Call for Papers, NSS Space Settlement Journal

The National Space Society is founding a new online, high-quality, peer-reviewed journal, the NSS Space Settlement Journal.

Journal-quality papers are solicited on all aspects of space settlement. Topics may include, but are not limited to, space settlement design, technology development, infrastructure, closed and semi-closed life support systems, extra-terrestrial mining, transportation, economics, social and legal aspects, historical analogues and activities leading to space settlement.

See the NSS website page about the NSS Space Settlement Journal for more information and how to submit papers.

Update on Congressional Letter to Obama for NASA Funding

In the recent post Push in Congress for Additional NASA Funding (Update), we detailed how Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas and Congressman Ken Calvert created a letter calling on the President to increase NASA’s funding. In that post we encouraged you to contact your Congressman and Senator and ask them to sign on to the Kosmas-Calvert letter. The original deadline for supporting representatives to add their signature to the letter was yesterday Tuesday Nov. 17. An extension to that deadline has been made. The new deadline for signing on to the Obama letter is noon Friday, Nov. 20th. If you haven’t contacted your representative yet, please do so ASAP!.

Your support is important. Since the original announcement, more representatives have signed on. The current list of congressional signers to the letter is:
Kosmas, Calvert, Barton, R. Bishop, K. Brady, C. Brown, H.Brown, Cao, Capps, Carter, Chaffetz, Chu, Connolly, Culberson, Cummings, A. Davis, M. Diaz-Balart, C. Edwards, Forbes, Fudge, Gohmert, Grayson, G. Green, Griffith, R. Hall, A. Hastings, Honda, Jackson-Lee, E.B. Johnson, Klein, Kratovil, Lungren, B. Markey, Meek, C. Miller, McCaul, McKeon, Napolitano, Nye, Olson, Perlmutter, Posey, Richardson, Rooney, Salazar, Schiff, Schock, Simpson, A. Smith, L. Smith, Van Hollen, Wasserman Schultz, Watson, Wexler, C. Wilson and Wu.

The full letter to President Obama is included in the Push in Congress for Additional NASA Funding (Update) post.
Please direct your representative and senators to contact Carrie Chess with Congresswoman Kosmas at or 5-2706 or Deena Contreras with Congressman Calvert at or 5-1986 to sign on or to have questions answered.

Ad Astra, Jim

NSS Praises NASA for Successful LCROSS Mission

According to Mark Hopkins, Senior Vice President of the National Space Society, “The discovery of water on the Moon dramatically improves the case for the development of lunar resources. All of the varied proposals to use these resources to provide very large amounts of carbon free energy for use on the Earth are suddenly more cost effective. In the long run, lunar resources may provide the solution to our energy and climate change problems.”

Added Rick Zucker, NSS Vice President of Public Affairs, “NSS applauds NASA’s continuing efforts to unlock the secrets of the universe, to expand the boundaries of human knowledge, and to apply that which we learn for the betterment of humanity.”

LCROSS Impact Data Indicates Water on Moon

By Jonas Dino, NASA Ames Research Center
November 13, 2009

The argument that the moon is a dry, desolate place no longer holds water.

Secrets the moon has been holding, for perhaps billions of years, are now being revealed to the delight of scientists and space enthusiasts alike.

NASA today opened a new chapter in our understanding of the moon. Preliminary data from the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, indicates that the mission successfully uncovered water during the Oct. 9, 2009 impacts into the permanently shadowed region of Cabeus cater near the moon’s south pole.

The impact created by the LCROSS Centaur upper stage rocket created a two-part plume of material from the bottom of the crater. The first part was a high angle plume of vapor and fine dust and the second a lower angle ejecta curtain of heavier material. This material has not seen sunlight in billions of years.

“We’re unlocking the mysteries of our nearest neighbor and by extension the solar system. It turns out the moon harbors many secrets, and LCROSS has added a new layer to our understanding,” said Michael Wargo, chief lunar scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Scientists have long speculated about the source of vast quantities of hydrogen that have been observed at the lunar poles. The LCROSS findings are shedding new light on the question of water, which could be more widespread and in greater quantity than previously suspected.

Permanently shadowed regions could hold a key to the history and evolution of the solar system, much as an ice core sample taken on Earth reveals ancient data. In addition, water, and other compounds represent potential resources that could sustain future lunar exploration.

