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posted by martyb on Thursday May 10 2018, @09:52AM   Printer-friendly
from the dept.

NASA chief on Moon return: "This will not be Lucy and the football again"

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush announced the Space Exploration Initiative, a long-range commitment toward the human exploration of deep space, beginning with a return to the Moon. "Major parts of that policy went forward, but establishing permanence on the Moon was abandoned," Bridenstine said Tuesday. Then, in 2004, President George W. Bush announced a bold plan to send humans back to the Moon, where they would learn how to operate in deep space and then go on to Mars. This became the Constellation program. Again, major parts of that policy went forward, Bridenstine said. But NASA abandoned the drive back to the Moon.

Before the US Senate confirmed pilot and former congressman Bridenstine, the Trump administration announced a plan to send humans back to the Moon. "To many, this may sound similar to our previous attempts to get to the Moon," Bridenstine said Tuesday. "However, times have changed. This will not be Lucy and the football again."

How have times changed? During his brief address, Bridenstine listed several technologies that he believes have lowered the cost of a lunar return. These include the miniaturization of electronics that will allow for smaller robotic vehicles, the decreasing costs of launch, private investment in spaceflight, commercial interest in lunar resources, and new ways of government contracting. (Bridenstine did not mention the Space Launch System rocket or the Orion spacecraft).

The speech was only a few minutes long, so I wouldn't read too much into the absence of SLS/Orion. But it's no secret that BFR could deliver 150 metric tons to the Moon or Mars by using in-orbit refueling, vs. a lot less when using the expensive SLS.



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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Gaaark on Thursday May 10 2018, @01:30PM

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 10 2018, @01:30PM (#677835) Journal

    You also do things that benefit all kinds of ideas, not just one particular plan.

    I see returning to the moon as just that: a base on the moon, capable of building rockets/ISS/3D printers/etc, is ideal for future endeavours.
    --let's you work out problems with living on 'foreign soil', while still being relatively near to rescue if there is failure
    --low gravity: more fuel can be used for landing and returning, instead of just 'getting out of Earth gravity and atmosphere' (as well as less need to just dump crap (crap: small to large pieces of rocket/capsule-shredding metal) in orbit)
    --build an ISS around moon orbit: less orbiting junk around the already over-populated Earth orbit

    I say Moon, then Mars.
    Most logical, Captain.

    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
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