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#2 Space Policy » Congressional hearings on Mars exploration » 2013-05-23 12:01:16

Replies: 0

Here's an extract from the hearing 21 May 2013 of the House Subcommittee on Space - Next Steps in Human Exploration to Mars and Beyond held in Washington, D.C. May 21, 2013
Testimony from Paul Spudis and Steven M. Squyres

#4 Re: Interplanetary transportation » Orion (CEV / SM) - status » 2013-03-14 07:28:42


NASA On Course to Launch Orion Flight Test - 28 Feb 2013

The first spacecraft NASA has designed to fly astronauts beyond Earth orbit since the Apollo era is well on its way to making a flight test next year, agency officials said Wednesday. The mission is planned for launch in September 2014, and will see an Orion capsule orbit Earth without a crew and return through the atmosphere at speeds unseen since astronauts last returned from the moon in 1972.

"It's a key element of our overall plan to get humans beyond Earth orbit as quickly as we can," said Dan Dumbacher, deputy associate administrator for NASA's Exploration Systems Development Division.

#5 Re: Human missions » Inspiration Mars Foundation » 2013-03-14 07:11:58

louis wrote:

I definitely vote for a small lander - it will complete the narrative if they get within 100 miles and then launch a small lander.

Absolutely not! This mission will be at or maybe beyond the state of the art, they need to keep it as simple as possible and not add any extra complexity or mass. Micro landers can be shot to Mars on other launchers.

#6 Life on Mars » Curiosity team find ancient habitable environment » 2013-03-14 07:03:42

Replies: 3

NASA Rover Finds Conditions Once Suited for Ancient Life on Mars

March 12, 2013

PASADENA, Calif. -- An analysis of a rock sample collected by NASA's Curiosity rover shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes.

Scientists identified sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon -- some of the key chemical ingredients for life -- in the powder Curiosity drilled out of a sedimentary rock near an ancient stream bed in Gale Crater on the Red Planet last month.

"A fundamental question for this mission is whether Mars could have supported a habitable environment," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "From what we know now, the answer is yes."

News conference video (70 mins)

#7 Re: Human missions » Inspiration Mars Foundation » 2013-02-28 02:49:50

Tito's mission analysis paper (PDF)

When asked by a reporter what he wanted to take with him on his moon flight Neil Armstrong said "more fuel" ... some extra propellent would also be a good idea for this trip.

#8 Re: Interplanetary transportation » Orion (CEV / SM) - status » 2012-11-21 23:14:10

RobertDyck wrote:

I supposed they could adapt the service module from ATV, but still I find it very very odd.

Exactly. The proposal is to base the service module on the ATV. ESA have offered this to offset their share of ISS common operating costs. Germany and the UK supported this and won approval during the ESA council meeting this week. This will give ESA a seat on Orion for future deep space missions.

UK To Invest in Orion Service Module

#9 Re: Interplanetary transportation » Orion (CEV / SM) - status » 2012-11-21 11:20:32

Proposal for a Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle-Service Module (MPCV-SM)

At long last some good news and a new direction announced today ....

Ministers gave the green light for Europe to provide the service module of NASA’s new Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) as an in-kind contribution for ISS operations for 2017–20. This decision is strategically important for Europe as it will enable a cooperation between ESA and NASA on the future human space transportation system.

And yes it's true!

European Ministers decide to invest in space  (paragraph 5)

#10 Re: Human missions » Planetary Resources Inc. » 2012-04-24 23:09:12

Planetary Resources Inc gave a press conference yesterday.

They have an ambitious plan to develop and launch small spacecraft to search for asteroids, then visit and finally mine them primarily for water.

Details are sketchy as is the timeline, "end of decade to locate targets" and who will buy the "millions" of tons of water they apparently intend to produce. It was disappointing to hear their operations will be robotic. If they succeed they will create the first private space agency.

(Josh, please move this topic to the unmanned probes section)

#11 Re: Unmanned probes » Official MSL / Curiosity Rover Thread | Aug 5, 2012 10:31 p.m. PT » 2012-04-23 00:58:07

Gale Crater: Exploring the Mars Science Laboratory landing site  - April 13, 2012

A lecture by Dr. Matt Golombek about the MSL mission beginning with a brief background about Mars rovers and then continuing with a detailed
description of the landing site selection process and how Gale crater will be explored.

