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Asteroid Missions May Replace Lunar Base Plans 237

An anonymous reader alerts us to a story about efforts to modify the United States' space exploration plans to focus on asteroid missions rather than a lunar base. Scientists, astronauts, and former NASA division directors will be meeting next month to develop an alternative to the Bush administration's Vision for Space Exploration. We have previously discussed the possibility of a manned asteroid mission. Quoting: "Numerous planetary managers told Aviation Week & Space Technology they now fear a manned Moon base and even shorter sorties to the Moon will bog down the space program for decades and inhibit, rather than facilitate, manned Mars operations--the ultimate goal of both the Bush and alternative visions. The first lunar sortie would be flown by about 2020 under the Bush plan. If alternative-vision planners have their way, the mission could instead be flown to an asteroid in about 2025."
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Asteroid Missions May Replace Lunar Base Plans

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  • Sounds Good (Score:2, Funny)

    by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Sunday January 20, 2008 @10:59AM (#22116744)
    I've been watching a lot of the old Twilight Zone episodes lately, and based on the examples they show, asteroids look like a better destination than the moon anyway. Asteroids seem much more habitable to humans. It looks like they have breathable atmospheres, earth-like gravity, and in fact they look almost exactly like our own Mohave Desert. In comparison, the moon is a bleak airless wasteland. I'm all for it.
  • by definate ( 876684 ) on Sunday January 20, 2008 @12:21PM (#22117180)
    Can I be the first person to suggest that the crew of the first manned mission to an asteroid absolutely must be...

    1) Bruce Willis
    2) Ben Affleck (Hey, send Matt Daemon too, sure it has nothing to do with the movie, but I think he deserves to be in space)
    3) A sketchy guy (Who I can't remember the name of and don't care) and some big black guy for racial equality (Who I also can't remember the name of and don't care)

    Either way, this is the only way I see a mission like this succeeding.

    Besides this happening, I believe it would be much cooler to establish a colony on the moon, however the first colony absolutely must...

    1) Setup an amusement park
    2) Setup a monument in said amusement park to the first whalers to land on the moon
    3) Send Matt Groening there to show him that, this is what happens when you make a popular show which resonates with nerds who have a huge sense of irony

    Both of these activities will garner the support NASA needs to undertake these missions from the common man, while increasing the future success of the human species, specifically as it pertains to colonization of the universe.

    So to conclude:
    4) ???
    5) Profit!
  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Sunday January 20, 2008 @01:29PM (#22117676) Homepage
    Honestly, if this doesn't sum up the American mentality, I don't know what does

    I'm British.

  • Re:Mining? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Nazlfrag ( 1035012 ) on Sunday January 20, 2008 @07:53PM (#22121142) Journal
    Just play space billiards and use slingshot orbits to get your energy. Simply kit out your cue ball asteroid with maneuvering jets and precision navigation systems to get a nice accurate hit.

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351