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Scientists oppose NASA's new moon mission

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posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 10:44 AM
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Scientists oppose NASA's new moon mission


www.popularmechanics.com

NASA's current plan for manned space exploration focuses on establishing a base on the moon, as a vital stepping stone for a visit to Mars. The initiative has been trumpeted by the Bush administration, which wants the first mission to launch by 2020. But trouble is brewing as a growing group of former mission managers, planetary scientists and astronauts argues against any manned moon mission at all. One alternative, they say: Send astronauts to an asteroid as a better preparation for a Martian landing.

The dissenters plan to gather in mid-February at a meeting of the Planetary Society at Stanford University. “We want to get a positive recommendation to the new administration,” says Planetary Society executive director Louis D. Friedman. He supports an eventual mission to Mars, but argues that the current moon scheme was selected with inadequate debate after a speech by President Bush in January 2004. “If you said ‘humans’ and ‘Mars’ [to NASA officials] in the same sentence, you would receive a figurative slap on the face, and then four months later [the moon-to-Mars plan] was the main point on a viewgraph at the highest levels.”

In addition to examining alternatives for manned missions, the February meeting will discuss a greater emphasis on Earth science and other potential NASA space exploration priorities, Friedman says.

A recent article in Aviation Week reporting on the views of the meeting organizers drew a sharp reply from NASA administrator Michael Griffin. On Monday, Griffin issued a letter defending the agency’s Constellation lunar base program. “The conference organizers have assigned sole responsibility for our new civil space exploration strategy to President Bush, ignoring the hugely bipartisan—actually nonpartisan—support it has received in Congress,” Griffin wrote. “No such far-reaching proposal should be adopted without debate. That debate was had, in 2003, ’04 and ’05, and it was fulsome. From it came a unifying plan for civil space, and the best legislative guidance NASA has ever had.”

When asked in an interview with Popular Mechanics last year whether he thought the next administration might make manned missions a lower priority, Griffin insisted that he couldn’t “imagine any U.S. president or any U.S. Congress deciding to take the United States out of the business of human space flight.”

The lunar program, which was largely meant to reinvigorate NASA and renew public enthusiasm for space exploration, has suffered from a spate of bad press. Last week, the Associated Press reported that NASA’s Ares I rocket, the replacement for the space shuttle, could literally shake the lunar hardware it carries to pieces during launch. Some presidential candidates have weighed in, criticizing NASA’s current plan.

NASA does have vocal supporters, however. Robert Walker, a former congressman and a member of the Presidential Commission on the Implementation of the United States Space Exploration Policy, points out that a Chinese moon program has already begun, with the launch of a probe in 2007. Both India and Japan have also announced their intentions to launch manned lunar missions, to great fanfare.

(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 10:44 AM
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Hmm, seems to me that ANY new program to get us on foreign space terrain is better than where we've been for the last 3 decades. All this bickering does is just further slow down any progress IMHO. And China very well may just get there and plant their flag first.

www.popularmechanics.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 11:37 AM
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Personally, I do not see why they want to send humans to Mars. it is way more cost effective to send robots. The 2 Mars landers have given back way more data and discoveries then any manned mission could ever do. Until we figure out a great way for take off and landing from a terrestrial body, there is no reason for an expensive and pointless mission to take place.

A moon base on the other hand, IMO wouldnt be all that bad. The moon isnt that far, and settlement for mineral extraction would benefit in more ways then Mars could.



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 11:39 AM
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We need to explore alternative fuels that may be acquired on the moon . If we can do that then it would be allot easier to get further.



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 11:44 AM
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reply to post by Mindless
 


Yeah, from my understanding, that was supposed to be one of the top reasons for establishing a base there-mining for Helium-3. It's supposedly a very rich and efficient form of fuel.



[edit on 24-1-2008 by DimensionalDetective]



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 11:48 AM
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reply to post by DimensionalDetective
 


Well who's up for researching why these "scientists" Would be against finding alternative fuels . Specifically the ones (scientists) mentioned in this article . Or associated with this "movement"

[edit on 24-1-2008 by Mindless]



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 11:50 AM
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Yup! the financial incentive for going back to the moon now (in the light of Helium-3) is very high; Making the expendature for any moon mission highly justafiable



posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 12:03 PM
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I would suggest taking a close look at these scientists and seeing where there funding is. Do they have projects funded by India or China? Do they work for any group that does?

It might explain their reasoning. Money is a powerful way to motivate opinions, and just because someone is a scientist doesn't mean they're above being bought off.


apc

posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 12:14 PM
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Any outreach to the other bodies in the system and beyond should begin with the Moon. I mean it's right there! *points* We can practice low gravity mining techniques, survival, and infrastructure development, and if anything goes wrong help is just a couple days away.



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