Matt is a geologist and a Principal Scientist at JPL, he is the co-chair of the Mars Landing Site Steering Committee

#12 Re: Human missions » Planetary Resources Inc. » 2012-04-21 08:25:35

louis wrote:

It came up on another thread but deserves its own as this is potentially a v. important development. It's potentially an alternative source of funding for Space X for one thing.

This looks like a v. virtuous circle to me: funding from NASA to Space X, funding from PRI to Space X, missions to exploit tourism and other potential business opportunities.

Hi Louis!

It's still unclear exactly what Planetary Resources intend to do, but given their resources and skills this group could do impressive things in space.

Finance is coming from Larry Page and Eric Schmidt - note that Page has a net worth larger than NASA's budget!

Henry Perot Jr is a comfortable billionaire too and likes to fly helicopters around the world, maybe he wants to go faster with space adventurer and billionaire Charles Simonyi

James Cameron is the poor boy, but he's rich in marketing and movie skills.

#13 Human missions » Planetary Resources Inc. » 2012-04-21 06:19:23

Replies: 48

This is my first ontopic post for some time and hopefully an interesting one ...

April 18, 2012

*** Media Alert *** Media Alert *** Media Alert ***

Space Exploration Company to Expand Earth's Resource Base

WHAT:             Join visionary Peter H. Diamandis, M.D.; leading commercial space entrepreneur Eric Anderson; former NASA Mars mission manager Chris Lewicki; and planetary scientist & veteran NASA astronaut Tom Jones, Ph.D. on Tuesday, April 24 at 10:30 a.m. PDT in Seattle, or via webcast, as they unveil a new space venture with a mission to help ensure humanity's prosperity.

                        Supported by an impressive investor and advisor group, including Google’s Larry Page & Eric Schmidt, Ph.D.; film maker & explorer James Cameron; Chairman of Intentional Software Corporation and Microsoft’s former Chief Software Architect Charles Simonyi, Ph.D.; Founder of Sherpalo and Google Board of Directors founding member K. Ram Shriram; and Chairman of Hillwood and The Perot Group Ross Perot, Jr., the company will overlay two critical sectors – space exploration and natural resources – to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP. This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of ‘natural resources’.

This new venture is called Planetary Resources, Inc.

#14 Re: Meta New Mars » Rebirth of New Mars; Establishment of New Mars Editorial Board » 2012-04-10 09:30:43

I would just like to say rumors of my kicking the bit bucket are totally false!

#15 Re: Interplanetary transportation » Russia+Europe sign deal to build six seater Lunar Craft! :D » 2008-05-28 15:36:34

ATV has no reentry capability - that problem alone will require a massive redesign. Yes, much of the technology can be reused and it's a good basis for developing a new human spacecraft. The Russians aren't offering "assistance" they want ESA to help pay for their own program. It's a cheap way for ESA to get themselves a human spacecraft but not the best way. ESA should get serious about space, its budget is a small fraction of NASA's from a combined GDP about the same as the US.

The Americans are not pulling the plug on ISS, the recent 2008 NASA authorization act requires ISS to be extended to 2020.

#16 Re: Unmanned probes » Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX) » 2008-05-28 13:36:13

The wind blows - imaged 28 May 2008 (Sol 2)

... hanging from the top of the mast is a wind telltale. This is a small tube that will be deflected by the wind. The science payload’s stereo camera will record images of the telltale that will be used to determine wind direction and speed. The top of the meteorology mast, at 1.14 meters (3.75 feet) above the deck, is the highest point on the lander.


Aarhus University, Denmark, constructed the wind telltale.

#17 Re: Human missions » STS-124 Discovery » 2008-05-28 09:50:44

Hope takes flight - 28 May 2008 - video 10 mins

Smooth documentary style production about the mission.

L-3  Countdown Status Briefing - 28 May 2008 - video 19 mins

In depth questions about the the broken ISS toilet, the media really liked getting into this subject. Replacement parts are being hand carried in a diplomatic pouch from Russia for launch as last minute cargo. 

"Having a working toilet is a priority for us"

#18 Re: Interplanetary transportation » Russia+Europe sign deal to build six seater Lunar Craft! :D » 2008-05-28 09:07:40

Two reasons:

1.  ESA hasn't got the technology or even enough funding

2.   Because the ATV would need a complete redesign, it would be better to start again.

#19 Re: Human missions » Near Earth Object (NEO) missions » 2008-05-28 07:22:53

The Million Mile Mission - 1 July 2008 (sic)

... Like the Mars Underground, a larger group of enthusiasts who for the past 20-plus years have been pushing for a voyage to Mars, the asteroid agitators are trying to build support for a mission. The two groups are far from mutually exclusive: Plenty of Mars Undergrounders share the desire to see Constellation, NASA’s human exploration program, send astronauts rock-hopping first.

