Thursday, September 27, 2012

NASA doesn’t want to ‘rock our world’

Consider this. NASA doesn’t want to contaminate Earth with Mars or Mars with Earth. Makes sense. BUT they want to be able to study the Martian rocks and soil without worries of alien germs. Being considered is some sort of packaging into a couple of launches all the spacecraft needed – a rover, a launcher to return home and an orbiter. And perhaps it would be really helpful to send real live astronauts.

Actually the idea is to have a rover collect all the rocks etc and deliver them to a central location. Then the rocks/soil would be moved to a neutral locale where humans already were. While NASA plans to decide the specifics over the next year as to handle this concept, it is important to understand that all this has come about as a result of budget cuts.

That’s right, budget cuts. The agency that gets one of the smaller pieces of pie also has some of that little piece taken away. Two planned robotic flights have been cut. Hopefully it won’t get more severe as a possible solution might be to combine other existing plans. The planned Lunar Outpost by 2017. Could this not do several things? A) It would be a great location for a space laboratory and B) why couldn’t we do more launches from there? It would be cheaper to launch when the escape velocity is barely a consideration! Plus with Ion thrusters as a method to get there and solar panels for the energy for a large part of the trip, we can cut expense in half, at least! Also without having to leave from Earth they probably don’t require the same level of outside protection for the vehicle so materials won’t cost so much. Granted Ion thrusters create a very low impulse hence low acceleration, but from the moon this may be acceptable. I’l leave the calculations to NASA, their better at it!

So now we have a way, let’s hurry up and aim for Mars in 2018. It will be its closest point to Earth. (More savings - Less fuel!!)


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