Commercialization of Outer Space & Colonization Prof. Dawson March, 2011
Obama Calls for End to NASA’s Moon Program Published: February 1, 2010 President Obama is calling on NASA to cancel the program that was to return humans to the Moon by 2020, and focus instead on radically new space technologies. Mr. Obama’s 2010 budget proposal for NASA asks for $18 billion over five years for fueling spacecraft in orbit, new types of engines to accelerate spacecraft through space and robotic factories that could churn soil on the Moon — and eventually Mars — into rocket fuel.
Obama Space Policy The budget proposal makes it clear that any future exploration program will be an international collaboration, not an American one, more like the International Space Station than Apollo. To pay for the new technology development, the budget calls for a complete stop in NASA’s Constellation program, the rockets and spacecraft that NASA has been working on for the past four years to replace the space shuttles.
Obama’s Space Policy The proposal would officially end aspirations to return astronauts to the Moon by 2020 — President George W. Bush’s ―vision for space exploration‖ developed after the loss of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003. In place of the Moon mission, the vision offers, at least initially, nothing in terms of human exploration of the solar system. What the administration calls a ―bold new initiative‖ does not spell out a next destination or timetable for getting there.
Whether Congress agrees to the restructuring of NASA remains to be seen. As reports of the impending cancellation of Constellation leaked out, members of Congress, particularly in Alabama, Florida and Texas, the homes of the NASA centers most involved with Constellation, expressed concern. http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/04/14/o bama-nasa-plan-buzz-aldrin-neil-armstrong- sally-ride/
NASA Future ―The assumption is that there are technological breakthroughs out there ready to be discovered and exploited,‖ Dr. Logsdon said. ―I’m impressed and a little surprised how large the investment in new technology is planned to be. It does represent a shift away from developing systems to developing technologies before developing systems.‖ If the approach succeeds, it could jumpstart a vibrant space industry, but it is also risky. By canceling Ares I, NASA would have no backup if the commercial companies were not able to deliver.
NASA Future Sally Ride is the latest heroic astronaut to join the fray, voicing support for Obamas plan on Thursday. A physicist and an astronaut, Ride become the first American woman in space after riding the Challenger shuttle in 1983. In a statement released by the White House, she called the Presidents plan "a bold strategic shift that will enable NASA to return to its roots: developing innovative technologies aimed at enabling human exploration and tackling the truly challenging aspects of human spaceflight - - venturing beyond Earth orbit, beyond the Earth-Moon system, and into the solar system.―
NASA Future Ride was most enthusiastic about the news that Obama will set specific goals for NASAs space program, with stepping-stone missions leading to a clear end goal: Mars. "The proposed program articulates a strategy for human exploration that will excite and energize the next generation ... Astronauts will travel to near- Earth asteroids and to distant space telescopes; they will visit the lunar surface and the moons of Mars.‖
The Future of Space Exploration – Manned or Robotic Missions? "Robotic missions are much cheaper and may provide more scientific information, but they dont catch the public imagination in the same way, and they dont spread the human race into space, which Im arguing should be our long-term strategy. If the human race is to continue for another million years, we will have to boldly go where no one has gone before." Stephen Hawking, Cambridge University
Space Updates http://www.iampleasant.com/2011/12/futur e-of-nasa/
Questions to discuss Discuss the ownership of space Basic terms Include both national interests and private interests Be specific about land ownership, resources, etc. Weapons, pollution? Is this similar to structures in place in the world today? How to manage and police it? In the hit movie Contact, there was an esteemed international panel which was to select the "right" person to travel in the machine to Vega. In the Contact model, a belief in God was the key for making the voyage to space. Is this prerequisite a realistic approach to the problem?
State the differences between human space exploration and robotic explorations