NASA chief wants to send humans to the Moon — ‘to stay’

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Jim Bridenstine wants to make sure that there is never another day when humans are not in space.

“In fact,” the NASA administrator said, “we want lots of humans in space.”

Bridenstine said the key to opening up the moon — and going to Mars — is building “Gateways” — small, space-station-like platforms that serve as lunar orbit outposts or transports for points outward.

The Gateway is going to be in a near-rectilinear halo orbit. It is not optimum for getting to the surface of the moon, but it enables with a very low propulsion capability — we’re talking about solar electric propulsion — it enables us to stay in that orbit for a very, very long period of time,” Bridenstine said. “And it enables us, the United States of America, to invest in critical infrastructure from whence our commercial partners can go back and forth from Earth to lunar orbit, from which our commercial partners can build their own landers to get to the surface of the moon.

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“The first Gateway is about the moon, but I think the second Gateway, being a deep-space transport, again using commercial and international partners, enables us to get to Mars,” Bridenstine said. “What we don’t want to do is go to the surface of the moon, prove that we can do it again, and then be done.

“We want to go to stay. And the Gateway, in my view — I’ve been convinced — enables us to take advantage of commercial and international partners in a more robust way so we are there to stay, it enables us to get to more parts of the moon than ever before, and it enables us to get to Mars,” he said. “There is no other architecture that I have been presented with, given the current budgets that we have, that enable all of that.” – READ MORE

Despite what so many people would love to believe, NASA hasn’t discovered any evidence of past or present intelligent life on Mars. So, when the Curiosity rover stumbled upon what appeared to be a very suspicious chunk of something on the Red Planet’s surface, they were not only surprised but also a little bit worried.

The thin fragment was suspicious enough to warrant its own name, with NASA’s Curiosity rover team calling it the “Pettegrove Point Foreign Object Debris,” named for the location where it was discovered. With no idea what it was or where it came from, the rover’s handlers began to worry that it might actually be a chunk of the rover itself, suggesting some unseen damage or other issue with the robot. Thankfully, those concerns seem to have been unfounded.

In a new update from NASA the object has now been identified as a natural chunk of rock rather than a piece of any manmade craft or vehicle. The team analyzed the bizarre object with a tool called the ChemCam RMI. The instrument uses a laser to sniff out the makeup of anything it’s pointed at, and the results for this particular piece of debris revealed that it’s actually just a very thin piece of rock. – READ MORE

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