For some time, NASA has been developing an orbital lunar outpost, which serves as a testing ground for new technologies and scientific experiments, as well as a staging area for manned and robotic missions to the Moon and finally Mars. 19659002] Initially called Deep Space Gateway, the Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway has been roughened.
But the name is not as important as the boundaries it should open for human discovery and exploration, said Patrick Troutman, a space architect at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton.
As far as Troutman is concerned, the gateway is "the beginning of Star Trek."
"It's not just the gateway," Troutman said. "That's why we invest in rockets and capsules and in the gateway and how they merge together to create a more sustainable future for space exploration."
"Many people think the Gateway is a mission ̵
Troutman will hold a free public talk today at 7.30 pm on "Cislunar Space: The Gateway to Future Exploration" at the Virginia Air & Space Center in downtown Hampton, as part of NASA's monthly sigma lecture series Langley appear.
The gateway infrastructure will be put into orbit and built one piece at a time, starting with a solar electric propulsion system in 2020. Subsequent missions will add a habitat system and an airlock for docking spacecraft. in 2023, the first crew.
International and commercial partners may eventually add their own airlocks or habitats, said Troutman, assembling a "small international space depot" to support Lunar and Mars missions.
The Gateway won However, it was supposed to be another International Space Station It is much smaller, with crew stays of 30 days or less.
And that's the point, Troutman said.
"What's unique about the gateway, we want something that does not have people, so we can understand human systems that are robust and reliable without people being there."
This is important because a vehicle that For example, the gateway leaves for the Mars system, staying in orbit while people are on the surface, maybe for up to a year, he said.
"And there's no one up there to handle it, and that's your drive home," said Troutman. "So if it's not robust, if it can not take care of itself, they will not come back from Mars. "
Once the Gateway has been built, it will initially be used as an outpost to explore the Moon and its resources, beginning with robotic systems.
"I like to call it the invasion of robots," said Troutman.
These robotic explorers should find out how difficult it would be to produce critical in situ resources – regolith materials that could be used for propulsion, for example.
Because the platform is orbiting in the radiation-intensive Cislunar space – on the edge of Earth's powerful gravitational source – scientific experiments in astrophysics, heliophysics, life sciences, and biology will also be unique to those aboard the Space Station in a near-Earth orbit operated and thus more influenced by their magnetic field and protected.
Even with the Gateway perched on the edge of the Earth and Moon Gravity Shafts, spaceships traveling deeper into outer space from the outpost do not need the brute force of large missiles to launch them, but more efficient and refined solar ones electric drive systems. 196590000] "Even inside NASA, people are thinking about the gateway, because that's the point: we build it, we're done," said Troutman. "Well, no, you build it and then use it to accomplish larger missions, and these larger missions are what we do on the Moon." They are what we are on Mars They are the scientific sample back.This is all the science we can do with it. "
Julie Williams-Byrd, acting chief technologist at NASA Langley, recommended Troutman for the lecture series because of the "Moon rotation" of the country to bring people back to the moon of his expertise and passion for the subject.
"Pat is a great speaker and can communicate the most complicated information in a way that everyone can understand, whether they're technical or not," said Williams-Byrd
The Air & Space Center is located in the 600 settlers Landing Road.
Contact Dietrich at 757-247-7892 or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter at DP_Dietrich