Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Spudis' periscopes up into Reality

Among the Truly Great Lunar Pioneers, Paul Spudis checks in at his Smithsonian blog "The Once and Future Moon," asking "Outposts or Sorties?"

Recently, the acting Administrator of NASA testified before Congress on his agency’s implementation of our National Space Policy, previously known as the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE). In the question and answer period, he made a rather startling statement to the effect NASA was still trying to understand what “lunar return” means - that an outpost would be “expensive” and that lunar return might instead entail a series of smaller scale sortie missions, similar to the later Apollo expeditions of the early 1970’s. He added that people should remember that the “original purpose” of the VSE was to prepare to go to Mars and other destinations.

I found this exchange fascinating because it suggests that NASA, as an executing entity, still doesn’t fully understand the nature of their mission to the Moon and to the extent that it is understood, they have transformed it into something very different from what the VSE actually said and what was intended.

To begin with, what did the Vision actually say about lunar return? The Vision consisted of both documents and speeches (all linked on this page) that included the following points:

Read the Article HERE.

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