WASHINGTON – While NASA is working to develop a plan for an accelerated human return to the moon, a senior White House official emphasized the need for long-term sustainability, which would require both a gateway and a lunar base.
An event at the National Academies here, marking the 50th anniversary of the Universities Space Research Association, Scott Pace, Executive Secretary of the National Space Council, said the new efforts to land on a human moon are a "strategy of speed." Sustainability ", which differentiates this effort from the Apollo missions half a century ago.
Pace, announcing a new goal of a human moon landing over the next five years four weeks after the announcement of Vice President Mike Pence, said the accelerated The Timeline to convey a sense of urgency to focus the agency on this goal. "The purpose of this speed, part of the reason the Vice President made this announcement, was to focus and prioritize," he said. 1
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NASA has not yet set out in detail how they will use this new goal or object Budget will change and the Agency's budget for 2020 is under development and can be submitted to Congress as early as next week.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who met on April 9 at the 35th Space Colorado Springs Symposium, discussing what he described, discussed a two-phase approach to the new exploration plan, focusing first on speed and then on sustainability Atz would use the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft together with the still-to-be-developed Lunar Lans and a Lunar Gate, which, at least initially, includes only a fraction of the elements previously proposed for the human-led facility in the Lunar Orbit.
Pace confirmed in his presentation that the Lunar Gateway in its original version would be relatively small. "I would initially expect a very minimal gateway in terms of supporting what we need for 2024. I see a larger, more powerful gateway that builds on reusability."
He said the value of the gateway could ultimately be the value of a "fuel depot" that allows the reuse of lunar countries or at least parts of them. "Instead of giving up expensive vehicles after a single drive, we should consider building a tank farm to allow repeated visits to the moon and pave the way to Mars," he said. "And that's exactly what NASA has proposed with the Moon Gate."
A "minimal" gateway has expressed concerns among international partners about their role in this first sprint to the moon. Pace then said he had met with international partners on this issue. "In the short term, the focus is on building the organization that is able to go back," he said. As the focus shifts to long-term sustainability, there are opportunities for partners to offer gateway modules and moon lander.
This emphasis on sustainability extends to the lunar surface. "We need a lunar field station to explore the lunar surface and enable multiple locations from this station," he said. This led to the decision to make the Moon's south pole the location for the first moon landing, which wants to build pace over time, and finally consists of several modules with pressure controversy and nuclear fission reactors for the power supply. "A Moon South Pole Station can be an access point to the rest of the Moon's surface."
One of the key factors for this interest in the South Pole is the potential access to deposits of water ice that can be used for life support and as a propellant. However, he warned that the nature and accessibility of this ice was uncertain, and required research to see if it was possible to use the existing ice.
The base can also support other research there. "We will go for many reasons, of which science is only one," he said, "but on the other hand, we want to make sure that the science we do there is actually determined by community assessments.
The emphasis on lunar resources led to a question from the public as to why NASA Resource Prospector, an agency mission under development to test the possibility of harvesting water ice, had canceled last year.
Pace said his refusal was a " NASA's poorly-communicated decision "The agency's leadership understands the value of robotic precursor emissions to understand the nature and accessibility of water ice at the poles, which could also support" opportunistic science "that would not have been otherwise.
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