Feeds

Planetary exploration under threat, says space pioneer

Space Launch System attention misdirected, Friedman says

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Immediate past president of the Planetary Society, Lou Friedman, is worried that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is putting NASA’s planetary exploration at risk.

Writing at The Space Review, Friedman – who founded the Planetary Society in 1980 with Carl Sagan and Caltech professor and Mars exploration luminary Bruce Murray – says the threat that the OMB may block plans for joint NASA-European Mars exploration could mean NASA “ceases to explore the solar system and stops looking deep into the universe” for as long as ten years.

At immediate risk, he says, is the planned joint launch of a European Trace Gas Orbiter mission in 2016, along with an astrobiology and rover mission planned for 2018.

Instead, Friedman writes, the OMB is favouring the Space Launch System, the design of which was unveiled in September. While he agrees that heavy lift capability is vital, if platform development is funded at the expense of missions, NASA will have “new launchers that will have nothing much to launch and no results to show the American people”.

With “special interests” – unnamed by Friedman, but presumably the heavy industries that would benefit from a steady flow of SLS contracts – driving the OBM process, Friedman warns that the launcher “will become another federal jobs program”.

By delaying the SLS, he says, both the Mars exploration and the James Webb Space Telescope – “punted” by the administration – could be kept on the books. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.