posted on Feb, 14 2004 @ 07:51 AM
NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center in Greenbelt, Maryland has begun work on a robotic lunar mission for the year 2008. It will search for water ice trapped at the Moon?s poles.
Water ice is believed to have been brought to the Moon by impacting comets. Both NASA's Lunar Prospector and the Pentagon's Clementine spacecraft
offered tantalizing data interpreted by some experts as indicative of water ice deposits.
A number of alterative, fast-track approaches are under review at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) to build the lunar orbiter. A newly formed
GSFC lunar study team held their first meeting Thursday to begin scoping out how best to move the project forward.
Series of robotic lunar missions
President Bush has directed NASA to undertake lunar exploration activities to enable sustained human and robotic exploration of Mars and more distant
destinations in the solar system.
Starting no later than 2008, the Bush plan calls for initiating a series of robotic missions to the Moon to prepare for and support future human
exploration activities. A follow-on robotic lunar lander is also slated for 2009.
The White House space directive states that the first extended human expedition to the lunar surface could occur as early as 2015, but no later than
the year 2020.
In reestablishing and reenergizing NASA's Moon program, the White House envisions lunar exploration activities to further science, and to develop and
test new approaches, technologies, and systems, including use of lunar and other space resources, to support sustained human space exploration to Mars
and other destinations.
Related news articles:
- Panel begins space exploration hearings
- Expert warns NASA can't afford Mars plan
AboveTopSecret.com 'Space 2015' Forum
[Edited on 14-2-2004 by Zion Mainframe]