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#1 2002-12-05 21:50:38

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: nasa budget

well, mars is in it, but no mention of mars direct, in either space flight or space science.  the mars plan gets $450 million or so, but what caught my eye was the new nuclear initiatives, especially nuclear electric, which you can read about here:

[url=]ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/budget/2003/spacescience.pdf[/url]

is this really something to hope about, or just nasa making a mountain out of a molehill?

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#2 2002-12-07 11:10:31

Alexander K. Naylor
Member
Registered: 2002-03-30
Posts: 20

Re: nasa budget

Of course there's no mention of Mars Direct.  That is the perfect way to kill an unmanned probe program (like the [i:post_uid0]Voyager[/i:post_uid0] probes to Mars in the late sixties, which were seen as too much of a precursor for a manned Mars mission), because by committing yourself to an unmanned mission connected with a manned Mars mission means that you'll probably have to fund the fifty billion Mars mission, also.

The Nuclear Electric Propulsion, though, may spark a revolution.  Although NASA has talked about NEP probes since at least 1980, they've never gotten off the ground because they have the word "nuclear" in them (this is what I'm afraid might kill accessible ground-based nuclear fusion once it becomes a reality--because it has the word "nuclear" in it our wonderfully educated American public will go beserk).  Now, with an administration that doesn't give a care about the environment, it might actually get off the ground (I think I read somewhere that a small nuclear power generator would actually be [i:post_uid0]less[/i:post_uid0] radioactive than an RTG).

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