I mean, if you think about it, does anybody really think our next set of mission goals goals will be a trip to Mars?
But they did have to have a good set of replacements ready and in place for the days that would have to follow the Space Shuttle program.
So what are they planning then?….
Up to now, NASA’s mission goals have always been very clear when it came to their long term objectives.
Traditionally, NASA has been able to see fairly well into their own future, thus allowing them to plan and execute vital missions over longer periods of time.
They’ve done this in order to make the most efficient use of their extremely expensive and complex equipment.
This equipment, it’s support structure, and everything else it takes to run a space program are so expensive to develop and maintain, that goals of ten or twenty years ahead are not only uncommon, they are the standard. Good thing too because as good as they are, I don’t think we have any astronauts qualified to land a Space Shuttle on the Moon.
But this time there’s a bit of a problem. This time, NASA is being fairly tight lipped about the “Future of NASA.” Now, I suppose this would be ok if we were simply waiting for our next rocket.
But we’re not…
The Space Shuttle program is officially shut down.
We’re not quite ready yet for Mars.
There are industry leaders already in the commercial sector performing payload launching competetively.
And the ISS is a reletively low cost, cooperative effort of nations
that really doesn’t offer the kinds of continued growth NASA desires.
There is only one real option left…
I don’t know! I’m no rocket scientist!
And, I’m thinking that a few more more
missions like the GRAIL expedition are likely. This will be so NASA can update what it already knows about the Moon prior to any real “mission Planning” stages.
I have no idea how many unmanned trips there will be, or how long something like this might take, but I would assume that trips like these would have to get done before we actually land again.
Pssst! The picture above is a hint.
- Second of NASA’s twin Grail probes en route to study moon’s gravity (theglobeandmail.com)
- NASA Makes New Year’s Resolution: More Lunar Discoveries in 2012 (inquisitr.com)
- NASA’s Twin GRAIL Spacecraft Reunite in Lunar Orbit (prnewswire.com)