Since the impacts, the LCROSS science team has been working almost nonstop analyzing the huge amount of data the spacecraft collected. The team concentrated on data from the satellite’s spectrometers, which provide the most definitive information about the presence of water. A spectrometer examines light emitted or absorbed by materials that helps identify their composition.

“We are ecstatic,” said Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS project scientist and principal investigator at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. “Multiple lines of evidence show water was present in both the high angle vapor plume and the ejecta curtain created by the LCROSS Centaur impact. The concentration and distribution of water and other substances requires further analysis, but it is safe to say Cabeus holds water.”

The team took the known near infrared spectral signatures of water and other materials and compared them to the spectra collected by the LCROSS near infrared spectrometer of the impact.

“We were only able to match the spectra from LCROSS data when we inserted the spectra for water,” said Colaprete. “No other reasonable combination of other compounds that we tried matched the observations. The possibility of contamination from the Centaur also was ruled out.”

Additional confirmation came from an emission in the ultraviolet spectrum that was attributed to hydroxyl, one product from the break-up of water by sunlight. When atoms and molecules are excited, they release energy at specific wavelengths that are detected by the spectrometers. A similar process is used in neon signs. When electrified, a specific gas will produce a distinct color. The ultraviolet visible spectrometer detected hydroxyl signatures just after impact that are consistent with a water vapor cloud in sunlight.

Data from the other LCROSS instruments are being analyzed for additional clues about the state and distribution of the material at the impact site. The LCROSS science team along with colleagues are poring over the data to understand the entire impact event, from flash to crater, with the final goal being the understanding of the distribution of materials, and in particular volatiles, within the soil at the impact site.

“The full understanding of the LCROSS data may take some time. The data is that rich,” said Colaprete. “Along with the water in Cabeus, there are hints of other intriguing substances. The permanently shadowed regions of the moon are truly cold traps, collecting and preserving material over billions of years.”

LCROSS was launched June 18, 2009 as a companion mission to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After separating from LRO, the LCROSS spacecraft held onto the spent Centaur upper stage rocket of the launch vehicle, executed a lunar swingby and entered into a series of long looping orbits around the Earth.

After traveling approximately 113 days and nearly 5.6 million miles (9 million km), the Centaur and LCROSS separated on final approach to the moon. Traveling as fast as a speeding bullet, the Centaur impacted the lunar surface shortly after 4:31 a.m. PDT Oct. 9 with LCROSS watching with its onboard instruments. Approximately four minutes of data was collected before the LCROSS itself impacted the lunar surface.

Working closely with scientists from LRO and other observatories that viewed the impact, the LCROSS team is working to understand the full scope of the LCROSS data. LRO continues to make passes over the impact site to give the LCROSS team additional insight into the mechanics of the impact and its resulting craters.

What other secrets will the moon reveal? The analysis continues!

Push in Congress for Additional NASA Funding (Update)

In response to the Human Spaceflight Committee call for an additional $3 billion for NASA, Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas and Congressman Ken Calvert have created a letter calling on the President to increase NASA’s funding.

They need your help! Please call your Congressman and Senator TODAY and ask them to sign on to the Kosmas-Calvert letter (reproduced in its entirety below). To find your representative visit: (at bottom of page).

The full letter from Representatives Kosmas and Calvert:

Support America’s Human Space Flight Program: Urge President Obama to Fulfill Augustine Committee’s Recommendation to Increase Funding for NASA

Current Co-signers:

C. Brown (FL), Capps (CA), Fudge (OH), Grayson (FL), G. Green (TX), Griffith (AL), A. Hastings (FL), Honda (CA), Jackson-Lee (TX), Klein (FL), Kosmas (FL), Kratovil (MD), B. Markey (CO), Meek (FL), Napolitano (CA), Nye (VA), Perlmutter (CO), Schiff (CA), Van Hollen (VA), Wasserman Schultz (FL), and Wexler (FL), Barton (TX), R. Bishop (UT), K. Brady (TX), Calvert (CA), Cao (LA), Carter (TX), Chaffetz (UT), Culberson (TX), R. Forbes (VA), R. Hall (TX), Jenkins (KS), Lundgren (CA), McCaul (TX), McKeon (CA), C. Miller (MI), Olson (TX), Posey (FL), Rooney (FL), L. Smith (TX)

Dear Colleague,

With the recent release of the Final Report by the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee (Augustine Committee), we invite you to join us in sending a letter to President Obama urging him to make the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) a national priority and work with the Congress to provide the funding necessary to ensure a robust human space flight program (the Summary and Final Augustine Committee reports can be found at

The Augustine Committee’s findings that our nation cannot conduct meaningful human exploration beyond low-Earth-orbit under current budget guidelines should serve as a wake up call. For too long, NASA has been given funds that do not match its mission. This insufficient funding has delayed the development of NASA’s next generation spacecraft, leading to an extended gap in domestic access to space.

