Missions to the Moon and Mars: Has Someone Got There Ahead of Us?

7/1/2013

Clearly defining America's role in space for the coming century, former President Bush expressed a long-range continuing course for human exploration on July 20, 1989 when he said, "First, for the coming decade, for the 1990's, Space Station Freedom, our critical next step in all our space endeavors. And next, for the next century, back to the moon, back to the future, and this time, back to stay. And then a journey into tomorrow, a journey to another planet, a manned mission to Mars. Each mission should and will lay the groundwork for the next."

With those words, the President specified the goals contained in the 1988 Presidential Directive on National Space Policy: to expand human presence and activity beyond Earth orbit into the solar system. Now the shape of human exploration of space was clear.

Exploration of the moon and Mars will help us regain our competitiveness and strengthen America's technological foundations. It will be the catalyst to provide needed initiatives and enthusiasm to stimulate our people in sciences and engineering.

It provides the opportunity for international cooperation by expressing a world space exploration initiative. It can be built on current scientific initiatives and, coupled with new objectives, sustain America's leadership in unlocking the secrets of our planet and the universe.

The mission sequence of the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) is now defined: Begin with Space Station Freedom in the 1990's; return to the lunar surface to establish permanent colonies early in the 21st century, then use the lunar bases as a soft-launch platform for the Mars missions.

SEI provides a framework from which various elements of and approaches to human exploration of the moon and Mars may be examined to determine where best to invest in high-leverage innovative technologies to make major impacts on costs, schedules and performance.

Information generated will be used as a data base to determine the appropriate scope, schedule, and ultimate approach to be used in implementing the program. Following an evolutionary path over many years, transportation systems and habitats will be designed to serve many generations of technicians and colonists both on the moon and on Mars.

Space Station Freedom will provide the essential scientific and technological foundation for later human missions to the planets. Initially, crews will remain on the station for three months, and research will focus upon understanding the various mechanisms responsible for adaptation to weightlessness and the physiological problems encountered upon return to Earth. Later programs will extend space assignments to 180 days or more and will include enhanced physiological countermeasures for low gravity and radiation effects.

When the planetary exploration missions begin, Freedom will become a transportation node where both lunar and Martian vehicles will be assembled, tested, launched and recovered for future missions.

The next logical evolution of the process would be establishment of a permanent lunar base for scientific and commercial exploitation of the lunar surface. Rovers and crews could explore the geology and geophysics of the moon and samples could be examined in the lunar laboratories.

The moon provides an ideal location, just three days away by conventional propulsion, at which humans can learn to live and work in an extraterrestrial environment with increasing self-sufficiency, using local lunar resources to support themselves.

The lunar outpost could both advance science and serve as a testbed for validating critical mission systems, hardware, technology, human capabilities, and operational techniques that will be applied to future exploration.

Once the lunar outpost has verified the techniques and demonstrated the systems, the first human expedition to Mars will be launched if, indeed, it has not already been launched. Missions to Mars will establish a Martian outpost with the objective of conducting research and exploration of the solar system's most Earth-like planet, expanding our understanding of the solar system, and living and working in an extraterrestrial environment with a high degree of self reliance.

In 1989 and 1990, NASA used the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) to fly the Magellan, Galileo and Ulysses planetary missions from the shuttle. The IUS has put NASA's scientific programs back on track earlier and more cost effectively than any other alternative approach.

In eight months Magellan mapped 90% of the surface of Venus, using advanced radar to penetrate the planet's thick, poisonous clouds with a resolution 10 times greater than any before achieved.

Galileo will orbit Jupiter and its moons for two years after a slingshot trip from Earth lasting six years. The spacecraft and a probe sent into the Jovian atmosphere will provide scientific information and possible clues about how the solar system was formed.

Ulysses left Earth orbit to explore the polar regions of our Sun. Its sophisticated instruments will measure complex physical processes as well as unexpected phenomena to better understand the formations and deaths of stars.

The capability offered by the IUS to perform NASA missions provides an attractive and cost-effective solution for accomplishing the planetary programs. The system is safe and reliable and is compatible with the entire shuttle fleet and requires no orbiter modifications. All of the necessary resources and assets (engineers, technicians, hardware, etc.) are in place and available to support the planetary missions.

A cooperative plan has been established with the USAF to provide IUS units from inventory with paybacks to the Air Force with new units as they are produced. This results in NASA being able to conduct its missions on an efficient schedule, while the USAF benefits by replacing existing IUS units with new ones. This assures that previously procured nits will fly well within their designated shelf life.

(Source: Boeing Aerospace, POB 3999, Seattle, WA 98124-2499).

While exploratory craft may secretly be in lunar orbit at the present time, it seems unlikely that Cascade Engines have been developed to propel large payloads of crews and materials out of Earth orbit at speeds greater than 18,000 to 25,000 miles per hour. If it were otherwise, government agencies would have them available for use on vehicles scheduled for missions to the several planets of this solar system and beyond.

If Cascade Engines are available, why is NASA spending millions of hard-won dollars on obsolete technology (IUS, shuttles, multi-stage boosters) and unusable hardware that would eat up their annual budget while producing only short-term benefits? Despite the Presidential Referendum on Space Exploration, NASA still must rely upon a budget committee for funding of current and future missions. Missions that produce only a few short-term results are usually relegated to file 13 and will not be funded for the next fiscal year.

Placing satellites and other hardware into Earth orbit or into deep space with the STS (shuttle) program is, without question, the most expensive and time-consuming method of accomplishing the task.

Certainly if NASA had a better, faster, less expensive way of achieving the same results, they would utilize it. That they do not is evidence enough that alternative engines such as those reported on UFOs do not yet exist.

In 1989-1990 NASA utilized IUS systems because direct flights were not achievable using any existing alternative system. If they are available now were they built from alien technology? Probably not.

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