Feeds

NASA gets cold feet on Moon base plan

Lunar outpost apparently off the agenda

SANS - Survey on application security programs

NASA is dithering about whether its future plans should include a Moon base or focus on missions further out into the solar system, New Scientist reports.

Speaking yesterday, the agency's acting administrator, Chris Scolese, suggested "a shift in the agency's direction", from his predecessor Mike Griffin's commitment to a lunar outpost as part of a slated 2020 manned return to the Moon.

However, Scolese told the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies of the House Committee on Appropriations: "We were looking at an outpost on the Moon, as the basis for that [2020] estimate and that one is being revisited.

"It will probably be less than an outpost on the Moon, but where it fits between sorties, single trips, to the Moon to various parts and an outpost is really going to be dependent on the studies that we're going to be doing."

These "studies" seem to involve largely bypassing the Moon and focusing instead on more ambitious goals. Sciolese elaborated: "Recall [that] the Vision [for Space Exploration] was not just to go to the Moon as it was in Apollo, it was to utilise space to go on to Mars and to go to other places.

"We've demonstrated over the last several years that with multiple flights we can build a very complex system reliably - the space station - involving multiple nations... and we'll need something like that if we're going to go to Mars."

He further teased: "So what I would like to see from NASA over time is an architecture that... will give us flexibility for taking humans beyond low-Earth orbit and allowing us to have options for what we can do at the Moon as well as other destinations... [like] Mars or an asteroid… so that there are options on what we do in 2020."

What NASA's plans finally include is in part dependent on the as-yet-undecided 2010 budget - due to be released as a detailed proposal this month.

Congressman Alan Mollohan, the subcommittee's chair, was evidently unimpressed with NASA's vague "flexibility" concept, and demanded: "Does the 2010 budget request impact in any way our target - is this so complicated - our target of getting to the moon by 2020? Is there any consideration being given within the organisation to not attempting to meet the 2020 Moon [return]… is there any reconsideration of going there? What is going on here?"

Doug Cooke, NASA's associate administrator for exploration systems, replied: "The direction that we have is to continue to pursue the 2020 date." He did, however, note that the agency was "still assessing how the 2010 budget might affect that." ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Melting permafrost switches to nasty, high-gear methane release
Result? 'Way more carbon being released into the atmosphere as methane'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.