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 (sort of) debate between Paul Spudis and John Grunsfeld. I think that Grunsfeld is far too pessimistic about the moon, but I also think that this debate is irrelevant. Our future in space will be determined by billionaires, not Congress or NASA.
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.
Some thoughts on Enceladus, from Carolyn Porco.
I’m at a workshop on how to look for it at UC Irvine, so posting will be light today.
A privately funded search?
I think this is the future of space science.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has seen the impact site. Burn was ten times too short, fell from 2-4 kilometers, almost-full tanks probably exploded on “landing.”
But they think it was a software error, which is good news.
The orbiter is in orbit around Mars, but things aren’t looking good for the lander. Loss of signal a few hundred meters above the surface.
Bob Zimmerman: Did Opportunity see Schiapperalli?
…is undergoing a rethinking.
A lot of what NASA is doing is going to undergo a rethinking in the next few years, I think.