Exploration: July 2010 Archives

Keith's note: I feel compelled to feature this masterful video by Karen Lau and David Sanders at least once a year. This was done when Craig Steidle ran ESMD. For a brief moment, they "got it".

So folks, drop the petty internal and external politics, and think big picture - just for a moment.

I don't see this sort of thinking at NASA any more. NASA will go nowhere unless it finds its mojo again.

NASA Opens Online Voting For Next Desert RATS Exploration Site

NASA is inviting the public to choose an area in northern Arizona where explorers will conduct part of the annual Desert Research and Technology Studies, known as Desert RATS. "Desert RATS is an annual test where NASA takes equipment and crews into the field to simulate future planetary exploration missions," said Joe Kosmo, Desert RATS manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "We want the public to be a part of this."

Challenger Center Is Ready To Return to NASA Desert RATS

"In 2009, Challenger Center, in partnership with Green Trail Energy, Inc., brought a large solar and wind power system to Desert RATS. Formally known as the GSW-7000, this device is a self-contained portable trailer that is capable of generating up to 4.4 kilowatts of power from the sun and 2.4 kilowatts of power from wind energy. As was the case last year, the GSW-7000 will be used to power education and public outreach activities that the Challenger Center will conduct at Desert RATS under its educational Space Act Agreement with NASA. Last year, the GSW-7000 was used on a trial basis to recharge batteries on several of NASA's robotic vehicles. That activity will continue this year as well."

Frank Sietzen, Jr.: Seemingly lost among the noise following last week's actions of the House Commerce and Science Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee on marking up a NASA budget is the issue of the agency's proposed new technology programs. Both the House and Senate sharply cut the Obama Administration's original request.

As of this writing no dissent has been heard from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, so the cuts might stick. It might be useful to review what the Obama Administration originally asked for - and why.

"This video is of NASA Project M Lander free flight test at Armadillo Aerospace outside of Dallas. The lander launched on June 23rd 2010. This is the prototype of the lander that will launch a version of Robonaut on future exploratory missions."

Keith's note: This is an interesting project, to be certain - and Armadillo's involvement is innovative and is to be commended. But I am wondering how or why this project is being funded (and is building hardware) at a time when other ESMD lunar surface activities are grinding to halt (Altair etc.). Given that NASA has yet to decide what places it is (or is not) going to - with the Moon no longer being the core focus, it is a bit curious that JSC is planning to land something on the Moon in 2013 and refers to this hardware as something that "will launch" Robonaut. Not "might launch" or "could launch" or "if approved ..."

Also, it is a little weird that it is rather difficult to find anything detailed on this project at NASA.gov unless you happen to look at the Robonaut page at NASA JSC which has a link to a document titled "Landing a Humanoid Robot on the Moon in a 1000 Days "ProjectM". Curiously, this white paper is not even hosted at NASA.gov but rather is posted here at Scribd.com. You can also download it as a PDF here at SpaceRef.

It is also a little unusual that the NASAProjectM YouTube page is not listed as a channel on NASA's Official YouTube page. This is cool stuff - and you would think that the NASA.gov home page would be featuring it and that press releases would be issued each time that a successful test launch is completed.



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This page is an archive of entries in the Exploration category from July 2010.

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