NASA Plans a Manned Flyby of Mars, Mission to Europa

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

NASA Plans a Manned Flyby of Mars, Mission to Europa

Mars

NASA's current budget proposal includes requests for funds for a manned flyby of Mars in the early 2020s and for planning a mission to Jupiter's moon, Europa.

NASA recently released an overview of its $17 billion budget request for fiscal year 2015, which "includes funding for missions to Mars and the formulation for a mission to Jupiter's moon, Europa," according to a statement by administrator Charles Bolden.

Members of the House Science Committee have already endorsed NASA's proposal to send astronauts on a flyby of Mars, which will serve as a stepping stone to furthering manned exploration of our universe. The plan is to launch two astronauts into space in November 2021; their spacecraft would fly past Venus in April 2022 and Mars in October of that year, then return to Earth in June 2023.

"It is the least complex mission profile for reaching the Mars vicinity," said Doug Cooke, a former NASA associate administrator for exploration, during a committee hearing on February 27. "The mission provides an opportunity for an incredible first step that will make travel to Mars real to the people of the world."

Europa is of interest to the scientific community due to the moon being covered in water ice, with evidence suggesting that a liquid ocean may lie beneath. If that proves to be the case, then Europa may be our best opportunity to find alien microbial life in our solar system.

Source: National Geographic, CNET

Permalink

Wait, what about sending them past Venus? Why are we sending them backwards, then forward?

Not sure what advantage we're getting from a manned mission that never touches down. We could just leave them in the space station for a few years.

ProZack:
Wait, what about sending them past Venus? Why are we sending them backwards, then forward?

It's not that simple. An elliptical orbit will dip in, then out. You don't necessarily lose anything by it.

Pyrian:
Not sure what advantage we're getting from a manned mission that never touches down. We could just leave them in the space station for a few years.

ProZack:
Wait, what about sending them past Venus? Why are we sending them backwards, then forward?

It's not that simple. An elliptical orbit will dip in, then out. You don't necessarily lose anything by it.

Ah, all right, thanks for clearing that up.

A nineteen-month manned mission? That's definitely what I'd call an "acid test" of manned spaceflight technology. I'm worried that any sort of problem occuring will turn the public against space exploration- at least, even more so than they already are.

A twenty month space mission? Jesus Christ, I hope they have Netflix.

Pyrian:
Not sure what advantage we're getting from a manned mission that never touches down. We could just leave them in the space station for a few years.

Yeah, that seemed a little odd.

OTOH, just a proposal at the mo, we'll see if they cough up the funds to do anything.

PrinceOfShapeir:
A twenty month space mission? Jesus Christ, I hope they have Netflix.

No, all they need is a copy of GTAV and the facilities to download player-made maps. Between that and YouTube via dedicated sattelite (It will take a few minutes to start loading but it should support at least 480p) it should be easy to pass the time

Beware any large black monoliths. If found, attempt no landing on Europa. ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE

Pyrian:
Not sure what advantage we're getting from a manned mission that never touches down. We could just leave them in the space station for a few years.

It's a stepping stone to putting people on the surface of Mars. Instead of putting all the eggs in that basket and then having a potential problem sink billions of dollars more than they would have spent they can do a simple fly by as a proof of concept.

This is an incredibly long journey with numerous issues that could arise at any given time. It's best to iron out the kinks, see where things can be improved, and so forth with a simple setup before trying something far more complicated like actually landing on the surface, lifting off, and returning to Earth. This also puts the astronauts in the least amount of danger for the mission and will provide a ton of useful data in terms of dealing with isolation in space and how humans will handle prolonged space travel like that.

Sadly this isn't Kerbal Space Program where if things don't work out you make some tweaks and fire another rocket hoping it works. People want to see that this is a worthy investment and isn't going to end with something like "First humans die in space" or something like that.

God damn I hope this is approved.

The Mars flyby is excellent by itself, but add the possibility of exploring Europa and thing start to get really interesting.

I quite like the timescale, too. Usually these things have depressing dates 50+ years in the future.

NASA: "We landed on the moon, bitch. Move aside, spacex. We got this."

Oh man I love nasa. They are easily one of the most badass science organizations on the planet, coming ahead of CERN and just behind whoever the hell makes lasers that burn things.

So all it took was a little bit of Cold War nostalgia to get the space program dreaming big again? Thanks, Putin!

