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House Appropriators Seek To Defund Asteroid Mission – Push NASA To The Moon & Mars

By Keith Cowing
May 24, 2016
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House Appropriators Seek To Defund Asteroid Mission – Push NASA To The Moon & Mars

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Approriations Bill 2007 (draft report)
NASA begins on Page 54. On page 61 the report says:
“Mission to Mars. While the Committee recognizes the benefits of some of the technology that is under development as part of the asteroid redirect and retrieval missions, namely advanced propulsion technology research, asteroid deflection, and grappling technologies, the Committee believes that neither a robotic nor a crewed mission to an asteroid appreciably contribute to the over-arching mission to Mars. Further, the long-term costs of launching a robotic craft to the asteroid, followed by a crewed mission, are unknown and will divert scarce resources away from developing technology and equipment necessary for missions to Mars, namely deep space habitats, accessing and utilizing space resources, and developing entry, descent, landing, and ascent technologies.
Toward that end, no funds are included in this bill for NASA to continue planning efforts to conduct either robotic or crewed missions to an asteroid. Instead, NASA is encouraged to develop plans to return to the Moon to test capabilities that will be needed for Mars, including habitation modules, lunar prospecting, and landing and ascent vehicles.
Further, the Committee is supportive of NASA’s efforts to use the International Space Station (ISS) to conduct research necessary to enable long-term human spaceflight, or ”Earth-reliant” technology development; cis-lunar space activities, or ”proving ground” efforts such as Orion flights on SLS in the vicinity of the Moon, and deployment and testing of deep space habitation modules; and finally, NASA’s ”Earth independent” activities which include using cis-lunar space as a staging area, mapping potential human exploration zones and caching samples on Mars as part of the Mars Rover 2020 mission.”

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