back to article Obama win may mean NASA 'nauts to Deep Space as soon as 2021

NASA could be getting ready to set up a manned space outpost now that President Barack Obama is back in the White House. A space policy expert told Space.com that the agency has been thinking about sending astronauts to the far side of the Moon so it can establish a human presence in deep space and so to help with a planned …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Anonymous Coward

Nice thought but unlikely

Politics will get in the way. Obama can promise whatever he likes, mark funds to be available to the project for the next x number of years but if the next president, or the one after decides to they will just withdraw the money and cancel the project regardless of how advanced it is or how much has already been spent on it.

5
0
JDX
Gold badge

Re: Nice thought but unlikely

On that basis no large project would ever happen.

1
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: JDX

Happens all the time with governments. I refer you to the Superconducting Super Collider in Texas

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconducting_Super_Collider

Cancelled after $2bn spent on it as just 1 example, there are many more

5
0

Re: JDX

SSC was canceled for good reason. It's costs ballooned almost 300% (from 4.4 billion to 12). There were also estimates that will cost as much as 20 billion. Such poorly managed projects deserved to be canceled, as much as people recoil at the amount of money sunk.

4
1

Re: Nice thought but unlikely

Politics has already gotten in the way.

The original concept for L2 was an unmanned fuel dump which could have resources gently boosted out to it and used for all sorts of things (deep space probes & serious lunar work mostly).

But lo and behold...all of a sudden its a manned base so we've suddenly got a reason to throw a few more billion towards the unworkable SLS and capsule system that will make big aerospace happy.

I would have preferred the fuel dup and more Earth Orbit development, particularly though private industry, but NASA has got to have a reason to exist and a way to feed pork to the Space Consortium companies

1
0
Anonymous Coward

On Monday

Obama has got to balance the budget and bring the deficit down, so at a best estimate it will be around 2599 before they have the CAH to do it.

0
0
Pint

Re: JDX

Yeah, it would have only been about six times more powerful than the LHC. At just twice the cost. Taking up funds an order of magnitude below those the space station did.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm a British physicist and love to see Europe beating the States in our mutually motivating tit-for-tat race for cock waving rights. But when it comes down to it, science is poorer for losing the SSC. The LHC would not have been built, nor been necessary, if we had SSC, nor would we need any other hadron collider in the forseable centuries, barring nice new technologies of course.

To put the cash in context, chances are that Japan will host the next high energy (lepton) collider. Their far-sighted government have offered to pay 50% of the costs of an international project, knowing they'll reap loads of tech, smart manpower, prestige and inspiration. That 50% is about 5 billion (insert pounds/euros/dollars here). So only double what the US chucked down the drain for the SSC, and in today's money to boot.

However much I'd rather it were different, the yanks were the only ones who could have done it alone. And instead they pissed the cash down the drain and are the trailing in the high energy game, with little now but memories of the Tevatron. Oh, and of course observer status at CERN to get access to the LHC.

Beer, because after that rant...

1
2

Re: JDX

You're absolutely right (SSC would've been awesome and US science well-served), but those points really don't matter in this context. Whether it's military, science, or private sector - it's not OK for a taxypayer-funded project to undergo a 300% cost increase (in best case scenario). The fact that LHC also turned out to be much more expensive than anticipated, doesn't mean anything positive for the SSC. SSC was unlikely to stick to $12B budget anyway.

So, do I wish that US has built, SSC? YES!, even at the $20B cost, but only if it was close to one advertised on the sticker. Otherwise, it opens a Pandora Box of pet projects that go over budget. Hippies will demand solar fields at any cost, because well they're for a good cause. You can see how harmful this phenomenon is with F35 program.

2
0

Totally on topic and off topic at the same time, there is currently a (pretty good) anime called Space Brothers that is being made with tech support provided by Nasa (spelling... not so much) and actually features the Orion rocket and how it'll hook up with a 2nd system to take both systems to the Moon for a planned/future moon base. Also it has a dog.

1
1

Orion is not a rocket and makes for a terrible moon base. Speaking of which: the entire NASA plan is idiotic and is a waste of money.

Here is what we should do:

1. Remotely (with orbiting craft) explore moon's surface for presence of water and minerals. (partially done).

2. Launch robotic exploration rovers (Curiosity on steroids) for detailed lunological survey. Produce them serially for lower per unit cost.

