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#1 2008-03-13 02:50:21

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

Griffin Defends Mars Funding Cuts - 12 Mar 2008

By Craig Covault/Aviation Week & Space Technology

HOUSTON - NASA Administrator Michael Griffin gave as good as he got on NASA Mars robotic funding cuts aired before a largely hostile audience of 300 international space researchers March 10 at the 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC).

The agency in its fiscal 2009 budget reduced Mars funding to increase money for a "flagship" outer planets mission.

In a brouhaha befitting Mars as the mythological god of war, NASA and European terrestrial planet and astrobiological scientists are concerned that with the cuts NASA's planned 2020 Mars robotic sample return mission will be done on the cheap. They are also concerned that there will be inadequate follow-up to keep Mars exploration at its current pace.

"We are trying to sell this in Europe but now we have our legs cut from under us," pleaded Frances Westall, who heads astrobiology at Europe's Institute for Scientific and Technical Information.

"Tough luck" says Griffin, scolding her for giving a European political tutorial in the midst of what was to be a question and answer session. Griffin is faced with bolstering outer planets exploration after the National Research Council, which guides NASA science, gave outer planet mission status a "D" grade, while Mars rated an "A."

With the extraordinarily successful Mars rover, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Odyssey spacecraft still at work, the Phoenix lander en route for landing May 25 and Mars Science Laboratory rover set for launch in 2009, the agency decided to reduce Mars to its traditional level of $300-400 million per year - but with an increase for analysis of data already being returned from the Red Planet.

That new "flagship" outer planets mission 10 years or so from now will (much like the Mars missions) help search for evidence of conditions that could support life - but rather at Titan or Enceladus, which are moons of Saturn or Jupiter's moon Europa. Europa and Enceladus could have warm subsurface oceans that may support life, while Titan is covered in organics similar to the Earth early in its evolution.

Although Mars is the ultimate goal of NASA's Vision for Exploration, the agency under federal law is prohibited from lobbying Congress for extra money to fund robotic Mars missions while also seeking extra money for a "flagship" outer planets mission. Only the White House can makes such requests, and it did not.

Many U.S. Mars researchers are angry, fearing the bright future that they (and Griffin) still see on the Red Planet may end up deferred.

The folks who want to do outer planets missions have suffered for years, he told the group.

"I cannot ignore the NRC's D-grade," Griffin said. But this week will be more Grade A as Cassini in orbit around Saturn is set to dive within only 30 miles of Enceladus and 60 miles of a plume of apparent water, ice and gas plume jetting from the body. That outer planet spectacular will be the dominate focus of the LPSC late this week.

One young woman from UCLA stood to applaud the way the tough tradeoff was handled. Griffin was buoyed by her attitude, but it did not register as strong on the LPSC "applause-o-meter" as the Mars protests.

A California Institute of Technology graduate student took the floor and said in effect, "What is to become of us who have specialized in Mars?" Griffin responded, "Don't specialize. Specialization is for insects."

smile


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#2 2008-03-13 11:45:01

Commodore
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From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

Ouch.  :twisted:

NASA has a lot of tough decisions to make. They have to balance the competing interests of manned and unmanned space flight, plus the observatory crowd, and the aeronautics crowd, interests that rarely intersect.

Really, NASA should be split into separate services for manned, unmanned, and observatory missions, with aeronautics farmed off to DARPA or something.


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#3 2008-03-13 15:07:32

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

Today's House hearing on NASA's science budget once again had everyone on both sides of the table agreeing (except Alan Stern who is not officially allowed to as the NASA representative) that NASA needs more money. They have balanced it well, with a new flagship Outer planets mission in the works and MSR around 2020, along with a lot of smaller missions.

Breaking NASA up will duplicate the bureaucracy and common facilities (DSN, research labs, engineering etc etc) and lose the synergy between human and robotic exploration. Maybe aeronautics could be separated and education. Without aeronautics it would need a new acronym, how about National Organization for Space EXploration hehe.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#4 2008-03-13 15:36:40

Commodore
Member
From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

There never really has been any significant operational connection between manned and unmanned flight. And its likely to say that way until manned interplanetary voyages suffer communications disruptions from orbital mechanics.


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#5 2008-03-15 13:57:16

Terraformer
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From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,344
Website

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

Give manned flight to USAF, I say. Or the organization (the acroynom began with an S, I think) who were working on some rocket, getting excellent results with some minor glitches, then gave it to NASA and it suddenly failed. Something to do with it being a competitor to the shuttle.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#6 2008-03-17 21:47:59

Commodore
Member
From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

If not the USAF, then a new US Space Command. Theres actually a large mission for the DoD in space, ranging from operating constellations of recon, navigation, communication, and surveillance satellites that all services depend on, even if there are no "weapons" up there, to sub-orbital bombers/space planes, to solar weather observatories, to dedicated asteroid/comet observatories, to manned survey missions to practice NEO defense methods.

