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Moon NASA Space

NASA Mulling Joint Lunar Missions With Commercial Enterprises 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the fly-me-to-the-moon dept.
MarkWhittington writes "According to a July 3, 2013 story in SpaceRef, NASA has issued a Request for Information concerning various commercial endeavors to create robotic lunar landers. NASA appears to be interested in assisting in those projects with a view of using the resulting vehicles for its own exploration plans. Officially, thanks to a mandate by President Obama, NASA is not planning its own crewed mission to the moon. However the space agency seems to be interested in supporting, in some way, a commercially run lunar base. Joint robotic lunar landings might be seen as the start of such an effort."
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NASA Mulling Joint Lunar Missions With Commercial Enterprises

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  • There's gold in them thar hills, literally and figuratively.
    • by bonehead (6382)

      Even with the $30 million prize, sending a robot to the moon, in all likelihood would be a net expense, not a source of income.

  • by stox (131684) on Friday July 05, 2013 @12:31AM (#44192551) Homepage

    I suspect there are going to be a lot more joint missions.

  • Uh, JPL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demachina (71715) on Friday July 05, 2013 @12:52AM (#44192581)

    Hey NASA, you heard of this place called JPL out by Cal Tech. They've been landing rovers on Mars for a while now which is WAY harder than landing one on the moon. Why don't you give them a call and stop being clueless and pathetic.

    P.S.

    Elon, please launch Falcon Heavy so we can shut NASA down and put the money in to your actual space program instead of the empty shell that is NASA these days

    • Re:Uh, JPL (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kermidge (2221646) on Friday July 05, 2013 @02:19AM (#44192843) Journal

      ....so we can shut NASA down

      Congress would have to revoke their charter, I believe. Senators keep NASA around due to inertia, weather forecasts, the odd bit of national prestige, and contracts to companies from, or doing business in, their states.

      • by slick7 (1703596)

        ....so we can shut NASA down

        Congress would have to revoke their charter, I believe. Senators keep NASA around due to inertia, weather forecasts, the odd bit of national prestige, and contracts to companies from, or doing business in, their states.

        If you know anything about contractors and NASA, one word of advice...DON'T!

        • by kermidge (2221646)

          Not known wy (now, there it is, a new shpelling: do people still aspirate the "h" of the "wh"?) you replied to me, Slick, as I wasn't the one suggesting NASA be shut down, but I'll take it as good advice anyway.

          Interesting sig you have, by the by.

          • by slick7 (1703596)
            It's not about shutting down NASA, it's about the use of contractors. I have seen and been on both sides of that coin. When NASA or the contractors get their collective act together, the other side is in for some serious trouble.
            • by kermidge (2221646)

              Oh, OK, thanks for the clarification. Thing is, I think it depends much on looking at the usefulness of a project or research program. Congress folks tend to look at funding/jobs/votes and tend to not give a shit about the worth of anything to the nation at large - if they even have the interest or ability to do so.

              I'm only familiar in a passing way with the general kinds of things 'twixt contractors and agencies, mostly from dealing with some milspec bidding decades back. I had enough trouble with all t

    • Re:Uh, JPL (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) * <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Friday July 05, 2013 @02:26AM (#44192863) Homepage

      NASA needs to stay around so that when the Chinese land on the moon the US government can go into a panic and pump money into it.

    • Boots on Mars. Why is this so hard to understand?
      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        Boots on Mars. Why is this so hard to understand?

        Its hard to understand trading one deep gravity well for another.

        • We will be trading one deep gravity well for two.

          Fairly basic engineering that the shouldn't be a single point of failure for all known life in the universe.

          • by Rockoon (1252108)

            Fairly basic engineering that the shouldn't be a single point of failure for all known life in the universe.

            You dont have to go to another deep gravity well in order to spread life and/or humanity out, a fact that makes your argument completely empty. You are as short sighted as the people at NASA these days (who seem to want glory instead of logic.)

            We should be working on sustainable independent space craft, starting with sustainable independent space stations. In the grand scheme of things, gravity wells are for noobs.

