Exploration: November 2009 Archives

"Dennis Wingo: I thought this was interesting and since I am always looking for spares for our LOIRP FR-900's I check it out on eBay. ... When I looked I was pretty certain that these were boards from our FR-900 machines. It had the right part numbers, so I called Ken Zin at home the night before Thanksgiving and asked him to verify, which he did and noted that these are newer version boards of the ones that we have!! So I bid on them and won them today."

[More at MoonViews]

Human Missions to Asteroids

Trip to asteroid could give life to Ares V rocket, Huntsville Times

The Augustine panel's report also suggests that an asteroid destination would allow NASA to use resources trapped in the floating rocks and mine rocket fuel from them, setting up a "gas station" or depot in space. These could be used to help get to other planets. "There's so much you can do with an asteroid mission. NASA could land or choose to send a crew there and use robots to set up a mining station," said Keith Cowing, a longtime NASA critic who runs the Web site NASAWatch.com. "Also, NASA has been studying asteroid missions for years. There's a lot of research out there on this."

Marc's note: Freelance science journalist and author Dana Mackenzie attended the recent Annual Meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG). He wrote on his personal blog a two part report on the meeting. I think it's worth a read.

LEAG Conference, part 1, Dana Mackenzie
LEAG Conference, part 2, Dana Mackenzie

"The big theme of the meeting was sustainability: How do we go back to the moon in such a way that we can keep on going there indefinitely? Many, though not all, of the participants interpreted that question to mean: How can we make the moon economically viable? Of course, the LCROSS mission has a great deal to say about that."

The Wet Side of the Moon, Opinion, NY Times

"From the perspective of human space exploration, that water is the most important scientific discovery since the '60s. We can drink it, grow food with it and breathe it -- by separating the oxygen from the hydrogen through a process called electrolysis. These elements can even be used to fuel rocket engines. (Discovering water on Mars was not quite as significant because the major hurdle to establishing permanent settlements there is the eight-month journey.)"

Keith's note: Hmm, a young Ames employee, Wil Marshall, manages to get on the editorial page of the New York Times with a forward looking article about the human settlement of the Moon - a view encouraged by ARC's LCROSS mission findings. But does ARC PAO make any mention? Of course not.

Keith's update: ARC finally linked to this from their home page - 24 hours after it went online ...

Moon Water = Gold

Water on the Moon!, opinion, WS Journal

"But for scientists, the real money shot is the data pouring in from that impact. True, it was a risk. Yet the cost of the mission - $79 million - was a tiny price to pay for billions that might be shaved off the space program if the experiment succeeded. The gamble has paid off in spades. Sensors have detected 24 gallons of water from the 60-foot crater created by the LCROSS experiment. On the moon, ice is worth more than gold."

Keith's note: In a video posted at SaveSpace.us Space Florida President Frank DiBello claims that he visited the White House 2 weeks and they asked "what they could do with all the letters" that they received. DiBello says that they claimed to have received 500,000 letters and that "this has had a devastating impact in Washington that has been recognized". A Twitter posting also makes the 500,000 letter claim. Gee, with all the arm waving they have done, one would think that there'd be a little more fanfare for this accomplishment.

Promoting The Flexible Path

President must decide whether sending humans beyond earth's orbit is worth the expense, Charles Kennel, San Diego Union-Tribune

"Human society is ready to begin exploring the solar system for real. Should we start now or later? Is landing on the Moon the first thing we should do? Haven't we already been there, done that? Should we settle on the Moon because of its own value, or as a steppingstone to Mars? If we are really setting the stage for humanity's expansion beyond the Earth, don't we also need to go elsewhere in the coming century? How about surveying asteroids for their useful minerals, and getting to know them better, in case one should threaten to hit Earth? Can't we visit the moons of Mars more easily than landing on Mars?"

A Wet Moon Is Hot Once Again

Keith's 14 Nov note: Word has it that NASA JSC has a stealth "Project M" underway whereby it would place a lander on the Moon in 1,000 days - once approved.

Meanwhile, word has it that NASA is now looking to match Google's $30 million pledge to the Google Lunar X Prize - and that Google may up their ante as well. Conversations are being held directly between X Prize and the 9th floor. IPP is not in the loop. Stay tuned.

