Frontiers of Propulsion Science is the first-ever compilation of emerging science relevant to such notions as space drives, warp drives, gravity control, and faster-than-light travel – the kind of breakthroughs that would revolutionize spaceflight and enable human voyages to other star systems. Although these concepts might sound like science fiction, they are appearing in growing numbers in reputable scientific journals. From AIAA
Frontiers of Propulsion Science
Marc G. Millis, NASA Glenn Research Center Eric W. Davis, Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin
I am presently writing comments on a Space Policy Paper and I was pointing the author to a column written by my father, John G. Cramer for Analog Magazine TWENTY years ago. The second paragraph is terribly timely so much so it is scary.
I’ve just returned from Vancouver, BC, where I was Science Guest of Honor at V-Con. Dr. David Stephenson, a Canadian space scientist, remarked there that each nation seems to play its own national game in space. The Russians play Chess, plotting their moves with a strategy that looks decades into the future. The Japanese play Go, systematically surrounding each technological territory with their pieces until they make it their own. The Europeans play Bridge, kicking a lot under the table while presenting a smooth performance above its surface. And what of the USA? Well, in the 1960’s we were playing Monopoly. But now, under the present policies of NASA, we seem to have switched to Trivial Pursuits …
By the time you read this some 4-6 months from now, our democratic processes will have elected a new president. He will, among other things, have to decide what to do about the NASA problem. At minimum a new NASA Administrator must be appointed, and perhaps the space agency will also be restructured as some critics are presently suggesting. Will there be further plodding along the dismal path that has lead from the triumph of Apollo to the Challenger Disaster? Will the agency continue to place science far down in the priority queue, going always for the Premature Choice and the job security of mammoth engineering projects. Will NASA continue to withhold any investments in the future, in advanced propulsion technologies, and in new ideas? I hope not.
I hope that the new President will choose carefully when making the decisions on the new head for NASA and on whether to restructure the agency. The new President can get advice from anyone he chooses. I think that he should have a very long talk with Freeman Dyson.
Since George Whitesides has decided to follow other Opportunities.
Posted by Mark Hopkins
Call For Applications For The Position Of Executive Director Of The National Space Society
If you know someone, who you think might make a good candidate, please contact them. Suggest they email their resume to Mark Hopkins at email@example.com AND (for backup purposes) to Bill Gardiner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
George Abbey, Neal Lane and John Muratore wrote Maximizing NASA’s Potential in Flight and on the Ground: Recommendations for the Next Administration for the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. The recommendations are basically to fly the shuttle until 2015, focus on Energy and environment, focus on robotic science, and focus on aeronautics. They favor international over national programs. They favor research enabling solar power satellites for the long term but discount its development until launch costs drop. They also favor use of private launch providers for access to space after the shuttle. Unfortunately they don’t address reducing launch costs or encouraging the development of a private space industry.
What the recommendations really lack is the answer to the question, WHY?
Why should we fly the space shuttle for 5 more years? Won’t that be very dangerous and expensive?
Why should we do space projects internationally rather than nationally. Don’t we want the US to lead in space?
If energy and environment are national priorities which NASA should concentrate on, then the development space solar power is the best place to put NASA’s expertise. If we really want space solar power on a large scale then NASA must develop technology to use lunar resources and focus on reducing launch cost.
NASA should avoid trying to duplicate the efforts of NOAA and the Department of Energy. NASA should concentrate on the development of space and space resources for the future of the United States of America. Energy and the environment are critical issue for the future of our country and the development of space solar power is the best way NASA can address the needs of the citizens who have faithfully funded them for 50 years now.
Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in spring 2009. Th spacecraft will collide with the Moon in a permanently shadowed crater near one of the Moon’s poles in hopes of finding evidence of water ice.
Four teams haven been chosen to provide additional data and analysis about permanently shadowed craters to help researchers determine if water exists on the moon and in what form.
The selected proposals are:
— Accessing LCROSS Ejecta: Water Vapor and Particle Size and Composition from Keck, Gemini, and the IRFT Telescopes; principle investigator Eliot Young, Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.
— LCROSS Lunar Plume Observations with the Apache Point Observatory; principle investigator Nancy Chanover, New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
— Multi-spectral Imaging of the LCROSS Impact; principle investigator Marc Buie, Southwest Research Institute.
— Searching for Polar Water Ice During the LCROSS Impact Using the MMT Observatory; principle investigator Faith Vilas, University of Arizona in Tucson.
At the Rationale and Goals of the U.S. Civil Space Program meeting Neil DeGrasse Tyson said NASA should get out of Low Earth Orbit (LEO). His main argument was that NASA should not be doing the routine; NASA should be doing space exploration. It is very tempting to agree with him since in my opinion the Space Shuttle and the Space Station were major steps backward, which will lead no where, which suck up all available funds and block actual space exploration and development. But if NASA gets out of LEO there is a problem.
The problem with NASA leaving LEO and concentrating only on space exploration is then who does the space development? Many will say private industry. But in truth, there is very little private space industry in human space flight. Most plans for future private human space flight anticipate demand from the government. That leaves a vacuum in space development.
If the government is footing the bill for space development which part of the government should be in charge of developing space? The one with the most experience. Which government agency has the most experience in space? NASA.
That begs the question, is there any space development to be done in Low Earth Orbit? I have to admit I have never bought into Werner Von Braun’s vision of lots of space infrastructure illustrated so beautifully in the Movie 2001. Shuttles, and space stations etc. are expensive to maintain and of limited utility. Sure it is said to be efficient in terms of energy. But in space with the right technology, energy is cheap. Hardware is expensive and probably always will be.
What kind of space development needs to be done in LEO? The answer is the construction of working technology demonstrations of Solar Power Satellites. The government needs to do the initial technological demonstration of Space Solar Power otherwise there may never be a business case for solar power from space. Either the Department of Energy or NASA should demonstrate Space Solar Power. So if NASA is doing anything in Low Earth Orbit it ought to be to develop Space Solar Power. If NASA is not interested in Space Solar Power or Space Development, then Neil DeGrasse Tyson is right NASA should get out of Low Earth Orbit.
Here are two videos of the author talking about his predictions he has writen about in his book. He starts talking about space and space solar power at 4:30 in part 1 until about 6:00. Next 100 Years – STRATFOR – George Friedman – Part 1
Next 100 Years – STRATFOR – George Friedman – Part 2
Why does Wayne Hale considers new ideas as DISENT?
NASA claims to be an science and technology agency. New ideas should be nurtured and encouraged not considered disent.
I have heard NASA frequently say they are looking for they are looking for Out of The Box solutions but as one who has never figured out where The mythical Box Is let alone been inside it, I have found NASA openly hostile to Out of The Box solutions.
For instance I have a solution to the astronaut glove problem which I actually presented to NASA, the silence in response has been deafening. It is especially suprising since the solution would require no new engineering, save money on launch cost and greatly enable the settlement of space.
I would love to hear from NSS members about their experiences on how NASA reacted to new ideas from within and from outside.