Monday, October 26, 2009

HSF Committee Final Report Part 2

WOW, is this a dry read. Want to fall asleep? No need for medication. Just print this, drop the lights as low as possible to read comfortably, and give it 10 minutes. I'm sure you'll be out before then. :)

Of course, this was never written to be an award winning literary work. It boils down to this, and this is my take on the thing...

1. "The Committee concluded that the ultimate goal of human exploration is to chart a path for human expansion into the solar system." Kind of a no-duh statement, but worthy of mentioning and supporting. Hanging out in LEO does NOT further the human influence into space.

2. Yes, NASA needs more money, a LOT more! I'd love 50 billion a year for space considering how much money we blow on floundering other federal programs.

3. Amen, the word commercial was used a LOT in the document. Hand LEO off to Commercial business and have NASA focus beyond. Like I've always said, NASA is Lewis and Clark, NOT the settlers.

4. In looking at goals vs. destinations, an idea I like, when you start listing the goals of what we need to learn and do in order to perfect our ability to expand into space, I personally cannot fathom why we'd not use the Moon, build a base there for a whole host of reasons and profit motives, and also play around asteroids. Everything we learn there will apply to eventual Mars habitation and settlement but at a much lower risk and cost. You use the Moon for the purpose of going to Mars, not just to stop at the Moon.

5. I really think the "Flexible path" will be Moon dominated, darn near to being a Moon first path.

6. I still don't like Ares. That's not going to change. The shuttle is going out the door. We're probably going to rely on the Russians for a taxi service, and I would not be surprised if they raise the cost per astronaut after the shuttle is definitely gone.

7. Expanding into space requires nations, not a nation. Yes, I'm a RAH RAH Red White and Blue American for certain, but I'm also realistic about the challenge of the task. If you are not racing to beat someone to a target (US vs. USSR), then you are working with others to get to the target and spread the load. At some point national pride must be balanced by reality. Should the USA lead the way? Hell yes. We're still the strongest global space nation, but international partners are imperative, and when I say partners, I mean true partners in every sense of the word, including financial investment.

I guess in a nutshell, I want my Millennium Falcon, and I want it 10 minutes ago. I will do whatever I have to in order to realize the dream of affording every single person who wants to go to space to have that option. Nothing will be better for humanity than having person after person see this glorious planet from afar. Only then will we truly respect our place in the universe.


Norman Copeland said...

My response as an interested scientist with funding would be...

1. I would really like to spend some time in low earth orbit {LEO} doing science tests that I think would be really interesting for the public to consider.

2. 50 billion pounds is a lot of money for anyone to supply each year, It would really be sensible to say that countries supplying this sort of money would be stimulated for reasons that were not economical to invest such large sums. [See conspiracy theorists]

3. 50 billion pounds is not commercial money. [Yet].

4. I've said before, if we jump another technology era we perhaps were waiting for confirmation of a habital planet with similiar Earth conditions. Douglas would you announce that.

5. I think flexible is a magnetic engine propulsion mechanism creating enertia.

6. Rockets and shuttles will be needed, particularly if we employ the conspiracy theory.

7. Some men create nations.

[when you said you wanted a millenium falcon I estimated that it was approximate 15 minutes before posting. I send greeting's to the planet.

Douglas Mallette said...

Norman, you crack me up. lol.