Poll

Should NASA ditch asteroids and Mars to help lead the strong international interest for Lunar missions?

Stay with the current Mars plan
18 (17.5%)
Go to Mars but on a new plan
17 (16.5%)
Go to the Moon solo
21 (20.4%)
Join in an international Moon quest
47 (45.6%)

Total Members Voted: 103

Voting closed: 02/12/2016 08:01 PM


Author Topic: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?  (Read 54160 times)

Online redliox

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Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« on: 11/04/2015 08:01 PM »
There's bound to be some inevitable shakeups once a new US president takes office, and likely with it a new NASA administration and directive.  In addition, especially from the international conference recently held in Israel, the other nations of the world almost unanimously agree the Moon is a sensible, prime target with only NASA holding out.  There's a chance the combination may coax NASA onto a Lunar path.

Which option seems the most likely for NASA to adopt post-2016 onward?
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Offline eric z

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #1 on: 11/04/2015 08:56 PM »
 ALL of the above but #one!

Offline Burninate

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #2 on: 11/04/2015 08:58 PM »
I would venture that a high proportion of people reading the _Missions to the Moon_ section think we should mount missions to the Moon.

That doesn't say much.

Offline NovaSilisko

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #3 on: 11/04/2015 09:07 PM »
Depends if we can drop the silly "been there done that" mentality...

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #4 on: 11/04/2015 09:23 PM »
Can't agree with the choices given.

     I think we should go back to the Moon and use it as a testing ground for the equipment that we'll need on Mars.  After properly working out the issues from that same equipment, then go on to Mars.
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Online Coastal Ron

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #5 on: 11/04/2015 09:37 PM »
I think we should go back to the Moon and use it as a testing ground for the equipment that we'll need on Mars.

The challenge though is that the environment "on the Moon" is significantly different than the environment "on Mars".

Quote
After properly working out the issues from that same equipment, then go on to Mars.

Certainly there would be some commonality, but that would likely also be common with 0-G environments.

I chose "Go to Mars but on a new plan", which to me could be an international one, and certainly one that has private partnerships - and the current NASA plan for Mars has neither.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #6 on: 11/04/2015 09:39 PM »
Can't agree with the choices given.

     I think we should go back to the Moon and use it as a testing ground for the equipment that we'll need on Mars.  After properly working out the issues from that same equipment, then go on to Mars.

The problem with that idea, is that the stuff you need to go to the Moon is nearly all different from the stuff you need to go to Mars.

The environments are very different. Radiation exposure levels and gravity are different. Methods required for landing on the surface are very different. Heating / cooling loads, and how you get rid heat or stay warm are different. Available materials for ISRU are different. and so on.
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Offline savuporo

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #7 on: 11/04/2015 09:42 PM »
The problem with that idea, is that the stuff you need to go to the Moon is nearly all different from the stuff you need to go to Mars.
Actually the stuff you need to go to Mars is exactly the same stuff you need to go to the Moon. Competent people, well funded organizations, healthy industrial base. Oh, and leadership. Heaps and buckets of it.
« Last Edit: 11/04/2015 09:42 PM by savuporo »
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #8 on: 11/04/2015 09:48 PM »
The problem with that idea, is that the stuff you need to go to the Moon is nearly all different from the stuff you need to go to Mars.
Actually the stuff you need to go to Mars is exactly the same stuff you need to go to the Moon. Competent people, well funded organizations, healthy industrial base. Oh, and leadership. Heaps and buckets of it.

I did say "nearly all" lol

The people are the same, or can be the same, as you say. But the technology required to get to and survive at either destination is going to be different.
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline nadreck

Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #9 on: 11/04/2015 10:19 PM »
I don't think the choices cover the range of answers I might give to this.

I don't want to think just NASA, I don't want to think just the moon or just Mars or just asteroids or just orbital stations. However, I do think of lunar resources and exploration, I do think of a rotating space station in LEO as well as a fuel depot/assembly point for BLEO missions, an EM-L2 station/depot/assembly point, human Mars exploration and resource exploitation, and I think of asteroid exploration and exploitation.  I think of all them evolving roughly at the same time and sharing some resources and needing some specific new ones of their own.

This means different groups/alliances with specific goals, including some commercial activity, but not limited to it by any means.

Further out I see the sorts of activities in the asteroids expanding out to the Jovian Trojans and potentially some HSF to some of the larger moons of the gas giants. That probably doesn't start for another 40 - 50 years. By 100 years out people should be in the Kuiper Belt doing something that they see as useful.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline the_other_Doug

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #10 on: 11/05/2015 12:02 AM »
I agree with those who say the options don't cover what I would like to see, or even what I think is likely to happen.  And so, I didn't vote.

I think that the U.S. should continue developing Orion and SLS to support BLEO missions.  And I think they should come up with a plan, that Congress will fund, for developing the spacecraft (in addition to Orion) that will be needed to mount a Mars expedition.

But that said, I don't think this precludes using Orion and development models of deep space habs and such as the U.S. contribution to international lunar exploration programs.  You could, for example, begin to develop the cis-lunar infrastructure called for by NASA's latest Mars DRM and offer it for use to an international lunar exploration program.  Its use supporting lunar exploration would prove out systems and procedures that will be used when the Mars expedition stack is eventually assembled there.

