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NASA to can lunar base for manned asteroid missions?

Posted on Tuesday, January 22 2008 @ 11:45:06 CET by

SpaceflightNow claims some of the most influential leaders in the space community are working on an alternative space exploration roadmap. One of the significant changes would be the cancellation of a base on the moon and move instead toward manned missions to asteroids. The plan also includes a renewed emphasis on Earth environmental spacecraft.
Abandoning the Bush lunar base concept in favor of manned asteroid landings could also lead to much earlier manned flights to Mars orbit, where astronauts could land on the moons Phobos or Deimos.

Their goals for a new array of missions also include sending astronauts to Lagrangian points, 1 million mi. from Earth, where the Earth's and Sun's gravity cancel each other out and spacecraft such as replacements for the Hubble Space Telescope could be parked and serviced much like Hubble.

The "alternate vision" the group plans to offer would urge far greater private-sector incentives to make ambitious human spaceflight plans a reality.

There would also be some different "winners and losers" compared with the Bush vision. If the lunar base is deleted, the Kennedy Space Center could lose additional personnel because there would be fewer Ares V launches and no lunar base infrastructure work that had been assigned to KSC. On the other hand, the Goddard Space Flight Center and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration near Washington, along with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, would gain with the increased space environmental-monitoring goal.
If the government gives the green light NASA could send the first manned spacecraft to an asteroid in 2025.



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