            • by khallow (566160)

              We should be working on sustainable independent space craft, starting with sustainable independent space stations. In the grand scheme of things, gravity wells are for noobs.

              The obvious rebuttal is that we have only one example of a sustainable independent space craft right now - the planet Earth and it happens to have a very large gravity well. Gravity wells happen to also be places where resources get concentrated enough to be useful.

              • by bonehead (6382)

                They also happen to be a place where enough gravity exists to keep humans healthy without having to expend energy and resources to generate it artificially.

            • by khallow (566160)

              In the grand scheme of things, gravity wells are for noobs.

              I apologize for the lateness of this second reply, but we are noobs in space. Building on Mars means that we can transplant most of our technologies and systems wholesale. It also has all the elements we need for survival. So we can build a civilization on Mars which could be sustainable even in the absence of any off world support.

              Down the road, Mars can generate a second market for space-based goods as well.

    • by Camael (1048726) on Friday July 05, 2013 @04:55AM (#44193305)

      I'm pretty sure NASA have heard of this JPL since the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech is a NASA laboratory [nasa.gov].

      From TFA:

      “A commercial lunar lander jointly developed with NASA would capitalize on NASA's previous investments and expertise in lander technologies. It also would stimulate a commercial capability to deliver payloads to the lunar surface reliably and cost-effectively."

      So how is reaching out to commercial entities to improve their existing know-how instead of relying ONLY on their own labs "being clueless and pathetic"?

      • by khallow (566160)
        Maybe this is a call to privatize the functions of JPL and other national labs? I could get behind that.
    • by jythie (914043)
      Because small plucky 'enterprise' makes for better political theater then stogy old boring companies.

      The current american dream is short bursts of intense work by 'outsiders' followed by riches, so companies that exemplify that imagery get a lot of political attention. The older style of 'lots of planned hard work over long periods followed by reasonable long term profits' just isn't sexy. So there is a push to get NASA away from companies that have long consistant but boring track records (and, importan
  • Really Good That somethings new s happening..!! thank you for posting
  • Are we really still thinking that these things will ever be cost-effective?

  • Dicking around (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) on Friday July 05, 2013 @03:31AM (#44193077)
    NASA dicks around in low Earth orbit and the only way to send up an astronaut is on a Russian rocket. We should've been on Mars by 1980 at the latest, but we just. stopped.. trying. People will disagree with the above sentiment. It's jingoistic and Cold War-ish, they'll say. To them I reply, gloat over our corpses. You won and we lost. We no longer have the national will to do great things. Whether it's NASA alone or a coalition of public and private firms, we just don't have what it takes. You win.
    • by jythie (914043)
      To be fair, I think NASA discovered that things are harder and more expensive then the optimism of the 60s thought they would be. It was always assumed that some magical innovation would be right around the corner that would bring down the costs and allow for massive expansions, but nothing ever materialized. Just incremental improvements.
  • They need a lander for this mission to explore the permanently shadowed region of the lunar poles.

    http://lunarscience.nasa.gov/lsf2013/content/resource-prospector-lunar-volatiles-prospecting-and-isru-demonstration-mission [nasa.gov]

  • by vik (17857) on Friday July 05, 2013 @05:16AM (#44193343) Homepage Journal

    If anyone is interested, the http://asi.org/ [asi.org] site is still there. Would've cost the same as 4 shuttle flights and left a permanent base on the moon. But nooooo.

    What's changed? Well, now there's even less money spare...

  • Each new President and congressional committee wants to give them something new to shoot for and then never really gives them the funding to be able to reach those goals. So, every few years they have to rearrange what they have been planing for 8 years or more to suit the new party in charge. If we had just given them a fraction of the military's budget and then let them decide on what goals they want to make we would probably already have a international moon base and have cheaper fuel on hand to experime
  • Congress and the president just need to quit making decisions for NASA. Just have a few scientists, a representative from congress and the president meet every 5 or 10 years and come up with a 10 year plan for NASA outlining their goals and budget for the decade and then have congress and the president sign off on it. Then keep that plan locked in until the the next meeting unless there is some need for more funding or a large change which would require a special meeting. I'm getting sick of NASA being used

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