The operational lessons learned from such an expedition would be crucial. “There’s no way a Mars program could take shape without a crewed mission to an asteroid,” says Jones. Aerospace engineer Robert Zubrin, who, as head of the international advocacy group the Mars Society, is one of the leading proponents of an expedition to the Red Planet, likes the logic of a shakedown flight to an asteroid. “I think it’s a valuable idea. It would help validate the Constellation hardware within a meaningful time frame,” he says. “Basically, it takes us farther out into space, and that’s good. Sort of like Columbus getting out there and saying, ‘There aren’t dragons out here after all.’ ”

Constellation’s primary destinations are the moon and Mars, but the asteroid hopefuls are lobbying to insert a third stop in the itinerary. For the record, NASA has no plans to send astronauts to a near-Earth object, and agency officials describe it as highly improbable given current budgets.

The Asteroid Underground is unfazed. According to Jones, “When you talk to an audience of taxpayers, they see the stepping stones: moon, asteroid, Mars.” ...

What about the cramped nature of a six-month voyage inside Orion, with a habitable volume only one-fifth that of the space shuttle? Lu shrugs it off. “If I knew I was going out to an asteroid and back, I’d live in something half that size. You ask around the Astronaut Office who wants to go. You’ll have a line out the door.”

#20 Re: Unmanned probes » Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX) » 2008-05-28 07:07:20

A city of micro-dimensions just beyond the resolution of the camera? LOL.

(Zydar, you know where to discuss this topic - any more messages will be deleted)

#21 Re: Unmanned probes » Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX) » 2008-05-28 05:31:47

The RAC should be able to get closeups of the nearest rock marked with the red box. Perhaps it can also scrape samples from it to view with the OM and AFM.

#22 Re: Interplanetary transportation » Russia+Europe sign deal to build six seater Lunar Craft! :D » 2008-05-28 04:10:17

Note in the article:

Astrium itself is part of a separate Esa-funded study that is looking at the possibility of developing a crew capability in tandem with the Russians.

It's not a done deal.

#23 Re: Human missions » Near Earth Object (NEO) missions » 2008-05-28 02:11:42

It wouldn't be a "colony" but more like an outpost. Just about everything except base metals, glasses, and Oxygen would have to be imported, and a solar-powered base that isn't near the poles would require a huge amount of energy storage and related excess production. And managing the day/night cycle indoors, buried under regolith to hide from radiation and small space rocks... what a lovely way to live. .

A lunar colony will be able to make its own oxygen and food, recycle its air and water, and produce all its own power. That's not a bad start. A colony doesn't have to be self sustaining, almost no village, town, city or even country produces everything it consumes. As to living underground, people are quite used to living inside structures, good design can make underground facilities very comfortable. The surface will be close and easily accessible. If such a colony becomes established better solutions will be found. Its greatest exports will be tourism, science and perhaps low gravity medical treatment. A lunar colony will prove the viability of off-world settlement for Mars.

#24 Re: Unmanned probes » Gamma ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) » 2008-05-28 01:28:20


(05/27/2008) --- CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The first half of the payload fairing is moved into place around NASA's Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope within the mobile service tower on Launch Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The fairing is a molded structure that fits flush with the outside surface of the Delta II upper stage booster and forms an aerodynamically smooth nose cone, protecting the spacecraft during launch and ascent.

#25 Re: Unmanned probes » Phoenix - North Pole Region Lander (PHX) » 2008-05-28 01:23:31

Orbiter Relays Second-Day Information - 27 May 2008

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter successfully received information from the Phoenix Mars Lander Tuesday evening and relayed the information to Earth. The relayed transmission included images and other data collected by Phoenix during the mission's second day after landing on Mars.

The UHF radio system used by the orbiter to communicate with the lander had gone into a standby mode earlier Tuesday for a still undetermined cause. This prevented sending Phoenix any new commands from Earth on Tuesday. Instead, the lander carried out a backup set of activity commands that had been sent Monday.

NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter is scheduled for relaying commands to the lander on Wednesday morning.

Press briefing - 27 May 2008 - video 52 mins

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