3. Construct pilot ISRU and automatic construction unmanned bases. Test processes and designs for optimal performance. Learn from mistakes.

4. Construct second generation ISRU and automatic construction bases that will accept a human crew.

5. Launch a shuttle with will be constantly circulating between LEO and moon orbit, transferring crew back and forth. Use chemical rocket for initial propulsion and hydrogen cell powered VASIMR for orbit maintenance.

6. After a few test orbits, use it to send the first crew to the moon base. Their role should be to construct (with automated help) future facilities that will supply water, hydrogen, and oxygen to feed further space exploration and supply fuel to LEO and GEO. As well as preparing quarters for future extended crews.

Just reaching stage 3 will be 5x more expensive than NASA current plans and a human won't step on the moon until well into 2030s. However, once we get there, we'll stay for good. Alternatively, we can conduct junior high school science fair experiments on ISS and then go to the moon to plant a few flags and play golf.

1
0

I know Orion isn't a rocket, from memory (they just launched into space in the Anime), a large stage 1 thingy is launched a few days before Orion, Orion is then launched with the typical rocket bits falling away as it goes WHEEEEEEEE into space. Orion then docks with the large stage 1 that is already in space (not sure what it contains, fuel and rockets maybe?) and then heads towards the moon.

No idea if Orion is a landing craft, if it is it can disengage from the large part (which then orbits the moon) and then lands on the moon, when it wants to return to Earth it can latch back onto the large machine, gets to Earth, disengage and safely land back on Earth with the large one either burning up or landing somewhere else if it's reusable.

0
1
Silver badge

@solidsoup Re: your exploration plan

I expect that by the time we get to step 4 we'll have a whole new plan because of what we learn in 1 through 3 plus advances in tech that happen while doing them. But I like it better than most of what we've done in the past.

1
0
Trollface

I hop eit works out.

I would much rather see him give the money to NASA than use it to fund some pointless war, against some tiny little sand trap, that could have just as easily be solved with a couple of tonnes of ANFO and an air drop.

3
3

ANFO - ODFO

I'm all for not fighting wars and using the money for better things but why not skip the death and destruction altogether ?

3
1
Silver badge
Unhappy

I'm all for SPACE ---

But is this really the moment? Has anyone looked at the debt numbers? Does everything really believe that things get better by printing money? How about cutting back the military first? Yes, there is talk about "draconic cuts in defence" by Obama. Turns out he actually means to increase spending by just 10% over the next decade instead of 20%. Which is nice....

Oh well, Israel is sure to start a little war, with the Prez then feeling obliged to pile in. This will occupy us for the next few years.

2
8
Silver badge

Re: I'm all for SPACE ---

in space noone can hear you talking about debt numbers

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm all for SPACE ---

Think of it as a massive infrastructure project, a lot of people get confused by spending on these kinds of things, large sums of money go directly into employing people (and normal people at that, plumbers, construction workers, etc as well as high tech types.) It also provides new technologies that can be directly exploited. Then there are even more feed in jobs and businesses that don't appear on the balance sheet at the end of the day (the guy selling sandwiches to construction workers, the coffee shop and pubs near construction sites, car manufacturers selling cars to newly employed individuals, property developers selling houses... etc etc etc.)

Then there's a boost in national prestige and, national imagination.

Many of these things are true of a number of large scale projects, but sadly these effects are normally ignored by most people.

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm all for SPACE ---

I don't think that space is a big focus given the relation to other allocations in the federal budget. The debt is definitely something to be concerned with, but being consumed in talk of debt is absolutely ridiculous. It's important to have plans for the future and to dream big, if you're so busy dealing with the mundane and ordinary that it is all you do, eventually that defines you as a people. As to the cuts being made, drastic changes almost always lead to more harm than benefit. You want gradual change that does not crash interconnected industries.

0
0
Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: I'm all for SPACE ---

" Yes, there is talk about "draconic cuts in defence" by Obama. Turns out he actually means to increase spending by just 10% over the next decade instead of 20%. Which is nice...."

You're quite right US military spending *dwarfs* NASA . The $40Bn DoD on aircon for overseas bases kind of sets the scale for the kind of money we're talking about. Hence my comment about change down the bak of a sofa.

