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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: 3, Interesting) by DannyB on Thursday May 10 2018, @03:56PM (1 child)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 10 2018, @03:56PM (#677943) Journal

    it is indicative of a significant, deep-seated failure of US science administration to think and act strategically.

    Every four to eight years we have major upheavals in policy. Sometimes going opposite directions.

    How to make progress on your journey: Go north for a while. Now go south for a while. Now go north for a while. etc . . . repeat until you get somewhere!

    It's a shame because this sort of technology development rewards a long-term approach.

    We don't need no steenkin' long-term approach! This is the US darnit! We want the rich people rewarded in the short term. Screw the long term consequences! We will do anything to increase this quarter's profits, and thus bonuses -- even if we destroy the company business in the process! There is always the golden parachute. And investors not only don't mind this approach, they help create the environment and participate in it!

    The most difficult part of the art of fencing is digging the holes and carrying the fence posts.
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10 2018, @11:35PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10 2018, @11:35PM (#678179)

    I know you're being sarcastic, but it seems to work. Maybe not as well as you like.