Not to replace NASA of course, but a dedicated Space Service with full DoD funding would work wonders for the civil program.


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#7 2008-03-18 08:49:24

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

There needs to be a good reason for transferring NASA to the military and there isn't one. The Space Command (part of Strategic Command) has an entirely different mission to NASA, it's also funded under DoD. The first thing that DoD would do is shut down 90%+ of NASA as it does nothing relevant to defense. It's very doubtful that NASA or DoD would want this.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#8 2008-03-21 10:38:48

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,344
Website

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

I don't really care about space science at the moment (unless it's relevant to manned spaceflight). Get cheap, reusable spaceflight, then some off world colonies, and only then get on with studying the solar system, looking for life, etc.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#9 2008-04-16 17:51:15

Ron Carlson
Member
From: Near JSC
Registered: 2007-12-08
Posts: 39

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

I think it is better to put our limited funds into lunar and Martian projects as well as projects finding planets similar to Spaceship Earth in other solar systems.

At least Moon, Mars and terrestial planet projects have some chance of returning a huge benefit to Mankind.

Ron Carlson

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#10 2008-04-27 13:57:27

dryson
Member
From: Ohio
Registered: 2007-06-16
Posts: 104

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

I think it is better to put our limited funds into lunar and Martian projects as well as projects finding planets similar to Spaceship Earth in other solar systems.

At least Moon, Mars and terrestial planet projects have some chance of returning a huge benefit to Mankind.

Ron Carlson

What needs to be done is this. A new type of robotic mining ship maybe the size of the Progress needs to be developed. This ship would then head out to the inner most ring of the belt or 255 million miles from the sun.

Then the robotic miner would land on a sizeable asteroid, one that would be easily fractured with explosives, drilling or a combination of explosive drilling to a certain depth.

For the explosives portion the miner would land at calculated areas on the asteroid that would present the weakest structural support.  Explosives would then be placed at these points and detonated fracturing the asteroid. A second smaller robotic manipulator would then grab hold of the chunks of asteroid and deposit them into a container at the aft section of the robotic miner. Once full, the miner would release the container, the container would then travel back to the ISS where the container would then be sent to Earth where the Ore would then refined and used to manufacture other robitic miners and containers.

This type of venture would make it possible for small inter-planetary business' to thrive in an otherwise un-tapped medium of resources.
It has to happen sometime and just like the first automobile that was expensive but seen the cost driven down by demand so to will this venture.

Besides we can't continue to strip mine Earth to get what we need, eventually the change in the wind patterns caused terraforming will have a sever imapct on the Earth.[/code]

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#11 2008-04-29 00:40:04

cIclops
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Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

Nice idea dryson but have you any idea what this asteroid "ore" would cost per ton on Earth?


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#12 2008-04-29 17:23:11

dryson
Member
From: Ohio
Registered: 2007-06-16
Posts: 104

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

Nice idea dryson but have you any idea what this asteroid "ore" would cost per ton on Earth?

It seems to me you one eyed pecker that when ever an idea comes along that doesn't keep your children close to you, you shoot it down or simply because it is not your idea it doesn't sound good. It's not my fault that you lack to imagination and intellectual comprehension of what this project would do for space exploration let alone the Earth.

Lets look at spiritual aspect of bringing ore from the asteroid belts back here to Earth. True the ore would be just like it is here on Earth, but the fact that it came from a distant source out in the solar system would allow people to feel closer to what is in outter space.

It would also make people want more of this ore to manufacture with as the status of saying "Yep, My garden hoe is made out of composite material from an asteroid belt millions of miles away. Whats yours made out of? Oh...just the regular old Earth composite material. How boring."

This would type of venture would make for new conversation pieces to hand down or hang over the fireplace.

Just think of holding a rake made from an asteroid that once orbited Jupiter. Hell I'd buy one.

Next the ore from the asteroid belt may be completely different then that here on earth. You have to remember that the ore here on earth has laid dormant for millions of years under the gravitational mechanism's of the Earth.

The ore composition of an asteroid freely orbiting Jupiter may be completely different and yield different types of metal tensile strengths once refined here on Earth.

We can't just sit here on Earth and gave up and ask "What if we...." that methodology does not work any longer. There has to be a can do attitude of always pushing forward reguardless of what some whom I call Earth Bound Miscrients say. If Columbus feared falling off of the edge of the Earth then there wouldn't have been an America.

