Friday, August 7, 2009

Moon option 'downplayed'

Mark K. Matthews and Robert Block
Orlando Sentinel

WASHINGTON - The presidential panel looking at NASA's human space program spent Wednesday narrowing nearly 900 exploration options into seven scenarios that will be refined for presentation to President Barack Obama later this month.

They range from budget-busting plans to fly straight to Mars to more-affordable plans to just orbit the moon and nearby asteroids. Some would extend the life of the space shuttle, now due for retirement in 2010, and the international space station, now slated to close in 2015.

There was no mention in any options of returning astronauts to the moon by 2020, which is NASA's current goal.

"The ones that are on that list of seven really do represent the possible options that the nation has," said Ed Crawley, an MIT engineer and one of 10 panel members. "What we tried to do is boil it down to (those options) ... that capture the spirit of how we would go forward and explore."

Read the remainder HERE.


Anonymous said...

This committee report looks like it will be a disaster. Some of the options don't make any obvious sense - orbiting the Moon?? I think the report will probably result in a firestorm of protests because most of the options being studied do not advance our abilities and knowledge.

Chuck Wood

Joel Raupe said...

Chuck, we're of course very honored for your visit. Though we don't add much to the discussion at LPOD, we're daily visitors.

I think you're dead on about the Augustine Committee, and the Lunar Orbit "option" really is ridiculous. LRO shows great promise, based on the uncalibrated LROC data. We've also posted Paul Spudis and Jack Schmitt's public comments on the blog this afternoon. Perhaps the HSF Review was destined to be a disaster, as they seem hardly willing to recommend standing pat with the VSE, and call their whole proceedings into ridicule. And we're already preparing to make as much noise as we're big enough to do if our Unfinished Business on the Moon isn't given the attention it deserves.

Again, our highest respect, greetings, and thanks, especially for LPOD!

Joel Raupe