For once a reasonable time scale, only seven years in the future? I'm actually quite excited about this, hopefully it'll get the funding, maybe this new Cold War isn't all bad?

Finally some good news for the exploration of space, ever since the end of the Apollo missions we have been extraordinarily lazy as a species. After this may be we can finally land on mars and find that prothian archive.

They should take a laptop with kerbal space program on it.

Oh hell yes! I am terribly excited about Europa, and the Mars mission is an excellent steppingstone.

Ouch. 19 months in space. I really hope they'll have some form of artificial gravity on those ships. I don't want to know what would happen to your bones if they don't have that...

Alleged_Alec:
Ouch. 19 months in space. I really hope they'll have some form of artificial gravity on those ships. I don't want to know what would happen to your bones if they don't have that...

I read somewhere that they actually have excercise equipment on board to prevent exactly that. ;)

Yeah, definitely time to start working on internet in space. Obviously with up to 20 minute one way communication you can't really do anything interactive. but they can make ebooks accessible, as well as video streaming I would think. We really need a better deep space data network than we have now, with the increasingly outdated DSN.

thaluikhain:

Pyrian:
Not sure what advantage we're getting from a manned mission that never touches down. We could just leave them in the space station for a few years.

Yeah, that seemed a little odd.

OTOH, just a proposal at the mo, we'll see if they cough up the funds to do anything.

What advantage would there be for them to actually touch down? There's nothing of interest for humanity on Mars, these missions are simply preparation in case there ever will be.

Any specific reason as to why they don't try to construct a small base on the moon first? Seems like the most logical step to see if everything works in practice.

Pyrian:
Not sure what advantage we're getting from a manned mission that never touches down. We could just leave them in the space station for a few years.

A manned fly-by let's them get a proof of concept for dealing with a number of potential issues: feeding them, providing enough air, preventing substantial muscle and bone degeneration, having the ability to actually arrive at Mars and return safely. Probably more things I'm not thinking of right now.

They could test out some of that on the space station, but it really wasn't set up for dealing with all of it. Particularly the issue of muscle and bone loss since astronauts don't stay on the space station for that length of time.

Similarly, we didn't start out by going to the moon and landing on it. There were a number of fly bys first to prove that could be done safely before sending people down.

rutger5000:

thaluikhain:

Pyrian:
Not sure what advantage we're getting from a manned mission that never touches down. We could just leave them in the space station for a few years.

Yeah, that seemed a little odd.

OTOH, just a proposal at the mo, we'll see if they cough up the funds to do anything.

What advantage would there be for them to actually touch down? There's nothing of interest for humanity on Mars, these missions are simply preparation in case there ever will be.

What advantage was there for us to land on the moon? There's nothing there as well. It's to learn and discover, that's why.

Remus:
Beware any large black monoliths. If found, attempt no landing on Europa. ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE

O my god, it's full of stars.

2010, has been ages last time i saw that film.

But really, maned flyby of Mars?
Well, a 1,5 year round trip to Mars makes more sense than a indefinite one way trip. (i Guess)

god i hope they find a giant radioactive glowing space squid on Europa

Alcamonic:
Any specific reason as to why they don't try to construct a small base on the moon first? Seems like the most logical step to see if everything works in practice.

i think mostly its about the cost of keeping a running base on the moon, its not like we go there often

Pyrian:
Not sure what advantage we're getting from a manned mission that never touches down. We could just leave them in the space station for a few years.

Having them in a space station wouldn't really test a lot of the variables, most notably radiation. A space flight, for example, would be direct sunlight for most of the trip, and wouldn't be anywhere near the earth's magnetic field, both of which would not be the case for a space station.

Alcamonic:
Any specific reason as to why they don't try to construct a small base on the moon first? Seems like the most logical step to see if everything works in practice.

No real point to that I'd think. NASA has already made it to the moon before, so no real need to practice that. Nor is it likely to be that helpful doing one trip around Mars. It'd be a decent idea if we wanted to many future missions, but that's a different idea, and unlikely to be done in the current political climate.

Vivi22:

They could test out some of that on the space station, but it really wasn't set up for dealing with all of it. Particularly the issue of muscle and bone loss since astronauts don't stay on the space station for that length of time.

