Social Media Sidebar


Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.


Thomas Edison

Official report pokes more holes in NASA's plan to get to mars

Posted in Science on 16th Jan, 2016 06:40 PM by AlexMuller

If NASA really wants to send humans to Mars in the 2030s, it needs to up its game. That's according to the latest report from the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel that advises NASA on safety issues. The report raises some serious safety concerns over the rocket and spacecraft that will send astronauts to Mars.


The report also says that NASA's overall plan to get to Mars is too vague.

Although [a recent NASA report] does identify a few specific technologies that will be needed to accomplish the overall mission, including Solar Electric Propulsion and a Deep Space Habitat, it lacks a top-level architecture and/or design reference mission. Without these elements, it will be difficult to properly scope and sequence the needed technology development efforts to ensure that they will be available at the appropriate time.
The lack of a clearly defined plan could put the "Journey to Mars" at risk.
When questioned about the lack of a specific mission plan, senior NASA leaders have replied that it is too early for such plans. They are reluctant to design vehicles or missions with today’s technologies, since it is hoped that improvements can be made in the next 20 years that would radically change how such systems could be built.
Part of the problem, as the report points out, is political uncertainty. NASA scientists spent years during the Bush administration planning the Constellation program, a plan to send humans back to the moon and then on to Mars, which mostly got scrapped.
However, by not spelling out a clearly defined plan for getting to Mars, the space agency could be putting the Journey to Mars program at risk.
The pannel believes that a well-designed mission, with anticipated rewards that are expected to outweigh the risks, would go a long way toward gaining the needed support from future administrations, the Congress, and the general public.
If not, then perhaps NASA should be working on a different mission, or at least using a different approach for the current mission.
We should also consider going back to the moon before Mars, according to the report. Everyone and their brother is taking aim at the moon these days, from the European Space Agency to Russia and private companies. Plus, says the report, it is “unclear how NASA will develop low-gravity surface experience and technology without lunar surface experience.”
It makes sense that we should learn to live on the moon before going all the way to the red planet. But it would also come at an added cost to the already cash-strapped space agency. And it will probably require an Administration change; President Obama's attitude toward human exploration of the moon is basically “been there, done that.”
Continuing the ISS past 2024 may delay the Journey to Mars. Finally, it looks like NASA may have to choose between maintaining the International Space Station and getting to Mars.
Not having to pay for ISS operations presumably would free up several billion dollars per year that could then be devoted to activities in cislunar space and beyond. However, some NASA managers (as well as industry partners) have spoken publicly about the benefits of continuing to operate the ISS until 2028, or even later.
While there may be benefits from such a plan, unless NASA were to be given a large increase in its appropriations, it is possible that continuing the ISS past 2024 may delay the Journey to Mars due to limited funding.
America's space agency has some tough choices ahead. NASA is often praised for doing so much on such a relatively small budget, but lately it seems the agency is spreading itself too thin. Sometimes, less is more.

Tags: MarsNASAspacemoonastronautspaceflight

Read original article » Back to category


Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-01-17
Sending people to colonise mars is a big ambition and will require a lot of research, testing and above all enormous funding- NASA has to make believable plans
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-01-17
Yes, I agree. If their claims are to be believed and people are to reach mars by 2030s, NASA "needs to up its game". Reply


Recent headlines

  • Posted in Science on 2018-06-17 23:45:17
    SpinLaunch raises $40M from Airbus, Google and others more
    Posted in Science on 2018-06-17 01:08:50
    New eyedrops could repair corneas, make glasses more
    Posted in Science on 2018-06-17 01:02:51
    121 giant exoplanets in habitable zones may more
    Posted in Science on 2018-06-16 00:25:58
    Mars Opportunity: Rover 'should ride out storm' more
    Posted in Software on 2018-06-16 00:15:52
    DeepMind AI can 'imagine' a world based on a more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    In five years quantum computing will be more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Google partners with Johnson and Johnson to make lower more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Electron holography microscope with spatial resolution down more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Lower cost advanced Nuclear power could dominate future US more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Why Hasn’t AI Mastered Language Translation? more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Remember me

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Verify password:
Remember me