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Old 11-30-2012, 01:31 PM   #571
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NASASpaceflight: NASA interest in 2024 Mars Sample Return Mission using SLS and Orion:
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The Mars Program Planning Group (MPPG) have added meat to the bones of a proposal that would result in the Space Launch System (SLS), Orion and a Mars spacecraft making up the key elements of a Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission. With large support already communicated to lawmakers, the notional mission aims to utilize a secondary payload opportunity as early as SLS-5 in 2024.

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Old 12-03-2012, 06:17 PM   #572
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Space Politics: Space policy challenges and strategies to be discussed this week
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:11 PM   #573
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SPACE.com: NASA's Deep-Space Station Idea Lacks White House Approval
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:27 PM   #574
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Space Politics: Space policy issues for the next four years
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:01 PM   #575
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SPACE.com: NASA Needs Stronger Direction to Lead In Space: Report
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:28 PM   #576
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NASAtelevision:




NASA JPL:
New NASA Mars Rover to Launch in 2020

December 04, 2012

WASHINGTON -- Building on the success of Curiosity's Red Planet landing, NASA has announced plans for a robust multi-year Mars program, including a new robotic science rover set to launch in 2020. This announcement affirms the agency's commitment to a bold exploration program that meets our nation's scientific and human exploration objectives.

"The Obama administration is committed to a robust Mars exploration program," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "With this next mission, we're ensuring America remains the world leader in the exploration of the Red Planet, while taking another significant step toward sending humans there in the 2030s."

The planned portfolio includes the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers; two NASA spacecraft and contributions to one European spacecraft currently orbiting Mars; the 2013 launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter to study the Martian upper atmosphere; the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission, which will take the first look into the deep interior of Mars; and participation in ESA's 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions, including providing "Electra" telecommunication radios to ESA's 2016 mission and a critical element of the premier astrobiology instrument on the 2018 ExoMars rover.

The plan to design and build a new Mars robotic science rover with a launch in 2020 comes only months after the agency announced InSight, which will launch in 2016, bringing a total of seven NASA missions operating or being planned to study and explore our Earth-like neighbor.

The 2020 mission will constitute another step toward being responsive to high-priority science goals and the president's challenge of sending humans to Mars orbit in the 2030s.

The future rover development and design will be based on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) architecture that successfully carried the Curiosity rover to the Martian surface this summer. This will ensure mission costs and risks are as low as possible, while still delivering a highly capable rover with a proven landing system. The mission will constitute a vital component of a broad portfolio of Mars exploration missions in development for the coming decade.

The mission will advance the science priorities of the National Research Council's 2011 Planetary Science Decadal Survey and responds to the findings of the Mars Program Planning Group established earlier this year to assist NASA in restructuring its Mars Exploration Program.

"The challenge to restructure the Mars Exploration Program has turned from the seven minutes of terror for the Curiosity landing to the start of seven years of innovation," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "This mission concept fits within the current and projected Mars exploration budget, builds on the exciting discoveries of Curiosity, and takes advantage of a favorable launch opportunity."

The specific payload and science instruments for the 2020 mission will be openly competed, following the Science Mission Directorate's established processes for instrument selection. This process will begin with the establishment of a science definition team that will be tasked to outline the scientific objectives for the mission.

This mission fits within the five-year budget plan in the president's Fiscal Year 2013 budget request, and is contingent on future appropriations.

Plans also will include opportunities for infusing new capabilities developed through investments by NASA's Space Technology Program, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, and contributions from international partners.

{...}




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Space News: NASA’s 2020 Mars Rover will Reprise Curiosity’s Design
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:51 PM   #577
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Florida Today: Report urges NASA to focus on spacefaring

Space Politics: A call for a “pioneering” NASA
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:15 PM   #579
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orb View Post
Cool that they recognize it can be done by the SLS. But using the Orion would be way too grandiose. By using the smaller lander/rover of Mars Pathfinder/Sojourner size, it could be done by a single launch of the Falcon Heavy using Centaur-style upper stages.

