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

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.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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