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Charles Bolden  (Source:
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: Asteroid could be a space taxi
By JediJeb on 4/9/2013 2:08:53 PM , Rating: 2
Asteroids may not be a good taxi, but I wonder if for going out to far solar system targets like Neptune could we hitch a ride on a comet if we found one with a suitable trajectory? Catch it as it comes near Earth then ride it out as close to the destination as possible, then use conventional rockets or ion propulsion to go the rest of the way.

I have wondered, we already do slingshot maneuvers to increase speed of our probes to reach the outer solar system. Is that some violation of the conservation of energy? The probe picks up speed therefore it gains energy, but does the object giving it the slingshot loose energy in an equal amount? Gravity is what is used, with no friction involved, but does using the gravity generated by an object somehow reduce the energy that the object has? If not then there would be a net gain in energy in the object doing the slingshot without any energy being transferred. Where would it come from?

By WeaselITB on 4/9/2013 4:01:37 PM , Rating: 2
Yes - the Voyager probe (or what-have-you) is ever-so-slightly decreasing the energy potential of the planet it's slung around. Since the size difference between the two objects is enormous, however, the energy loss to the planet is essentially zero.

Sling 100,000[...]000,000 probes around the planet, however ...


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