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Charles Bolden  (Source: nasa.gov)
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden doesn't see the point of another trip to the moon

There seems to be some differences in opinion around NASA concerning whether the goal of human space exploration should be to land on an asteroid or take another trip to the moon.

The Space Studies Board and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board held a meeting in Washington last week, where the topic of asteroid vs. moon took place.

Al Carnesale of UCLA said there wasn't much enthusiasm for an asteroid landing since its initial announcement. It's been almost three years since President Barack Obama officially released plans to land on an asteroid by 2025. 

“Since it was announced, there was less enthusiasm for it among the community broadly,” said Carnesale. “The more we learn about it, the more we hear about it, people seem less enthusiastic about it.”
 
“There’s a great deal of enthusiasm, almost everywhere, for the Moon. I think there might be, if no one has to swallow their pride and swallow their words, and you can change the asteroid mission a little bit… it might be possible to move towards something that might be more of a consensus.”

However, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden disagrees. He said that NASA will gladly participate if another nation agrees to lead a human lunar landing, but NASA will not plan one of its own. 

“They all have dreams of putting human on the Moon,” said Bolden. “I have told every head of agency of every partner agency that if you assume the lead in a human lunar mission, NASA will be a part of that. NASA wants to be a participant.”
 
“NASA will not take the lead on a human lunar mission. NASA is not going to the Moon with a human as a primary project probably in my lifetime. And the reason is, we can only do so many things.”

Bolden believes NASA should stick to the plan of sending humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars by 2030. 

“We intend to do that, and we think it can be done," said Bolden. 

Source: Space Politics



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RE: International Moon Base?
By FITCamaro on 4/8/2013 3:07:34 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. We need a permanent moon base as a stepping off point into the rest of the solar system.


RE: International Moon Base?
By ebakke on 4/8/2013 3:27:45 PM , Rating: 3
<chant>Moon base!</chant>
<chant>Moon base!</chant>


RE: International Moon Base?
By Ammohunt on 4/8/2013 3:56:34 PM , Rating: 2
Yep! moonbase or die!


RE: International Moon Base?
By M'n'M on 4/8/2013 4:18:41 PM , Rating: 2
And that should be the Next Big Goal. Simply putting people on an asteroid or Mars to get boots on the ground and a flag planted isn't enough for me, let alone the majority of the people who will be asked to pay for it. Exploration is good but we get a lot more bang for the $$ via machines.

If we really want to use space and it's resources we've got to find a way to live off that land and the best and easiest place to start is the Moon. Either we can use it's materials to make what we need to explore space (and thus not have to lift everything out of Earth's gravity well) or we're stuck here until some technological revolution in fighting gravity comes along.

I say strip-mine the Moon ... but just the far side so we don't ruin the view.

(besides I know Moon base women will wear silver catsuits and have electric purple hair. Who doesn't think that's great.)
http://cumbriansky.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/sha...


RE: International Moon Base?
By delphinus100 on 4/8/2013 8:09:38 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I say strip-mine the Moon ... but just the far side so we don't ruin the view.


Yeah, who wants to look up at a lifeless, cratered - oh, wait...


RE: International Moon Base?
By MozeeToby on 4/8/13, Rating: 0
RE: International Moon Base?
By M'n'M on 4/8/2013 6:17:19 PM , Rating: 2
Your concern is the delta V needed and yet you think moving an asteroid is the future ?

The good thing about the Moon is you don't need a rocket to move things from it's surface to LMO or beyond.


RE: International Moon Base?
By delphinus100 on 4/8/2013 8:15:37 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed. Perhaps an argument can be made for sending oxygen produced from the Lunar regolith (effectively unlimited...the O2 in the ice there may or may not be too rare, and too valuable for life support right there) for chemical rocket oxidizer, life support, and commercial/industrial purposes back in Earth orbit...but that's all.

The Moon has its own reasons for permanent human habitation, but you don't go down into one gravity well, in order to reach another. Assembling and staging deep-space flights is what LEO is for. And utilizing local resources for your mission, if you can, is what you do at the destination, not through a detour.


RE: International Moon Base?
By ghost49x on 4/12/2013 12:11:09 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, to build a large space faring craft we would need some sort of space dock in orbit. But so far there are other obstacles preventing us from exploring our solar system using a manned vessel. Space Radiation being a big one.


RE: International Moon Base?
By Exirtis on 4/12/2013 12:54:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The problem is the amount of delta V it takes to land on the moon then launch again means that you don't actually gain that much even if you refuel there.

If you're thinking in terms of rocketry you may be correct. But because of the reduced gravity of the lunar environment a space-elevator becomes a legitimate option, since it's within the reach of current materials technology to cope with it.

With a functioning space elevator in place, escape velocity becomes irrelevant; electric motors running at a leisurely pace can supply all the delta V that's needed to hoist materials & equipment up & down the anchored cable.

There's at least one company, called Liftport, that is already actively engaged in research and planning for a moon-based space elevator (video & link at comment's end). More companies are likely to follow as the private aerospace industry matures, but they definitely will as soon as anyone reaches certain demonstrable milestones.

Even without a space elevator, however, various kinetic launching systems (utilizing maglev rails, for example) become more compelling possibilities without the obstacles of the Earth's deeper gravity well and comparatively crowded surface to overcome.

A Lifport lunar elevator video: http://youtu.be/PdFDBV03kiA
The space elevator page on their website (with lunar section): http://www.liftport.com/Main/tech.htm


RE: International Moon Base?
By StormyKnight on 4/8/2013 11:18:25 PM , Rating: 2
I vote for moonbase, just as long as there isn't a nuclear waste dumpsite on the darkside of the moon.


RE: International Moon Base?
By JediJeb on 4/10/2013 6:02:22 PM , Rating: 2
Which side stays dark?


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