Actually, the Russians set the record for that back on the Mir, around 437 days for one person, Valeri Polyakov, with the runner-up record being 379 days. This proposed Mars flyby will still be the longest spaceflight on record by months if and when it happens, but there is some information available already on long-term effects of spaceflight on the human body. You are right, though, the ISS wouldn't be ideal for managing a lot of the experiments that a Mars flyby would do.

Pyrian:
Not sure what advantage we're getting from a manned mission that never touches down. We could just leave them in the space station for a few years.

Seems like it's supposed to be a stepping stone. It's easier to to do a flyby than to land but it still represents a huge challenge because of the distance they have to travel. If it works and they can safely get to Mars and back, it opens the way to future landing missions.

Alcamonic:
Any specific reason as to why they don't try to construct a small base on the moon first? Seems like the most logical step to see if everything works in practice.

There'd be no point. An interplanetary vessel landing on and taking off from the moon as a stop-off point before leaving earth orbit would be too fuel inefficient to justify any kind of surface base. The cost of manning and maintaining one would also make it highly impractical. An orbital refuelling station would be of more use, depending on the size of the vessel, but even then fuel needs to be spent on lunar capture, rendezvousing and lunar escape, meaning a lunar gravity assist would be more prudent. Really, unless we find a new energy source or some other resource on the moon that we couldn't otherwise synthesise or extract from the earth, the moon has very little of value to offer.

Edit: Reread your post, not realising that you were talking about a proof-of-concept type thing. In that case, we can just do isolation tests here on earth. It's safer, cheaper and more practical than sending people to the moon.

Alleged_Alec:
Ouch. 19 months in space. I really hope they'll have some form of artificial gravity on those ships. I don't want to know what would happen to your bones if they don't have that...

Astronauts on the ISS do regular exercise including running on treadmills (held down by straps so they can actually run) to keep up their muscle tone.

As far as I know, we're still a little way off artificial gravity.

Somethingfake:

rutger5000:

thaluikhain:

Yeah, that seemed a little odd.

OTOH, just a proposal at the mo, we'll see if they cough up the funds to do anything.

What advantage would there be for them to actually touch down? There's nothing of interest for humanity on Mars, these missions are simply preparation in case there ever will be.

What advantage was there for us to land on the moon? There's nothing there as well. It's to learn and discover, that's why.

Please the Moonlandings were nothing more than an last attempt to beat the Russians in anything space related. Sure the US learned from it, and sure there was significant spin off. But it taught you nothing you next to couldn't have learned by putting a space station in orbit larger than SkyLab and doing it sooner. Which admittedly would have similar costs, but it would have been much more useful.

rutger5000:

Somethingfake:

rutger5000:

What advantage would there be for them to actually touch down? There's nothing of interest for humanity on Mars, these missions are simply preparation in case there ever will be.

What advantage was there for us to land on the moon? There's nothing there as well. It's to learn and discover, that's why.

Please the Moonlandings were nothing more than an last attempt to beat the Russians in anything space related. Sure the US learned from it, and sure there was significant spin off. But it taught you nothing you next to couldn't have learned by putting a space station in orbit larger than SkyLab and doing it sooner. Which admittedly would have similar costs, but it would have been much more useful.

So there's no point going anywhere if we can do it here? Hmm didn't know we can explore other planets/moons by sitting around on Earth. My education continues. How are we to visit the moon/Mars/planets in the solar system if we camp LEO?

And whilst the moon landings were politically motivated, good came from it. The inspiration and excitement that drove people to become astronauts/scientists still has impact today.

Captcha sold out? Showing a picture of pepsi max and the pepsi slogan. For shame.

I wonder when will this be cancelled.
My guess is that first it's going to be postponed.

Pyrian:
Not sure what advantage we're getting from a manned mission that never touches down.

Honestly, not sure what advantage we're getting from a manned mission full stop.

But the warm, fuzzy, human part of me thinks that if this is something people care enough about that they will willingly expose themselves to cosmic radiation for two years then it is worth something. Even if that something is symbolic.

Damn, I wonder what a stack of dehydrated food for one person over 19 months looks like. I would definitely be sick of rehydrated shrimp cocktail by that point. And it blows my mind that NASA can extract water from air, albeit in small quantities. It'll be necessary for the trip I'm sure, as well as recycling urine.

Oh well, I guess sending robots wasn't an option, eh, Discovery Channel?

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here