So, if you had an option saying "Continue with something very like the current NASA Mars DRM, but allow international lunar programs to use the developing infrastructure," I would vote for that one...  :)
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Offline gbaikie

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #11 on: 11/05/2015 12:33 AM »
I voted for go to the Moon solo.
But we don't have a plan with Obama, or we had a plan and Obama is ignoring it, so go with the only plan we got would be another thing could have voted for.
 In terms of going to the Moon, the program should completed within 10 years of starting the lunar exploration program and should cost less than 40 billion dollar in total.
Part of lunar program should be getting an operational depot in LEO.
Also need a plan for this lunar program.
What the plan should NOT include is building a lunar base or NASA mining lunar water, rather the program would be focused on finding minable water on the Moon.
And should be largely a robotic program [which uses depot in LEO]. And near the end of the less than 10 year program, crew should send to finalize the exploration for minable water on the Moon, and after sending crew to the Moon,  NASA should start it's Manned Mars program- which will use a lot robotic exploration of Mars. so the lunar robotic part of lunar program will shift to Mars robotic exploration as will the lunar manned exploration.
And what is needed for Mars exploration is bases on Mars. And the focus of Mars exploration, is exploration related to potential human settlements on Mars. So finding water and other resources which are needed for human settlements.
Real estate on Mars will be like real estate on Earth, in that it's all about the location and a location with a abundant supply of water would be an important aspect of a location on Mars. And such things a habitable underground caves also would be important. And there are other things which could be discovered which could related to resources needed for Mars settlements.
« Last Edit: 11/05/2015 12:35 AM by gbaikie »

Offline Oli

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #12 on: 11/05/2015 12:56 AM »
I voted "Join in an international Moon quest", however it should really be called "Lead in an international Moon quest", because that's what NASA would do.

The reason for my choice: When NASA goes to Mars, there's almost certainly no money left for LEO/Moon. I think NASA must make sure the commercial sector (tourism mainly, IMO) can take over before giving up on old destinations.
« Last Edit: 11/05/2015 01:00 AM by Oli »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #13 on: 11/05/2015 03:12 AM »
Commercial to the Moon. Main focus for NASA can remain Mars.
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Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #14 on: 11/05/2015 05:37 AM »
Depends if we can drop the silly "been there done that" mentality...

We have been to the Moon's equator but not to the lunar poles. We have found places there that have not seen sunlight in billions of years. We have not done a close up investigation of these very unusual places.

Offline NovaSilisko

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #15 on: 11/05/2015 05:53 AM »
Depends if we can drop the silly "been there done that" mentality...

We have been to the Moon's equator but not to the lunar poles. We have found places there that have not seen sunlight in billions of years. We have not done a close up investigation of these very unusual places.

Indeed. There's so much to explore; more than we can even hope to explore in several generations. Yet there seems to be this narrative of exploration ADD that turns up annoyingly often: "oh, we've already been to the moon, we've done that before, let's go do something else in a different, new place..."

Offline savuporo

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #16 on: 11/05/2015 05:53 AM »
Depends if we can drop the silly "been there done that" mentality...

We have been to the Moon's equator but not to the lunar poles. We have found places there that have not seen sunlight in billions of years. We have not done a close up investigation of these very unusual places.
Neither have been inside the lunar lava tubes nor dug up impacted asteroids. Oh, or landed on the far side.
« Last Edit: 11/05/2015 05:54 AM by savuporo »
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Offline RocketmanUS

Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #17 on: 11/05/2015 06:23 AM »
Voted : Go to Mars but on a new plan

Let commercial head back to the moon this time.

NASA to send exploration crews to Mars. But with each element that can be launch on commercial launchers ( example Falcan heavy or Vulcan , expected to exist soon ) however could also be launch on a HLV ( prefered to be commercial ).
Mars and beyond, human exploration
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Offline Spaniard

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #18 on: 11/05/2015 06:25 AM »
Moon or Mars, the effort will be so huge that international effort is a must.

The outpost will be a exploration and science base, but it will be a first experience as a extraterrestrial colony. IRSU and massive reuse should be one of the most importants points of the outpost. No more expendable and short term infrastructure like ISS, but a location designed from the start to only grow.
And, although of course the infrastructure gets older and it will need replacement sooner or later, all the material should be reused or recycled to allow the base to only grow at a fixed cost per time for the humankind. That's impossible for a space station like ISS.

This kind of bases is the way to break, in medium term, the barrier of space, because a lot of mass for the human living support will be made with local matter or at least from outside our deep gravity well and atmosphere. Rail launchers, tethers, (mostly non-earth) space elevators, solar and mag sails and ion tugs should be the key of a fleet of spaceships that move resources around our solar system and allow us to build our consumables, fuel and bulk parts of our spaceships directly out there.

It will take a lot of time, but we need to start, and it is a so big effort that join forces of all space faring nations is the right way. Fortunately, a base don't require so hard integration as a "lego" space station like ISS and the coordination and participation should be simpler.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Should NASA refocus on returning to the Moon?
« Reply #19 on: 11/05/2015 06:53 AM »
I would have liked to go with Obama's original plan, get out of the space trucking business and spend money on tech development, depots, three commercial crew vehicles, a robotic lunar lander including ISRU packages and so on.

Of the provided options, and assuming SLS and Orion are not optional, I voted "Stay with the current Mars plan" which I expect will also be equivalent to "Join in an international Moon quest". Either way we are not getting funding for a HSF moon base let alone a mars lander in the forseeable future.

..so.. what we are headed for is some sort of base in high lunar orbit which will be both good preparation for a Phobos mission and interacting with asteroid material via ARM and DSH experience, and also a focus for an international moon exploration goal as described by ESA, starting with teleoperating robotic lunar missions.
« Last Edit: 11/05/2015 10:22 AM by KelvinZero »

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