Thursday, November 8, 2012

the dream that didn't die?

Slate on a possible resurrection of the space race:

"President Obama's re-election is shaping up to be great news for NASA....

"Assuming that the rumored plans are indeed true, the next twenty to thirty years of space exploration might play out like a real-life Carl Sagan fantasy. Items on the rumored docket include: more manned missions to the moon, a manned outpost on the far side of the moon, a mission sending astronauts to an asteroid by 2025, and the commencement of manned missions to Mars by the mid-2030s."

They were holding off talking about this until the results came apparently, Romney being less in favor of Gigantic Public Works and promising huge cuts to government spending.

The piece quotes for further background and details:

In 2010, President Obama directed NASA to work toward sending astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025, then on to the vicinity of Mars by the mid-2030s. To reach such deep-space destinations, the agency is developing a huge rocket called the Space Launch System (SLS) and a crew capsule named Orion.
But astronauts likely won't head straight to a space rock when SLS and Orion are ready to fly together in 2021. In the last year, word has begun leaking out that NASA wants to explore Earth-moon L2 a point in space that lies beyond the moon's far side, as a precursor ... so NASA (and perhaps international partners) can learn more about supporting humans in deep space. Astronauts stationed there could also aid in lunar exploration — by teleoperating rovers on the moon's surface, for example.

Well, colour me surprised. I really can't imagine how all this is affordable, more's the pity.

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