NASA has named the three finalists for a future New Frontiers mission, with competing teams eyeing an asteroid, the Moon and Venus as possible destinations. The agency describes its New Frontiers programme as "frequent, medium-class spacecraft missions that will conduct high-quality, focused scientific investigations designed to …
What we need are proper missions to Uranus and Neptune!
Let's make space interesting again!
Looking forward to 2015 though! Multiple missions to dwarf planets! It's a shame new horizons won't be hanging about Pluto. The Dawn mission sounds loads more interesting!
Here's a thought
Why not move the International Space Station to Mars orbit? From there real humans could remotely control robots on the surface, without the annoying 3 to 19 minute transmission delay.
It has the advantage of real time response, without the risks/cost of placing people on the surface.
It could be packed with supplies, and sent there courtesy of thrust provided by ion engines.
Much safer than landing people on the surface, and less costly/larger payloads, due to reduced fuel requirements.
Great idea, I can see it now.
"Good news. We have a Space Station in Mars orbit. All we need to do is go up to the station in Earth orbit to assemble the Interplanetary ship to go there and...........oh..........bugger....."
Sample return is quite difficult
I hope this might lead to work form Livermore labs on their high efficiency positive displacement pump technology.
Returning two pounds of pulverised rock from the Moon or an asteroid is a surefire way of infecting the Earth with Asteriod Plague or Moon Meningitis. Did none of these so-called "scientists" watch "The Quatermas Experiment" or "The Andromeda Strain"? The massive danger posed by thoughtless space-specimen gathering is well documented in the film world, yet time and again self-described "scientists" ignore the evidence and blaze a path to extinction for us all in their fevered pursuit of a Nobel Prize for Extreme Cleverness.
Mark my words, these four pounds of extra-terrestial dirt spell the end of all life on planet Earth unless action is taken to prevent these ill-conceived "missions".
Stop the madness!
Good idea !
Let's send someone much farther than we have ever been before without being sure we can still get to the moon.
I suppose you're volunteering ?
None of the above
All this money being spent on basic research makes for interesting educational television programming but when are we going to put a colony on another planet? That's when space will get interesting again. The potential benefits include humans surviving an Earth strike by a huge asteroid and WARS WITH REAL MARTIANS!!! We have to put people on Mars so that we can have wars with them. That's what people do best so let's do it in the solar system.
Didn't NASA do (or not do, depending on your tin foil hat beliefs) this back in 1969?
I remember, it was on the (B&W) telly !
What the hell does that even mean?
Yes NASA returned lunar samples back in '69 - '72 but they are from only 6 locations across 1 hemisphere of the moon. The moon - like earth - is very different in different regions and we have literally only begun to scratch the surface.
"here's a throught
Why not move the International Space Station to Mars orbit? From there real humans could remotely control robots on the surface, without the annoying 3 to 19 minute transmission delay."
A thought totally unconstrained by practicallity or any background knowledge.
ISS weighs about 3/4 of a million ib, making it about the largest object in LEO. The transfer out of LEO to Mars and the slow at mars to put it into a permanent orbit will probably take a few 1000 ms which just leaves on going life support (perhaps you heard about the problems they have just recycling the pee) and crew transfer issues.
but you're right, it *would* cut the round trip delay time for remote operated vehicles.