To enable a human space exploration program that our nation can truly be proud of, the Augustine Committee recommends an increase of at least $3 billion annually over the FY10 budget profile. Although this level would not fully restore the funding originally budgeted for NASA’s next generation human space flight program, it will allow for meaningful exploration and ensure we maximize the return on our investment.

NASA’s human space flight program and the impending gap impacts nearly every state, with contractors and suppliers large and small spread out across the nation. To find out NASA’s impact on your state and district, please visit

We must ensure the President works with Congress to take this unique and fleeting opportunity to show a true commitment to NASA in order to sustain our global leadership in science and technology, address national challenges, and inspire our youth to pursue math and science.

We face many critical decisions in the coming months that will affect America’s human space flight program for decades to come and hope you will join us in urging the President to take action in a timely manner. Deadline to co-sign is Noon on Tuesday, November 17th. Please contact Carrie Chess with Congresswoman Kosmas at or 5-2706 or Deena Contreras with Congressman Calvert at or 5-1986 to sign on or if you have questions.


Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL)
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)

Letter to President Obama

November X, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama:

As Members of Congress who greatly value the contributions of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to our nation, we appreciate the hard work of the U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee. With its final report available now, we look forward to renewed communications between the Administration and Congress about America’s human space flight program. We write in strong support of receiving a Fiscal Year 2011 budget request which truly supports this core element of NASA’s mission.

While evaluating options for future of human space exploration, the Augustine Committee concluded that regardless of the direction or the details of the program, an increased level of long-term, sustainable funding must be a major component. The Review Committee’s finding that, “Human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit is not viable under the FY 2010 budget guideline” demonstrates that NASA’s underfunded budgets over the past several years have slowed the pace of exploration, depleted resources, and frustrated the development of new space systems. We believe an increased level of funding is essential to ensure NASA has the resources needed to meet the mission challenges of human space flight.

Currently, NASA is funding the development of the next generation human space flight systems with partners that bring decades of experience in developing and operating complex space systems while also encouraging new entrants to the space flight industry. The $3 billion annual increase recommended by the Committee would not fully restore the funding originally budgeted for the next generation programs. However, the increase would make a considerable difference in our ability to have a space exploration program to ensure that our nation maintains its global leadership position. A significant investment must be made given NASA’s contributions to America’s economic and national security.

The International Space Station (ISS) should remain operational as long as it can be productive without being constrained by an arbitrary, budget-driven termination date. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008 designated the ISS as a U.S. National Laboratory to conduct research for other Federal agencies and the commercial sector. Extending the ISS, at least through 2020, is necessary in order to maintain and improve important international partnerships, maximize the return on our nation’s investment, and spur discoveries that will enable exploration of our universe and improve life here on Earth.

As you may know, NASA is supported by tens of thousands of highly skilled and experienced men and women who make up the civil servant and contractor workforce. These space professionals are a critical national resource and contribute to a vital industrial base that supports civil, military, and commercial space. If we allow a gap in human space flight our nation will have lost valuable skills that will be costly and difficult to replace. In addition, we also will have given up on our hard-won space preeminence over other nations, including Russia and China, who will surely step in to fill the void.

We wish to impress upon you the significant and fleeting opportunity we have to ensure that our nation continues its preeminence in human space flight. Instituting a cohesive and comprehensive plan with clear direction for NASA’s future policies depends on leadership and the commitment to follow through with adequate funding. This can only be accomplished if it is established as a national priority through Presidential leadership.

We know that you share with us the enthusiasm that is generated by a bold human space flight program. We look forward to receiving your Administration’s proposal and working with you to ensure a robust, cutting edge and inspirational human space flight program worthy of our great nation.