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Old 12-05-2012, 10:31 PM   #580
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It does not seem like a particularly good justification for the necessity of SLS, if the mission can be launched on existing vehicles (but kudos to NASA for finding another way to show off their shiny new rocket). I suppose a necessity for in-space retrieval does present some challenges, but planetary protection is starting to be bandied about like a boogeyman.

From a standpoint of preserving scientific discoveries it is quite valid, but one must seriously consider the absurdity of postulations that Martian microbes might have harmful effects on the terrestrial biosphere. The concept that since said microbes live in an environment that we would consider harsh, they would proliferate greatly in our (generally considerably less harsh) environment is total nonsense if one considers that there is an astronomical wealth of microbial biodiversity on Earth- including that among extremophiles (some of which live in environments equated in several manners to Mars) and that they have not overrun the planet (yet). It's really grave misunderstanding of how organisms adapt to environments. Just because penguins, for example, survive in really cold environments doesn't mean they'd thrive in- and overrun- warmer ones.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:30 PM   #581
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Well I guess I am not to take the stance that NASA is just full of idiots that know nothing about their craft, worry about the wrong things, blow everything out of proportion and should best leave such things in the hands of casual observers.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:50 AM   #582
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regarding microbes:

Yes, what is harsh for one organism is comfortable for another. I feel comfortable at sea level, but if you pull deep ocean fish out of the water, their eyes pop out and swim bladders explode grotesquely out of their mouths, not to mention they can't breath or swim out of water, and I can't breath water but if i could would probably get hypothermia at the bottom of the ocean. i doubt your average martian microbe would last 5 minutes if released. who knows, maybe the atmosphere would be poisonous to them, or they can't handle the Ph of rainwater, salinity of the ocean or what have you

P.S. I would like to see penguins overrunning major ports all over the world

Last edited by statickid; 12-06-2012 at 12:52 AM.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:35 AM   #583
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The article is a few months old, but still interesting.

More Plutonium:


Possible JEO replacement?


Source: http://www.planetary.org/blogs/casey...-for-mars.html
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:05 AM   #584
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One must not automatically assume that all actions of professionals are professional, because in reality this is not always the case. If any group are to make a claim of importance, no matter how notable their stature, they have to back it up. And unless you look at the logic of this sort of planetary protection as over-precaution, the claim of danger to Earth from Martian microbes basically mandates the bad science of a poor horror film over the reality of biology.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:40 AM   #585
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Tiny warning: You don't need to be professional, to act unprofessional.

Yes, the SLS sample return mission concept is only one possibility, but the possibility that will get political backing since it is really the best way to waste taxes for looking good. Politics work that way. Hey, our shiny expensive job programme called SLS has a purpose.

But: If somebody could pull off the sample return mission with smaller launchers and smarter mission concepts, saving money and avoiding the large project malus that NASA will face, the SLS solution would look really stupid. Why should we pay billions for something, that can be done for only millions?

I don't want to go so far that NASA is made of idiots. NASA has many talented engineers, skilled people. But most important decisions are made by well-defined idiots. Not idiots in the sense of "I just call them idiots because I don't understand their decisions" (Things you don't understand are called art anyway.) But idiots who have no clue about the topic that they have to decide on. They are not required to have it. They are politicians. The engineers spend 40 hours every week with their work, the decision makers spent maybe 40 minutes in that week with the program. They don't care about engineering problems, because they don't even understand why it is so hard to build a rocket. All they are interested in: How much does it cost and where will this money be spent?

And now you wonder why the SLS is not dead yet? Why engineers have to design it? Why engineers are tasked with finding a purpose for the SLS instead of solving the more important problems in the US space program?

Have a little more respect for those, who are not participating in this mad house as outside observers, but who are forced to be inside it. How are not crazy yet, but have the standard of normality defined by insanes.
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