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Mars NASA The Almighty Buck

NRC Human Spaceflight Report Says NASA Strategy Can't Get Humans To Mars 206

MarkWhittington (1084047) writes 'The National Research Council issued its report on the future of space exploration. The report stated that the "horizon goal" for any program of space exploration in the near term (i.e. the next two decades) is a Mars surface expedition. It also stated that the current NASA program, which includes a mission that would snag an asteroid, put it in lunar orbit, and visit it with astronauts is inadequate to meet that goal.

The report gave two reasons for its critique of the current NASA program. First the asteroid redirect mission would not create and test technologies necessary to conduct a crewed Mars mission. Second, NASA projects essentially flat budgets for the foreseeable future. Any space exploration program worthy of the name will cost considerably more money, with five percent increases in NASA funding for a number of years.'
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NRC Human Spaceflight Report Says NASA Strategy Can't Get Humans To Mars

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  • Sorry... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:10PM (#47168073) Homepage Journal

    It doesn't work to do this with a democratic government. We need a monarchy :-(

    It seems to me that SpaceX is on the path to a solution that might be affordable by a single administration, though.

  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:13PM (#47168095)
    I think it's most people's impression that NASA is just going through the motion, making empty noises wrt Mars human exploration. There simply is no viable plan nor adequate budget to come up with a viable plan.
  • by ubergeek2009 ( 1475007 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:14PM (#47168101)

    There's no reason to go to the bottom of another gravity well. We should be travelling to, learn from, and eventually exploit the asteroids. It makes more sense for the long term viability of the human race.

  • Simple Solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:19PM (#47168133) Homepage Journal

    Militarize NASA and make the liberation of the Solar System from the enemies of FREEDOM priorities of National Security. At that point Congress will be tripping over themselves put the US an additional 15 Trillion in debt in order to invade Mars and install a puppet dictatorship that is friendly to US and Israeli interests.

  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:20PM (#47168139)

    Seriously, forget Mars. It's like Utah, but cold, and even more boring. We know Mars.

    Now, rearranging big chunks of our solar system to get our grubby hand on some sweet sweet platinum, that's the sort of crazy shit that our parents hoped we'd be doing by now. In any case, that's what we should be doing, imo.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SumDog ( 466607 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:25PM (#47168171) Homepage Journal

    If one rover discovered a massive reserved of oil on mars, we would be there yesterday.

  • Re:Sorry... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The New Guy 2.0 ( 3497907 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:43PM (#47168241)

    There's no such thing as a Physics Congress... the laws of physics are unrepealable!

  • by confused one ( 671304 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:47PM (#47168271)
    I'm glad the National Research Council has published this... maybe now it will get some traction. Having said that, it does not take a rocket scientist to see that the program is underfunded and will not be able to meet any of its goals. Frankly, this is true of not just NASA, but science in general. Too many in Congress talk about the importance of STEM; but, when push comes to shove are unwilling to fund R&D and large scale engineering programs.
  • Re:Sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by savuporo ( 658486 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @08:17PM (#47168429)

    So lets see. This is an NRC report that ONLY considered using SLS as the launch vehicle, and concluded that you cannot get to Mars with that, something has to be done differently.

    How about _trying_ something different then for a change, stop trying to build redundant launch vehicles, we already have plenty, and actually invest in enabling technologies that DO get us to Mars.
    Like, putting spacecraft together from modules like was done with ISS and other stations before that - except without involving costly human ops. How about refuelling the spacecraft on orbit. How about doing research on partial-g environments, and launching a centrifuge. How about sending some rats en route to Mars to study different radiation shielding approach effectiveness. The list is endless. Actually, NRC PRODUCED all the enabling technology roadmaps, they are available here :
    http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oc... [nasa.gov]
    How about actually fricking following these roadmaps ( SLS is NOT in there ) and getting some stuff done ? Advanced radioisotope stirling generator that was outlined as the CRUCIAL enabling technology piece for future exploration ? Cancelled ! Funds are required to build a monster rocket to nowhere instead ...

    But, if you keep doing the same thing over and over, no reason to expect a different result. Kill the waste, and start investing in future.

  • by fma ( 71738 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @08:24PM (#47168465) Homepage

    Setting up shop at a Lagrange point is a whole lot more interesting and likely profitable. Unless you really want little green men.

  • Re:Sorry... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @08:46PM (#47168567)

    It doesn't work to do this with a democratic government. We need a monarchy :-(

    Well, we're getting close ... one party wants to amend the Constitution so that it can ban the other's speech.

  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @12:38AM (#47169445) Homepage
    Ah, yes, one world government. Because there isn't nearly enough tyranny on this planet already. Surely, a global government would concentrate resources on space and advancing the cause of humanity instead of large-scale theft for their own tribe and armed response to anyone who disagreed.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas