Space & Planetary Science: August 2019 Archives

NASA OIG Follow-up to May 2019 Audit of Europa Mission: Congressional Launch Vehicle Mandate, NASA OIG

"NASA's renewed focus on returning humans to the Moon on an accelerated timetable means that an SLS will not be available to launch the Clipper mission to Europa before 2025 at the earliest. Given all of the foregoing factors, we urge Congress to consider removing the requirement that NASA launch the Europa Clipper on an SLS and allow the Agency to decide whether to use an SLS or a commercial vehicle based on cost, schedule, vehicle availability, and impact on science requirements."

"However, because of developmental delays and, more significantly, NASA's plans to use the first three SLS rockets produced for its Artemis lunar program, an SLS will not be available until 2025 at the earliest. Consequently, if completed on its projected schedule, the approximately $3 billion dollar Europa spacecraft (known as "Europa Clipper") will need to be stored for at least 2 years at a cost of $3 to $5 million per month until an SLS becomes available. NASA recently added $250 million in Headquarters-held reserves to the project to address these storage and related personnel costs. Congress could reduce risks to both the Europa mission and Artemis program while potentially saving taxpayers up to $1 billion by providing NASA the flexibility in forthcoming fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations legislation to determine the most cost effective and timely vehicle to launch the Europa Clipper mission in 2023 or whenever the satellite is completed."

NASA OIG Audit: Management Of NASA's Europa Mission, NASA OIG, earlier post

"In addition, although Congress directed NASA to use the SLS to launch the Clipper, it is unlikely to be available by the congressionally mandated 2023 date and therefore the Agency continues to maintain spacecraft capabilities to accommodate both the SLS and two commercial launch vehicles, the Delta IV Heavy and Falcon Heavy."

Keith's note: NASA JPL issued a press release on Monday titled "Mission to Jupiter's Icy Moon Confirmed". Great news for the Astrobiology community as noted by the release - except that the NASA Astrobiology website linked to in this release makes no mention of this news (maybe they will on Tuesday).

But if you go to the link featured in today's NASA JPL press release about Europa Clipper - you know the "astrobiology" mission that is going to Europa to search for possible indications of life etc., Astrobiology is nowhere to be found. I looked throughout the entire europa.nasa.gov website. The word "astrobiology" is never mentioned once. The only related term is used to describe several participating scientist as being an "astrobiologist". But "life" - as in the search for - shows up more than a hundred times. Nor is any link provided to NASA's Astrobiology program.

Why is that?

How is it that NASA's 20+ year old program - one that recognized by the National Academies of Science in multiple reports and mentioned by name in congressional legislation - cannot be mentioned on the official NASA website for a mission that is overtly Astrobiology-themed? It really does look like one part of NASA does not know and/or does not seem to care what other parts of NASA are doing. If NASA cannot coordinate the interaction between some of its basic programs and organizations regarding this billion dollar mission how is the public is going to fully understand what this mission will do - and how other related work that NASA does in Astrobiology relates to it?

- NASA Makes Big Astrobiology Mission Announcement Without Saying "Astrobiology"
- NASA Leads The World In Astrobiology. Wow, Who Knew?, earlier post
- NASA Can't Figure Out What Astrobiology Is - Or Who Does It, earlier post
- NASA Is Incapable Of Explaining How It Does Astrobiology, earlier post
- NASA's Astrobiology Program Works Hard To Ignore Itself, earlier post
- NASA's Astrobiology Programs Ignore One Another, earlier post
- NASA Leads In Astrobiology. It Needs To Act That Way., earlier post


Loading

 



Monthly Archives

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Space & Planetary Science category from August 2019.

Space & Planetary Science: July 2019 is the previous archive.

Space & Planetary Science: September 2019 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.