A Rainbow on the Moon, Paul Spudis, Air & Space

"If you don't know where you're going, any path will get you there. The Moon has the resources needed to bootstrap a sustained, permanent human presence. It is the place where we can learn how to live and work productively in space. The Moon has put out a welcome mat. What are we waiting for?"

NASA's LCROSS Impacts Confirm Water in Lunar Crater

"Preliminary data from NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, indicates the mission successfully uncovered water in a permanently shadowed lunar crater."

Keith's note: My LCROSS "coverage" on Twitter this afternoon.

#LCROSS Earlier SMD press conference on LRO stressed that Moon is "drier than driest desert on Earth". Well, that is no longer true.
#LCROSS the impact plume was as bright as we expected - a magnitude 8 star - the issue was that it was behind a hill
WRT the #LCROSS tweet by @leverburton http://bit.ly/1Bbhmj - he has 1,431,492 followers - 10x more than @NASA has
RT @levarburton How cool is this? NASA confirms water on the moon... http://bit.ly/1dGOb8
#LCROSS ESMD's Mike Wargo: "A few months ago who'd have thought that we'd be talking about a hydration cycle on the Moon!"
#LCROSS and #NASA are currently in the top ten trending topics on Twitter
#LCROSS This water is possibly a resource for human exploration - adefinitive discovery. What is equally important is what we do next.

The Flexible Path Ahead

A 'flexible path' forward?, Orlando Sentinel

"One NASA official responsible for charting the agency's exploration of the moon and Mars told a conference of global space experts today that NASA is examining a "flexible path" of exploration that includes manned trips to nearby asteroids. The declaration by John Olson is another sign that administration officials under President Barack Obama are looking to alter the course set in the previous White House, which focused on a return trip to the moon with the goal of eventually landing on Mars. "We're looking at a range of future exploration potential capabilities," said Olson, a top exploration NASA official. That includes "not only the moon and certainly Mars" but other "near-Earth objects," said Olson, speaking at a space summit held a few blocks from the White House."

"The LOIRP Project has reached a major milestone of having two Ampex FR-900 Instrumentation Tape Drives operational at once. This will allow us to accelerate the production of images. This is probably the first time in 30 years that two FR-900s have been operational in the same room at the same time."

LOIRP Works To Bring Second FR-900 Tape Drive Online, MoonViews

Lunar Rover Simulator 1.0

Lunar Rover Simulator 1.0

"This proof of concept Lunar Electric Rover simulator was designed by Frassanito and Associates, in conjunction with Petter Sundness, Rommany Allen, and Chilton Webb. This simulator is based around NASA's Constellation Program architecture. It lets you drive the LER around on the moon, dock with the base stations, and test its multiple cameras and views."

NASA JSC Solicitation: Hardware and Software Supporting the Maker Project

"The Crew and Thermal Systems Division, EVA Tools Branch (EC7) at the Johnson Space Center seeks to acquire contract support for a software/hardware development project for NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. The project supported is entitled "MAKER" and is pursuing an advanced manufacturing concept being developed and evaluated for deployment in future space exploration architectures requiring manufacturing capability in the spaceflight/mission environment."

Beyond Augustine

Beyond Augustine II, Dennis Wingo

"In August of this year I wrote a missive concerning what happens after the Augustine report is released. Well, now that has happened, so what is next? The overall impression is that they did a good job technically in coming up with options and laying out the rational for the options. The concern is not there, the question is does this report provide to the president and NASA a viable path forward? In a curious move, the commission took a big risk and basically rejected one of the central directives from the White House (3d in the Scope and Objectives) which was: Fitting within the current budget profile for NASA exploration activities."

Predictable Statements

NASA's future - commercial, Constellation or Russia?, Orlando Sentinel

"There are a few people in the administration who want to kill Ares I and put all the money in commercial and the [Augustine] report tends to endorse that type of scenario. I think that is absolutely wrong," said Doc Horowitz, former astronaut and Constellation architect."

Senator Discusses NASA's Future With Obama, WFTV.com

"U.S. Senator Bill Nelson told Eyewitness News Monday morning that he met recently with President Barack Obama about NASA's future and believes the President will make a decision soon. Nelson says it would take an additional $27 billion over the next decade to replace the shuttle after 2011, continue flights to the International Space Station, and to take care of NASA's workers."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Exploration category from November 2009.

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