Sat, Aug 08, 2009
Hopes To Have The List Down To Three Missions By
The commission charted by The Obama
Administration to set the country's post-shuttle space goals has
winnowed the number of potential missions down from 864 to seven,
with a goal of reaching three potential scenarios by next week.
“That’s not a joke,” said Edward F. Crawley, a
professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a panel
member. The suggestion had drawn laughter from the panel.
The New York Times reports that three of the options under
consideration stay under the reduced budget figure proposed by the
Administration. One is to continue the plan laid out by President
Bush in 2003 to return to the moon, but scraps the 2020 deadline. A
second extends the ISS mission for 5 years to 2020, and a third
scraps ISS and the Ares I program, focusing instead on a larger
Ares V rocket that would get humans back to the moon, but does not
have a timeline for that to occur.
The other four do not have budget constraints, and include a
Mars mission that does not include landings, as well as exploration
of asteroids and Mars' moons. One builds a disposable cargo
container which could forestall the retirement of the shuttle. One
option dispenses with a lunar colony in lieu of multiple short-stay
missions, and the final option proceeds directly to Mars.
The panel is charged with putting together it's final
recommendations, and budgets, by it's final meeting Wednesday.
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