Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Fifteen Course Dinner and now the Check Please! - Pie in the sky for Dessert would be nice

I have this ill feeling in my stomach.
I think I eat something that doesn't agree with me.
- LRK -

Well I listened and watched and read President Obama's speech to the folks at KSC.
He says he expects to see us send humans around Mars in his lifetime with his plan.

Elon Musk of Space X has a statement of support - AT LONG LAST, AN INSPIRING FUTURE FOR SPACE EXPLORATION. has an article in agreement - Obama Aims to Send Astronauts to an Asteroid, Then to Mars

The National Space Society sent me an e-mail with the subject - NSS Press Release on President's Visit to Kennedy Space Center - NSS APPLAUDS PRESIDENTS COMMITMENT TO THE MISSION OF NASA AND THE ROLE OF SPACE IN PROVIDING FOR THE FUTURE.

Remarks by the President on Space Exploration in the 21st Century as posted on the NSS site.

We have been planning a long time to send humans to space. The International Space Station was going to be used to test our ability to withstand the effect of microgravity on the human body. It has been limited in scope due to budget limitations, reduction in scope and experiments canceled. Added to that just the delays in competing construction.

We have had testing on the ground for being able to withstand long periods in confined environments, with some success and some failures. We have tried to make complete ecological environments like Biosphere 2 with problems.
- LRK -

Biosphere 2 had two closure experiments, Missions 1 and 2. The first, with a crew of eight people, ran for two years 1991-93. Following a six month transition period during which researchers entered the facility through airlock doors and conducted research and system engineering improvements, a second closure with a crew of seven people was conducted March 1994-September 1994. In the course of that second mission, a dispute over management of the financial aspects of the project caused the on-site management to be locked out, and the mission itself to be ended prematurely.


There has been much work done on Habitability Designs for living in space and testing the ability to get along with each other and how to feed and care for humans in confined spaces.
- LRK -

Habitability and Environmental Factors Division

The Habitability and Environmental Factors Division (HEFD) at NASA/Johnson Space Center is responsible for providing a safe and productive environment for any human spacecraft or habitat and overseeing the research and technology development to enable humans to safely and effectively live and work in space. This work includes human factors and habitability systems; air and water quality, toxicology, microbiology, acoustics and radiation health; and rapid prototyping and integration of human-centered and vehicle systems. HEFD is comprised of two branches:

We have not gone to a celestial body and stayed long enough to prove our ability to survive and make use of the resources available on location.
Going back to the Moon to stay was going to be a proof test and shake out the problems of living off planet.

You can read an in depth report of how we were going to use the Lunar Resources. Topics covered included: Astrophysics, Earth Science, Heliophysics, Planetary Protection, and Planetary Science.
- LRK -

--------------------------------------------------- (138 page, 15.4 MB)


The overall objective of the workshop was to provide input from the scientific community through the NASA Advisory Council to the NASA Administrator regarding science associated with the return-to-the-Moon phase of the VSE. Findings developed during the “Workshop on Science Associated with the Lunar Exploration Architecture” are intended to form a basis for Council recommendations regarding planning and implementation of NASA’s Lunar Exploration Architecture and related science programs Through attendance of their representatives, workshop considerations and findings became immediately available to the two Mission Directorates.


President Obama said, "Now, I understand that some believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the Moon first, as previously planned. But I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We’ve been there before." . . .

Yes, we have been to the Moon, but done what? A three day stay is not surviving on another planet for six months or two years, it is only three days in transit to the Moon and not six to eight months in space like Mars if you use chemical propulsion. Will the VASIMR engine be tested on the ISS before the shuttle missions stop? We haven't developed nuclear power for powering ION engines on a true spaceship to do it in a shorter time. (39 days?) We don't know if we could survive off world and you don't extract someone from Mars at a moments notice. Orbiting Mars sounds like a one time Apollo mission to me. Been there and then cancel further missions.
- LRK -

The President said. "But I want to repeat -- I want to repeat this: Critical to deep space exploration will be the development of breakthrough propulsion systems and other advanced technologies. So I’m challenging NASA to break through these barriers. And we’ll give you the resources to break through these barriers. And I know you will, with ingenuity and intensity, because that’s what you’ve always done. (Applause.)" . . .

Yes it has been done, when properly funded, and NO it han't been done when funds were withdrawn and missions canceled Too many missions canceled for lack of funds or changes in World conditions and political will. As I see it the goal should be to learn how to live off world. That means more than just throwing darts at a sky map and saying why don't we go here today.
- LRK -

Well what is it going to take to get back to the Moon? Do we have to borrow a Shuttle and change out the engine in space like Jack Medaris did in "BACK TO THE MOON" by Homer H. Hickam, JR.?

Speaking of Homer H. Hickam, JR., maybe we should read his comments about the decision to cancel plans to go to the Moon.
- LRK -

Homer Shrugs - 2010-04-07 07:19:40
Dear Readers:

Well, here it is April, 2010, and the dust still hasn't quite settled on the Obama's Administration's 2011 budget proposal which cancelled NASA's plan to return Americans to the moon, recommended increased reliance on commercial firms to carry Americans into low earth orbit, and a smorgasbord of baffling, nonspecific ideas for going into deep space.


