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Artist Rendering of MPC on Mars mission  (Source: MSNBC)
New office will be charged with planning multiple facets of NASA's future

When NASA decided to retire the space shuttle fleet, it was a blow to American space exploration and meant our astronauts would need to bum a ride with a foreign government to get to the ISS. NASA and its contractors are at work building the spacecraft that will replace the Shuttle and it will be ready to fly in a few years time.

NASA is not only planning to use the CST-100 capsule to shuttle astronauts to the ISS. The capsule would also be used for manned missions beyond Earth’s orbit. To launch the CST-100 capsule into space, NASA is looking at the Atlas V rocket from Boeing.

To help facilitate plans for missions to Mars and perhaps beyond, NASA has opened a new deep space office to coordinate missions. The department is called the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

The new office is a combination of two previous organizations within NASA -- Space Operations Directorate and Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Obama has challenged NASA to put man on an asteroid by 2025 and then five years later to put man on Mars.

"America is opening a bold new chapter in human space exploration," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. "By combining the resources of Space Operations and Exploration Systems, and creating the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, we are recommitting ourselves to American leadership in space for years to come." 

NASA notes that the transition and personnel assignments will take several more weeks to finalize. The HEO Mission Directorate for short is already supervising ISS operations. Associate Administrator Bill Gertenmaier will head the new directorate. The move integrates the operation of NASA in-space assets with current capabilities and planning for the future of the agency. That planning includes the size and type of workforce, facilities, and contracts.



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Should be easy
By lightfoot on 8/15/2011 3:31:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Obama has challenged NASA to put man on an asteroid by 2025 and then five years later to put man on Mars.

That should be easy. I just have two questions:
1. Does he have to be alive?
2. Do we need to bring him back?
The way I see it, those are the only two real obstacles. They also make it very expensive.




RE: Should be easy
By spamreader1 on 8/15/2011 4:08:55 PM , Rating: 3
I'd be tempted to be the first man on Mars even if I would die there when running out of ?? supply. (you'd also be the first man to die on Mars, definatly be imortalized in history)


RE: Should be easy
By Jeffk464 on 8/15/2011 10:26:17 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah maybe when i'm 70


RE: Should be easy
By JonnyDough on 8/19/2011 1:44:50 PM , Rating: 2
Are you even healthy enough to make the trip now? I have to wonder. :)


RE: Should be easy
By Mitch101 on 8/15/2011 4:36:54 PM , Rating: 3
Chuck Norris problem solved. Probably doesn't even need a rocket or space suit. Part of his workout is pulling Jupiter around the sun and bathing on the Jupiter's surface.

-Sorry for some reason that's the first thing that popped into my head.


RE: Should be easy
By MrBlastman on 8/15/2011 5:19:46 PM , Rating: 5
Well, the astroid shouldn't be _too_ hard if we do it on one of our "trojan" asteroids orbiting via our lagrange points--though even at its closest point it will still be 50 times the distance of the moon away from us.

http://www.astro.uwo.ca/~wiegert/2010TK7/index.htm...

It would also require a sizeable amount of computational astrophysics to put the ship on the correct approach angle/slope/velocity to meet up as it isn't as simple as going to the moon. It can be done though.

As for your answer to #2--I'd say that should be up to the Astronaut to decide along with the taxpayers. If we don't need to bring him back then there really is no point in sending a man in the first place unless we want him to ... live there for a few months and then die while reporting findings. Somehow I don't think that'll go over too well to the public. So, if that is the case, then we could just send a probe.

I don't really see the point in putting a man on an asteroid though. It would be neat, yes, but we have plenty of samples from them hitting our planet to begin with. Placing man on Mars would be far more beneficial--at least to be able to say man has finally set foot on another planet.


RE: Should be easy
By ipay on 8/15/2011 6:54:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't really see the point in putting a man on an asteroid though. It would be neat, yes, but we have plenty of samples from them hitting our planet to begin with. Placing man on Mars would be far more beneficial--at least to be able to say man has finally set foot on another planet.

From what i can tell, they just want a practice run before Mars and figured it would be easier to sell the public on a new "asteroid landing" than going back to the moon. Even though that probably makes more sense.


RE: Should be easy
By AssBall on 8/15/2011 5:22:01 PM , Rating: 4
Hmmm...

With 4 Saturn V launches, you could break up an atlas and then send it into orbit. Send another atlas up to put it together (oh wait, the capsule thing is a pos compared to the shuttle). Then you could sling the crew around the moon, back around the earth, and make it to Mars in no time.

Getting back? well you could do another launch or 2 and modify the crew vehicle so that it can launch back up. And you could even send another atlas with the crew to expidite their return (4 more launches).

10 Saturn V launches??? About $ 30 billion in today's money. Add in the Atlas's and building a re-launchable load for mars... a lot more money.

Worth every penny? Sure beats spending it on Israel, Afganistan, and Octomom (\personal opinion).


RE: Should be easy
By MrBlastman on 8/15/2011 5:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
I have a better idea--send Octomom to mars and she could colonize it all by herself (and a healthy dosage of sperm to inseminate her with invitro of course).


RE: Should be easy
By AssBall on 8/15/2011 5:55:43 PM , Rating: 2
I like it... it would be a good reality show to watch them all slowly die.


RE: Should be easy
By ipay on 8/15/2011 6:52:00 PM , Rating: 2
Once you get into orbit, you really don't need that much fuel to get your speed up, and momentum carries you the whole way.


RE: Should be easy
By AssBall on 8/15/2011 8:13:52 PM , Rating: 2
Yes but it will be slower that way, and its already goign to be a super long mission. If you wanted to make it a long one I'd still use a Saturn V so that we can put an actually useful landing and crew craft on it, 262,000 lbs to LEO vs the Atlas 64,000.


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