Google+ Mars Travel: NASA Ordered to Send Astronauts to an Asteroid Within 15 Years

NASA Ordered to Send Astronauts to an Asteroid Within 15 Years

Reports from the Associated Press, the Daily Mail, and other media outlets claim that NASA was given a new objective. They were reportedly told by President Obama that they had to put astronauts on an asteroid within 15 years. They are to remain on that asteroid for an as of yet unspecified period of time.

The idea is that landing and living on an asteroid will take much of the same technology as landing and maintaining a permanent presence on Mars. So why don't we just go to Mars?

The asteroids are closer than Mars, so it would take less energy and fuel to get there. This project is considered a stepping stone in America's goal of setting man on Mars by 2035.

In order to get to the asteroid it is necessary to send a few unmanned craft carrying supplies to the asteroid. It would be improbable to send everything with the manned ship. The necessary devices are numerous and very similar to those detailed by Robert Zubrin,  President of Mars Society and the aerospace research and development firm Pioneer Astronautics, in his explanation of how we could easily send a man to Mars within a decade. These are detailed in an article about the ability for Manned Exploration of Mars Within a Decade and his book (below):
The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must

One of the goals of sending astronauts to an asteroid is to learn how to change its orbit. By experimenting on an asteroid that is not a danger to Earth, humanity will be better prepared to deal with an asteroid that is set to impact Earth.
While this does not seem like an immediate worry or threat, it is always better to be overly prepared than not ready enough, especially when the survival of the whole human race depends on adequate preparation.
Preparation would help us avoid this
Source: Andreus Agency:

While most of NASA is extremely excited about this new goal from President Obama, they are also anxious. 
The task they have been handed is very challenging, but they know they are up to it. They have a long way to go because much of the technology necessary is still in the the theoretical or developmental stage, but this goal set by President Obama gives NASA a large concrete objective, the likes of which has not been seen since President Kennedy promised Americans would land on the moon within a decade.

While this goal might disappoint a lot of people who thought we would try to go to Mars soon, it is a step in the right direction.


Unknown said...

I think the effort to send men to an asteroid is admirable, and sending men to Mars is certainly a worthwhile endeavor. But I'm still convinced that cancelling our plans to build a station on the Moon was a huge mistake by President Obama. The Moon would be a great staging area for missions to asteroids and Mars, and it only makes sense to conquer our own moon before attempting to go to another planet altogether.

And, there are so many other advantages of going back to the Moon first! It wouldn't even slow our progress towards an asteroid and Mars if only NASA had the funding. Cutting NASA's funding, which has always been a mere drop in the bucket by comparison, and was a major mistake.

Geaney said...

I agree with you that cancelling our plans for station on the moon was a huge a mistake. It truly would have made future missions all that much easier and give us the knowledge and experience to make permanent bases on Mars and elsewhere.
I hope that one day someone will be inspire the nation and the world to pursue space development and expansion. Thank you for your comment!

Galbinus_Caeli said...

We had serious (and by serious I mean "funded") plans for a moon base? I must have missed that.

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