Maybe I have created some indigestion pains but let me share some more food for thought.
Dr. Ronald Wells wrote me this.
- LRK -

Obama's decision to cancel Constellation will have dire consequences
for both the future economy and security of this country in spite of
his rousing speech in Florida today. Armstrong, Lovell, and Cernan as
well as 27 other former astronauts, going all the way back to the
Mercury program, flight controllers, and a former Administrator of
Manned Spaceflight during the Apollo period are correct in that

There is no way that a commercial spacecraft can be ready to go to the
ISS in the foreseeable future (5-10 years), never mind to the Moon or
to Mars or to some asteroid. Commercial companies do not have the
expertise, the safety record, the ability to prove the craft ready for
human flight, nor the launch facilities and personnel to oversee such
launches. Yes, Obama says NASA has always relied on private enterprise
to build its rockets; but he fails to point out that behind every
commercial engineer stood a NASA engineer overseeing design, quality
control, and production schedules. NASA and the commercial companies
formed tightly knit teams, which have not been allowed for under the
Obama plan. The follow-on heavy launch vehicle, Ares V, was following
a developmental schedule similar to the construction of the Saturn V
rocket that took the Apollo astronauts to the Moon. Ares V was
destined to lift twice the payload to the Moon and form the basis of
travel on to Mars. It WAS the next generation vehicle for America's
deep space program, but Obama wants to start over with a new design
after nearly $10 billion have already been spent on Constellation
which was following the tightly knit cooperative approach so necessary
on a major space endeavor.

On the other hand, the launch last October of Ares I-X, the first step
towards Ares V and the developmental version of the rocket to take
Orion to the ISS was successful, and would be human-rated long before
any commercial vehicle, domestic or foreign. Buzz Aldrin may support
Obama's decision but there is a formidable array of his colleagues who
have as much, if not more, experience than he has in space exploration
and how to administer it, who do not agree with him. Other Apollo
astronauts have written to Chairman Wolf of the Appropriations
Committee expressing their disagreement over the proposed
cancellation! Fortunately, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas has
introduced Senate bill S.3068 which would restore funding to
Constellation and mandate that it be completed.

Those who insist that Constellation is an exemplar of what is wrong
with NASA have no sense of history, or of the significance that the
program had for pure science and the future of the economy of this
country and also its foreign policy. The NASA Advisory Council (NAC),
chaired by former Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt, a more
cohesive and experienced panel of scientists than the Augustine
Commission, Obama's politically appointed panel, examined the
Constellation program on four different occasions during its
development. They found nothing wrong each time with the exception of
underfunding by Congress, the main reason the program is behind

The NAC also set up a marvelous science program to be carried out at
Shackleton base near the lunar South Pole, an enterprise, not unlike
Antarctica, which would have conducted science in 5 major areas:
astrophysics, earth science (yes, earth science from a Moon base),
heliophysics, planetary protection, and planetary science--all of
these areas fell into the overarching exploration themes that answer
why we needed to go back to the Moon: human civilization, scientific
knowledge, exploration preparation, global partnerships, economic
expansion, and public engagement.

Obama can intimate that we've "been there, done that" as a reason for
cancelling a Return to the Moon, but his Vision for the Future is
remarkably barren of a similarly detailed plan forming a change we can
believe in! Schmitt has perfectly characterized both the President and
Aldrin with the last two sentences of a Letter to the Editor of the
Wall Street Journal (3/08/2010): "With his ongoing retrenchment and
politicization of NASA, the president is signaling to the young and
the world that the U.S. has withdrawn from the future of humankind in
space. Mr. Aldrin's characterization of the president's budget as a
"bold initiative" would be laughable if it did not represent such an
abysmal lack of understanding of the consequences of this proposed
retreat from American greatness."

Obama's speech today does not alter that assessment. The same can be
said for other critics of NASA and the Constellation Program, such as
the Planetary Society officers, and even those in NASA who lack the
courage and the conviction to stand up against the President, starting
at the top! NASA Administrator Bolden, Deputy Administrator Garver,
and Science Advisor Holdren do not have the expertise to manage
anything approaching what the Constellation program represented for
America's future. In the words that Homer Hickam (author of "Rocket
Boys", a.k.a. "October Skies") used today, they do not have the
experience even to manage "a boy scout jamboree". Remember that
shuttle astronaut Bolden believes we can get to Mars in weeks instead
of months, evidence that he does not understand Hohmann transfers, and
Garver's experience rises to the level of a Public Affairs Officer.
Watching Obama & his Administration dismantle American exceptionalism
by ceding it to China, Russia, and other countries and replacing ours
with smoke and mirrors is truly a disheartening experience.

R. A. Wells

Time for a glass of water and a couple of Alka-Seltzer.
My apologies if I caused any upset stomachs.
- LRK -

In my eighteen years supporting NASA at Ames Research Center I saw a number of reorganizations and when I left there were a lot of empty rooms and halls that echoed with ghosts of past missions canceled. I thought we had plans to go to mars and the stars by taking steps that would assure a good footing and prove we knew how to survive in the thin air of space. You don't climb Mt Everest in a direct climb, you establish base camps and adjust to the knew environment, then you proceed, picking your steps carefully lest you fall to your death or freeze in an unexpected storm. The Moon just makes sense as a base camp to check out our new tools giving us the needed information to make the final climb to space.

If you want to make a direct climb now, my blessings go with you. I hope I don't have to step over your corpse.
- LRK -

Thanks for looking up with me.
- LRK -

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LRO Sees Apollo Landing Sites

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has returned its first imagery of the Apollo moon landing sites. The pictures show the Apollo missions' lunar module descent stages sitting on the moon's surface, as long shadows from a low sun angle make the modules' locations evident.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC, was able to image five of the six Apollo sites, with the remaining Apollo 12 site expected to be photographed in the coming weeks.

The satellite reached lunar orbit June 23 and captured the Apollo sites between July 11 and 15. Though it had been expected that LRO would be able to resolve the remnants of the Apollo mission, these first images came before the spacecraft reached its final mapping orbit. Future LROC images from these sites will have two to three times greater resolution.





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