We don't live in an ideal world. I did not say NASA's funding level is right or its goals are right but they are what they are. Hopefully the US will exit Afghanistan and Israel will not invade anyone. Short term the Obama administration needs to find ways to deal with the Republican majority. They don't have to like them but they do have to work with them.

The long term problem in the US seems to be that a system that worked fine when "The people" were represented by uniformly wealthy white Christian males and party allegiance actually *meant* something.

Neither appears to be the case today and (to an outsider) work *only* seems to get done when through an *endless* series of back room horse trades.

0
0
Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: I'm all for SPACE ---

" It's important to have plans for the future and to dream big,"

In reality the only thing NASA has going for it is a BFR. It *may* repeat what Apollo 8 achieved in 4 years.

The key issue with human space flight the NASA way (NASA designed, owned and operated single launches) *remains* what it was when the 2nd Augustine Commission reported.

To run missions on anything like a reasonably regular schedule the HSF budget needs to rise about 50%, which is *ridiculous*.

The current scheme is essentially the brain child of a bunch of senators who asked the main con-tractors in their states what architecture ensure the most number of jobs *regardless* of weather it will *ever* launch.

0
0
Joke

Well, it worked for General Motors, AIG, Lehman Brothers, and Fannie Mae, why wouldn't it work for NASA?

3
0

Obama nixed moon and mars plans that Bush put in to place during his first term.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8489097.stm

Now a "space policy expert" sees Obama as NASA's messiah for doing what Bush was already planning on doing. I think Obama is looking for a "legacy" during his second term.

4
1
Bronze badge

if that only wre true

a legacy that actually makes a difference, as opposed to direct wealth transfer to health *insurance* lobbyists? I'd support that!

but I fear that if they can't attach huge entitlements rider (more of "the dole" for you across the pond) it won't be more than lip service to get positive obsequious press coverage and nothing else.

need a "tentatively hopeful" icon

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Bush wanted to build a moon base even though there's not a lot of interest on the moon. Justified by some nebulous idea of having this as a 'starting point' for further exploration. Obama wants projects that will prepare us for deep space exploration by sending Orion past the moon. I'm failing to see how these are the same.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Does anybody really believe NASA will have the money to piss away 2021? In 4 years it's projected the US will be paying a trillion $ in interest on its debt. Who knows what the debt will be in 2021. I have yet to hear any truth or common sense come Obama's mouth or anybody else in Washington for that matter.

5
0
Coat

No problem!

Xerox/Brother/HP etc etc will have a faster printer out by then!

1
0
Silver badge
Flame

Re: Who knows what the debt will be in 2021.

I do! I do!

There won't be any. Only not for good reasons. There won't be any because given the rate of debt increase and the outcome of the last election, by 2016 we're going to be wishing we had it as good as Greece does now. By the middle of 2017 the government will collapse including banking and all records for debts. By 2018 the race riots will be fully enflamed, and by 2021 we'll be back to hunting with clubs and bows and arrows.

0
0
Gold badge
Happy

Re: Who knows what the debt will be in 2021.

"There won't be any. Only not for good reasons. There won't be any because given the rate of debt increase and the outcome of the last election, by 2016 we're going to be wishing we had it as good as Greece does now. By the middle of 2017 the government will collapse including banking and all records for debts. By 2018 the race riots will be fully enflamed, and by 2021 we'll be back to hunting with clubs and bows and arrows."

Voted Romney then did we?

0
0

There was a race with the Russians to get to the moon first.

Now it's a "first to build a moon base" race against the Chinese.

All the mistakes that were made twice 'coz nobody wanted to give secrets to the other side... and it's going to happen all over again.

What did that Tim Burton movie say?

"Why can't we all just get along?"

0
2
Coat

.. a long what?

Couldnt resist

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Or the more likely scenario is...

...that all space endeavors will be canceled so that Obama can use the money to socialize America and give billions to his crony friends, as he has done the past four years.

2
3
JDX
Gold badge

Re: Or the more likely scenario is...

Damn those poor people wanting medical care.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Or the more likely scenario is...

Obam's idea of socialism has nothing to do with medical care. Obama is giving hundreds of millions to companies that go bankrupt a year or two later after the owners pocket the money. He also decided that those who refuse to work should be paid more and that baby machines were a good means to maintain unemployment and emulate over-population as in China.

