Exploration: July 2007 Archives

Editor's note: For several weeks, the K 10 Rover team from NASA ARC was testing out their two rovers "Red" and "Black" at the Haughton Mars Project Research Station on Devon Island. The following two videos have been posted which were shot by a camera on each rover as they drove around.

Visiting a Nearby Rock

Design for a Human Mission to a Near Earth Object, DigitalSpace

"DigitalSpace, a privately held company based in Santa Cruz, California, today released their design simulation of a notional crewed mission to an as-yet unidentified asteroid (also refered to as a Near Earth Object, or NEO) which might pass near the Earth sometime in the future. This visualization is DigitalSpace's design concept for the mission, produced by DigitalSpace as an independent effort for the benefit of an internal NASA feasibility study completed in 2007."

Top Apollo Manager Opposes NASA's Moon Goal, Aviation Week

"One of the most respected top managers of the Apollo program, Joseph P. Gavin, who led development of the NASA/Grumman Apollo lunar module, is airing sharp opposition to the Bush Administration/NASA goal of returning humans to the Moon as a stepping stone to Mars."

2007 Space Elevator Games to be Held in Salt Lake City

"The Spaceward Foundation announced today the venue and timing for its annual Space Elevator games. The event will be held at the Davis County Event Center just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. The qualifying rounds will start on October 15, and the event will be open to the public between October 19 and October 21."

Editor's note: Word out of architecture efforts at JSC is that the combined human/cargo lunar missions described by Tony Laovie last year are out. This will most likely mean that dedicated cargo flights will be needed i.e. more flights - and more cost - in order to build up the infrastructure NASA wants to build on the moon.

NASA Robots Practice Moon Survey in the Arctic Circle

"Two NASA robots are surveying a rocky, isolated polar desert within a crater in the Arctic Circle. The study will help scientists learn how robots could evaluate potential outposts on the moon or Mars. The robots, K10 Black and K10 Red, carry 3-D laser scanners and ground-penetrating radar. The team arrived at Haughton Crater at Devon Island, Canada, on July 12 and will operate the machines until July 31. Scientists chose the polar region because of the extreme environmental conditions, lack of infrastructure and resources, and geologic features. Additionally, Haughton Crater is geographically similar to Shackleton Crater at the South Pole of the moon. Both are impact craters that measure roughly 12.4 miles in diameter."

Skintight Space Suit is "more Spiderman, less John Glenn", MIT

"The suits could also help astronauts stay fit during the six-month journey to Mars. Studies have shown that astronauts lose up to 40 percent of their muscle strength in space, but the new outfits could be designed to offer varying resistance levels, allowing the astronauts to exercise against the suits during a long flight to Mars. The project was initially funded by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts."

President Bush Visits Cleveland, Ohio - NASA Excerpts

"I think that NASA needed to become relevant in order to be -- to justify the spending of your money, and therefore, I helped changed the mission from one of orbiting in a space shuttle -- in a space station to one of becoming a different kind of group of explorers. And therefore, we set a new mission, which is to go to the moon and set up a launching there from which to further explore space."

1000 Days at Sea: The Mars Ocean Odyssey: "Captain Stowe has collaborated with and maintains a close relationship with behavioral scientists associated with NASA and the Smithsonian. This is due to their interest in common aspects of isolation during the 1000 day ocean voyage that are very similar to the time frame and challenges expected for the coming manned Mars expedition."

Some Space Analogous Thoughts

  • How do astronauts wash their clothes?
  • Now that it's hot, I never wear shoes. Can they go barefooted?
  • During spaceflight, the only thing an astronaut can touch is what they bring with them. It's the same for us, though we can touch water and the few fish that we catch. It's very much sensory deprivation.
  • How much will power does it take for an astronaut to go on?
  • Are they constantly called on to do their best?
  • We are totally responsible for the outcome of our voyage. How is the astronaut affected by the unseen "big brother" who monitors them and drives their ship?
  • How do similar voyages into the unknown inspire the spiritual consciousness of mankind?

Follow the crew's progress on their Mission Blog

NASA Has Killed NIAC

The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) is Closing

Editor's note: If you visit NIAC's home page you will see that "NIAC is Closing - A Legacy of Revolutionary Concepts". As mentioned previously on NASA Watch this is a stupid decision on the part of Mike Griffin. Inevitably, once he is gone, his successor will see the need for NIAC - or something like it - and be forced to recreate it. And when they do, they will be scratching their head wondering why Griffin did such a dumb thing in the first place.

Killing NIAC, earlier post

"Where are you going to get all of the things you need to put on those Ares rockets so as to allow their crews to carry out their missions, Mike? Or do you "just need a good map"? Explorers without the right tools die - or turn around - and head back home. Wrong answer, Mike."

NASA Program Management Council 23 May 2007: Lunar Lander Project

"Cost estimates for a traditional phase A/B approach could not be justified considering the available budget. Two alternatives were considered, defer any significant work until 2011/2012 when budget would be available or pursue a different approach. The Constellation program recommended an alternate approach be pursued and that a senior level steering committee be established to shape and guide the approach."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Exploration category from July 2007.

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