and I am pleased to say, we’re going with plan “A”!
Moon, and then Mars, that’s the plan. And to add some life to it, throw in an asteroid!
Much like the piece that I ‘uncovered’ this is an opinion/fact piece.
To Review and quantify; we are aiming for the moon. What have we done so far and what are we doing and what do we hope to do?
First NASA built Orion and the SLS. There testing and such going on presently, but it all points to the fine tuning of a good plan – making it great. Then there was the search for partners. First partners to mine then partners for a lunar lander, also partners to transport cargo to the moon and back – think space elevator, think Liftport. NASA’s testing out new ideas out for a space fuel depot. There’s the mission to both the Moon to create water before we even step foot there. (Ain’t robotics grand?!) And a cool bunch of bells and whistles as well as pure necessity all being worked out or put in the inked pile.
Next there’s the asteroid. Right now there are two plans, one involved capturing one whole and placing it in the moons orbit and one involves grabbing a piece of a bigger one and placing it in the moons orbit. I’m partial to the taking a piece one in case there is a big difference,, we’ll know how to prepare if one comes this way. A side benefit of a preparatory mission for Mars is that NASA can learn more to protect us all from ‘the big one’.
Even further down the line is Mars. Arguably there is much we don’t have yet that may be instrumental, but also, it’s all being worked on- all those great Star Trek toys – the shields, warp drive, food printer (replicator)…And there’s a cool plan, several in fact. All depending on which toy works by the time we are headed there. Also, there is a mission, part two of the lunar water mission, where a robotic presence on Mars will manufacture oxygen from the soil. Again this will be prior to any human arrival.
Cool thing about all of this is the commercial partners. If NASA goes it alone as many on the net are suggesting, why go? NASA is a civilian space agency and as such is us – America. We ALL get to go, or not. But it is the individual’s choice. As commercial entities go there, and their workers go there, and the families of workers go there, we will have become what we all envision when we watch those Sci Fi movies once so far-fetched and now a part of the very near future!
POLITICs. The original article that sparked this spoke of a congress was seen as the wrench in the plan. But congress has seen fit to green light much. Not necessarily thrown dollars at it, but enough to continue the dream and then NASA worked it’s magic with its partners and just like that, a vision of the future was captured.