3
3

Re: Anonymous Coward

I see you know how to "spEak You're bRanes"

1
1
Silver badge

Re: Damn those poor people

But it's not even going there, just lining the wallets of fat cats. Not all of the 47% are poor. In fact the most troubling ones can purchase elections.

0
0
Gold badge
Meh

Re: Or the more likely scenario is...

"...that all space endeavors will be canceled so that Obama can use the money to socialize America and give billions to his crony friends, as he has done the past four years."

So unlike the enormous Thank You* shrub gave to the top 10% of all earners in the US.

*As to the *other* 90% of US taxpayers his policy could be described as **** you (for not being rich enough).

0
0

I've been thinking that a good plan for ISS retirement would be to split it into two and use a chemical rocket booster on one half and let the solar panels on the other half run an ion engine to send it to an L point and then reassemble it there.

0
0
Mushroom

Far side of the moon.

Space Nazis!

1
0
Gold badge
Boffin

Just to re-cap the NASA budget is 0.5% of *all* US govt spending.

And is roughly 2/3s what Americans spend on home delivered pizza.

In govt spending terms its the small change down the back of the sofa.

It's just *not* that big.

3
1
Anonymous Coward

Forget about sending people

and it might just be possible to afford extensive exploration of our solar system using probes.

1
3
Silver badge

Re: Forget about sending people

People don't dream about following robots into space. They dream about following human explorers and settling new frontiers.

That said, it ain't happening. Too much debt, too much regulation, too much government, much too close to the collapse of civilization for comfort.

1
0
Bronze badge
Coat

I can't resist, but...

Home, home on LaGrange,

Where the space debris always collects,

We possess, so it seems, two of Man's greatest dreams:

Solar power and zero-gee sex.

3
1
Bronze badge

Space Nazis!

Yes just one of the dangers of space travel

But on a serious not before Nasa even gets off the ground with Moon or Mars travel it needs to get some miles under its belt on a NEW launch system of its own.It needs to stop relying on other country's or contractors and make something in house that works both for men and material ascent wise prior to even thinking anything in the descent arena.It also needs to retain experienced staff full time not relying on ongoing budget based contracts which means a large turn over of staff and loss of experience which means money spent relearning the same things over and over again.

0
1
Bronze badge

Going to Earth-Moon L2

Makes sense to use this spot for science missions - I'm thinking telescopes and other sensors you want to be permanently shielded from Earth. But why send men there? Unless they are really really fed up with being in contact with Earth. Perhaps they are fed up with American political discourse. Or those annoying phone calls about reclaiming your PPI. Or X-factor.

L1 is much more useful for humans because you remain in sight of Earth.

0
0
Silver badge

You really need to stop smoking that shit.

I don't even think it's legal in Holland.

Not a chance in hell The Liar in Chief was ever going to do anything more than dangle that in front of you and get you salivating.

0
1
Bronze badge
Facepalm

But why send men there?

Well it would be their first time on the moon wouldn't it?!

0
1

A lot will happen in Obama's second term.

A) Virgin Galactic flying regular sub-orbital flights.

B) Manned flights by SpaceX and probably others.

C) Falcon 9 Heavy in service, which could send a manned Dragon round the Moon.

SpaceX could send people beyond the Moon before 2021, and more cheaply.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Obama's win will mean...

...higher unemployment, increase national debt., more business and personal bankruptcies, more pain and suffering for the masses, just as the last four years has been.

0
1

Re: Obama's win will mean...

Which he inherited from Bush, Some Americans soon forget don't they!

Obama came into power at one of the worst times ever, When everything was screwed up, World economy in recession, Multiple warfronts, US economy stuffed etc etc.

He said from the very start of his first term not to expect any miracle as it will take a decade or two to get things back into the good books!

I don't see how arguing or changing from one person to another accomplishes anything as each just scraps the last persons plans, And nothing gets done at all.

With a second term there really is a chance you lot over there may accomplish something this time as those plans won't be scrapped and will be put into place, Wether they work is another matter but at least you will have a valid reason to vote for a change next time if they don't!

Would hate to think of where world would head if Romney had of won, Another witch hunt and dark ages to go through with his backwards/religous views

1
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Obama for President

Yea but on the positive side there will be less trouble with women's rights groups than if the other guy whatsysname had won

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums