example of what results from diffuse leadership with too much authority in the wrong places is the proposed asteroid retrieval mission. This is a mission that is not worthy of a world class space program that is focused upon maximizing the return that can be realized from a constrained budget. NASA must be returned as the leader of the civil space program. If this correction occurs many of the issues confronting the program will be very positively addressed. If not, the outlook is discouraging.

The Authorization Act of 2013 will be important in achieving a positive trajectory correction for NASA and the civil space program. It is hard to overstate the need for a program that is focused upon the highest priority opportunities, a program that is consistent with available funding and a program with leadership vested in NASA.

Great nations do great things. The United States is a great nation and I continue to believe the civil space program is a great thing.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31225
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-19-2013 07:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To summarize:
  • Neither Squyres or Young are in favor of a return to the moon.

    Squyres: "I disagree with [the Authorization Act's] position on a sustained lunar presence." (Additionally, during his testimony, Squyres said that if we go to the moon, it should not be based on a desire to go to Mars.)

    Young: "I do not believe that landing on the moon or operations on the moon is a prerequisite to going to Mars. Given Mars as the focus, it's not necessary. It's probably a significant resource consumer that will take away from the time and effort to go to Mars.

  • Neither Squyres or Young are in favor of the proposed asteroid retrieval mission.

    Squyres: "I personally don't see a strong connection between the proposed asteroid retrieval mission and sending humans to Mars. But I believe NASA should at least be given the opportunity to try to make that case. I haven't heard it yet."

    Young: "An example of what results from diffuse leadership with too much authority in the wrong places is the proposed asteroid retrieval mission. This is a mission that is not worthy of a world class space program that is focused upon maximizing the return that can be realized from a constrained budget."

  • Squyres and Young are both in favor of going to Mars.

    Squyres: "NASA needs a clear and compelling long-term goal. That goal should be to send human explorers to Mars."

    Young: "Mars is harder; there are a lot of significant issues to resolve before going to Mars. But I think that if we had the same national commitment to it, I would say by 2025, we could land on Mars."

  • Squyres and Young are both in favor of NASA deciding the path to Mars, not Congress or the Administration.

    Squyres: "I urge that milestones not be dictated, either by the Administration or the Congress, without allowing NASA to develop a technically sound Mars roadmap first. The objective of this roadmap should be to achieve the goal of human exploration of Mars as quickly and efficiently as possible."

    Young: "I strongly believe the leadership of the U. S. civil space program must be vested in NASA. This includes both formulation and implementation. Politics and ideology are a part of the fabric of a democracy; however, they should be relegated to lower level issues in the civil space program."


This topic is 2 pages long:   1  2 

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2014 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement