Former NASA Head Questions Mars Timeline

By  //  August 19, 2014

Loading the player ...
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Delicious Digg This Stumble This

CLAIMS USA NO LONGER A 'SPACE-FARING NATION'

ABOVE VIDEO: Video taken by SpaceFlight Insider of former NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin’s remarks during the 17th Annual International Mars Society Conference.

HOUSTON, TEXAS — Former NASA administrator Michael Griffin doesn’t believe NASA’s current timeline to reach Mars is a realistic goal.

VIDEO: Rubio Emphasizes Need For Stronger U.S. Space ProgramRelated Story:
VIDEO: Rubio Emphasizes Need For Stronger U.S. Space Program

During session at the 7th Mars Society conference, Griffin criticized NASA’s current tools and strategic approach to deep space exploration. Griffin said the U.S. retreat from deep space after Apollo was akin to the U.S. Navy deploying just a single aircraft carrier.

griffin-180There are reasons other than technical why that has not happened,” Griffin said. “It isn’t about the money. The answer is because we are not a space-faring nation. The bottom line, for me, is that we have better stuff in museums than we have in operations today. I can’t think of another technical discipline in which that statement would be true…When it matters to us as a society, it will happen,” he said. “This means that as a society we believe that being on the space frontier  second to none  will bring benefits to future generations. The technology of our time, if we put it back together, would take us back to the Moon. With a little more effort, the technology of our time will take us to Mars”

NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover PayloadRelated Story:
NASA Announces Mars 2020 Rover Payload

Griffin, who served as NASA’s administrator during the second term of the Bush administration, was instrumental in the proposal of a new lunar program that was known as the Constellation program. Under Griffin’s plan for Constellation, the moon would serve as base to reach Mars. Constellation was designed to transition shuttle workers to a new program, but President Obama cancelled the program in 2010.

Under the new pla known as Asteroid Retrieval Mission (ARM), NASA aims for the robotic capture of a small asteroid or a large, boulder-sized piece of an asteroid that can be steered into a stable orbit around the Moon to demonstrate solar electric propulsion. ARM would U.S. astronauts to visit the object by the mid-2020s using the Orion crew capsule and Space Launch System hardware that NASA considers key to reaching Mars in the mid-2030’s.

BELOW IS AN EXCERPT FROM AVIATION MAGAZINE”S ARTICLE ON GRIFFIN’S COMMENTS 

ARM, however, is rapidly becoming the focus of similar concerns, raised most recently by the National Research Council but also by congressional auditors and the agency’s own inspector general.

ARM’s goals include the robotic capture of a small asteroid or a large, boulder-sized piece of an asteroid that can be steered into a stable orbit around the Moon to demonstrate solar electric propulsion. The new cislunar address would permit U.S. astronauts to visit the object by the mid-2020s using the Orion crew capsule and Space Launch System hardware that NASA considers key to reaching Mars in the mid-2030s.

If the U.S. was truly spacefaring, Mars would already have a human presence, Griffin said. He characterized the enterprise as requiring commitments much deeper than those advanced by presidential administrations and Washington legislators.

“When it matters to us as a society, it will happen,” he said. “This means that as a society we believe that being on the space frontier  second to none  will bring benefits to future generations.”

 


Click here to contribute your news or announcements Free