That's something to ponder.

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#13 2008-04-30 05:04:42

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

dyson, if you can't respond without insults, please don't bother. Last chance.

It's obvious that the cost per ton of a mined asteroid delivered on Earth is going to be literally astronomic. A rough estimate would be of the order of a billion dollars in development plus hundreds of millions per mission. Gold is only $30 million a ton.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#14 2008-05-01 09:39:45

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

Today's House hearing on NASA's science budget once again had everyone on both sides of the table agreeing (except Alan Stern who is not officially allowed to as the NASA representative) that NASA needs more money. They have balanced it well, with a new flagship Outer planets mission in the works and MSR around 2020, along with a lot of smaller missions.

Breaking NASA up will duplicate the bureaucracy and common facilities (DSN, research labs, engineering etc etc) and lose the synergy between human and robotic exploration. Maybe aeronautics could be separated and education. Without aeronautics it would need a new acronym, how about National Organization for Space EXploration hehe.

How about change the name of the US Air Force to the US Air and Space Force, or the US Aerospace Force. Maybe a military service ought to be in charge of manned space missions, while leaving NASA to do the unmanned science missions. Perhaps military disappline is required for a manned Mars expedition. We are talking about putting lives at risk if we send humans to Mars, well the military puts lives at risk all the time, however if an unmanned space probe fails, it is only a disappointment. You really can't make a manned Mars expedition that's to last 2 years perfectly safe.

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#15 2008-05-01 15:43:48

Commodore
Member
From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

I don't think we need the US Space Command for exploration missions. But there is certainly plenty of national and planetary security missions short of that, ranging from solar weather observatories, comet and asteroid detections, deflection, and destruction, and preserving control of LEO for the good guys, to warrant a separate branch of the DoD. That doesn't mean NASA shouldn't do NEO missions, cause the goal is fundamentally different.

And of course we have to prepare for the eventuality that a hostile or rouge entity could threaten surface installations.


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#16 2008-05-03 11:51:20

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

I think NASA has developed some expensive habits for making triply redundant systems in a futile attempt to make everything perfectly safe, thus vastly inflating the costs beyond justifiable levels. No one expects Air Force pilots to be perfectly safe when they fly combat missions, no one expects them to design fighters that just can't be shot down by the enemy. I think the public would have a better understanding of the risks of the manned space program if they were conducted by the military. After all, no one expects civilian employees to die in the service of the Agricultural Department to give you a parallel example of another civilian agency. If someone dies while working for the Agricultural Department, then alot of questions would be raised as to why he died, and the dangers involved for A.D. employees, and massive amounts of money would be expended to make Agricultural Department Employees safer. The public, as always has a higher tolerance for military casualities, and manned space exploration is dangerous.

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#17 2008-05-04 05:13:48

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

Human space flight should be non military just as commercial aviation.
When a new fighter aircraft is developed nobody expects pilots to die because of design or production mistakes, and quite rightly so. Accidents happen of course, but good design and procedures minimize them.  Combat is unsafe but the best designed aircraft flown by the best trained pilots are not expected to have many losses. Compared with DoD, NASA is cheap and quick. Examples:

F-22 program:
development: $62 billion
time from requirements to introduction: 24 years

F-35:
development: $40 billion
time from requirements to introduction: 18 years (expected 2011)

And these are nth generation fighter projects unlike NASA human spacecraft which have only had a few generations.


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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#18 2008-05-13 16:01:24

Ron Carlson
Member
From: Near JSC
Registered: 2007-12-08
Posts: 39

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

Griffin Defends Mars Funding Cuts - 12 Mar 2008

Although Mars is the ultimate goal of NASA's Vision for Exploration, the agency under federal law is prohibited from lobbying Congress for extra money to fund robotic Mars missions while also seeking extra money for a "flagship" outer planets mission. Only the White House can makes such requests, and it did not.

smile

This is a law that should be changed.

In my humble opinion, missions to Mars will ultimately be far more fruitful to Mankind than missions to the outer planets.

Ron Carlson

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#19 2008-05-13 17:12:47

cIclops
Member
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 3,230

Re: Griffin tells Mars researchers a few truths

There probably was a good reason for the law, whatever it was. NASA can lobby the President but not Congress. It seems to make sense and balances agency power.

One day far far in the future, there will be missions to other stellar systems to colonize other Earth like planets - missions to the Outer planets will be just local trips smile


Let's go to Mars and far beyond -  triple NASA's budget !   #space channel !!    - videos !!!

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