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How NASA Quietly Releases Alternate Mars Mission Concepts (Update)

By Keith Cowing
April 6, 2015
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How NASA Quietly Releases Alternate Mars Mission Concepts (Update)

Our Wednesday, April 8, Future In-Space Operations (FISO) telecon colloquium will host Cesar Ocampo (Odyssey Space Research/NASA JSC) and Damon Landau (NASA JPL), who will speak on “A Crewed Mars Exploration Architecture Using Fly-by and Return Trajectories.”
Keith’s note: I have sent an inquiry to Harley Thronson who was listed as a speaker in an official NASA capacity at the Planetary Society’s closed door Humans Orbiting Mars event last week – and also NASA PAO – asking “Is this upcoming NASA FISO presentation related to the Planetary Society’s Humans Orbiting Mars event last week – the one where you were listed as a speaker on the agenda? If so why is it being released by two NASA employees in this fashion and not by NASA HQ/NASA PAO?”. Stay tuned.
Keith’s update: The Planetary Society and Harley Thronson have replied and said that they don’t think there is a connection between this upcoming FISO presentation and what was discussed at last week’s Planetary Society event. So it would seem that there is more than one team inside of NASA JPL/JSC working on this idea of not landing humans on Mars but doing orbital operations instead. Add in the ongoing internal work at NASA that seeks to put humans on the Moon to develop and infrastructure to enable further exploration (such as Mars) and it is clear that NASA is not working within the narrow parameters that the White House told them to work within. That is not necessarily a bad thing. But all of this certainly seems to be uncoordinated – and NASA is rather shy about talking about it.
So this is how NASA is going to send humans to live and work on other worlds: behind closed doors, off the record, and without apparent coordination. Yea. That will work.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.