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

Friday, April 16, 2010

The tired, totally irrelevant "been there" thing

Suggest you read another blog that better explains the empty feeling I have.
- LRK -

The tired, totally irrelevant "been there" thing
Friday, April 16, 2010

Paul D. Spudis
The Once and Future Moon
Smithsonian Air & Space Blogs

During a carefully staged appearance at Kennedy Space Center
yesterday, President Barack Obama rolled out his plans for the U. S.
space program. Although there weren’t many surprises (the White House
Office of Science and Technology, under the direction of John P.
Holdren, had released a fact sheet days earlier outlining details),
one startling part of the speech was that we are abandoning the Moon
as a goal. Though hinted at in several statements by people around the
President, including NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Apollo 11
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, a path away from human return to the Moon is
now officially the direction of Obama’s space policy.

The speech detailed aspects of the administration’s new space budget,
which will eliminate Project Constellation, contract with commercial
entities for human transport to LEO, and spend money for development
of new technology so as to “revolutionize” our access and capabilities
in space. The Moon was finally mentioned near the end of the speech
and I felt it would be fitting to use the President’s own words as the
title for this post, and then give my views of the Moon’s place in the
template of space exploration.

I’ve heard the “been there” line many times since 2004 when President
George W. Bush announced the Vision for Space Exploration, so hearing
it one more time was not a particularly jarring experience. But stop
for a moment to consider exactly what President Obama said. Lunar
return critics give many reasons to NOT go to the Moon: they think
that it’s scientifically uninteresting, it doesn’t contain what we
need, it will turn into a money sink (preventing voyages to many other
destinations in space – perhaps one on their list), that there are
more pressing needs here on Earth, and I’m sure others that I haven’t
yet heard. But this new space policy rationale is unique and carries
with it different and significant implications for our nation’s
exploration of space.

We have now added a new requirement for U.S. space missions – we must
go to a place never before visited by humans. Of course, some will
argue that such a concept is implicit in the word “exploration” but
until recently, exploration encompassed a much wider concept where
exploration was followed by exploitation and settlement by many people
from many walks of life using many different skills toward a myriad of
goals. I wonder if supporters of this new space policy have stopped to
consider the implications of the “not been there” requirement. The new
meaning of exploration contains within it the seeds of its own
termination: after you’ve touched the surface, planted a flag, and
collected some rocks or deployed an instrument, that destination is
“done.” Or does such a formulation apply only to the Moon?


There is more on the blog and I hope you read it all.
I have said enough for today.
I will wait a bit and see what falls out of the sky.
- LRK -

Retracing the Steps of Apollo 15: Constellation Region of Interest
LROC Images
LROC (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera), which is aboard the lunar
satellite LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter), is currently collecting
data and returning an immense wealth of information in the form of
images of the Moon. Below you will find our major resources of
released images and data from LROC:


Thanks for looking up with me.(Hopefully still)
- LRK -

Web Site:
RSS link:
Not Your Grandfather's Space Program
Obama offers new road map for NASA

By Ron Cowen, Science News

Speaking at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center April 15, President Obama
outlined a new plan for the space agency that would forgo sending
astronauts back to the moon, but would send humans to an asteroid in
2025 and into orbit around Mars a decade later.
Click here to find out more!

The strategy would rely on private aerospace companies to ferry crew
and supplies into space. It would also cancel a program known as
Constellation, which is aimed at developing a heavy-lift rocket and
vehicles to carry astronauts back to the moon, in favor of pursuing a
new rocket that would take humans beyond well beyond that destination.

“I am very happy about the introduction of new innovative commercial
approaches in human space flight, because we’ve been trapped into a
very bad cul-de-sac for 40 years,” says planetary scientist and former
NASA associate administrator for science Alan Stern of the Southwest
Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. Stern predicts that Congress is
likely to approve Obama’s plan.

In Obama’s blueprint, NASA would get an additional $6 billion over the
next five years to begin developing new space technologies, refocusing
its efforts away from designing space transportation vehicles. The
plan would, however, keep plans to develop the Orion crew vehicle,
which would be the only U.S. space transport vehicle once the shuttle
is retired later this year. And in 2015, the agency would evaluate
plans for a rocket that would carry astronauts into deep space.

Early next decade, Obama said, “a set of crewed flights will test and
prove the systems required for exploration beyond low Earth orbit,”
culminating in the first human journey to an asteroid in 2025.

Journeys to Mars orbit in the mid-2030s would be followed by a landing
on Mars, “and I expect to be around to see it,” the president told the
cheering crowd.

Hmmmmmmm, 20 more years away, I wonder if I will be around to see it
if I am 90 years young. - LRK -



No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Moon and Mars - Videos