Category Archives: Space Science

To The Moon, Alice!

OK, actually, it’s to the moon, NASA. Bob Zimmerman has some thoughts.

In my opinion, this is a completely unrealistic goal, absent a) considering alternatives to SLS and b) being willing to risk astronauts’ lives. A seventy-ton SLS isn’t going to do that job, and that’s all they’re going to have (at best) by 2020. And putting up sending astronauts to the moon (even just around, and it’s not clear what the value of that is) on its first, or even second flight would be much sportier than Apollo 8 was, back when it was actually important.

FWIW, I also think that the reporter should have talked to someone besides Casey Dreier, The Planetary Society is hardly an unbiased source about human spaceflight.

A Useful Experiment

I’ve been watching this Kickstarter project. I was talking to Jon Morse a couple weeks ago, and he didn’t expect it to succeed. He was right; it only raised a third of the million dollars it sought. But it’s a useful market test for private space exploration. Maybe if they shoot for half that. I do think we’re entering a new era of what I call “normal science,” before the Manhattan Project, the Cold War, and Apollo screwed everything up, and things like the big telescopes (the first high-tech astronomy programs) were funded philanthropically.