Bill Anders Ridiculed Mars Mission

Bill Anders’ comment came as Nasa prepares new human missions to the Moon. It also wants to learn the skills and develop the technology to enable a future human landing on Mars. Nasa was approached for a response to Anders’ comments, but has not responded. “What’s the imperative? What’s pushing us to go to Mars?” he said, adding “I don’t think the public is that interested”.

Bill Anders, one of the first men to orbit the Moon has that it is “stupid” to plan human missions to Mars. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Anders, lunar module pilot of Apollo 8, the first human spaceflight to leave Earth’s orbit, said sending crews to Mars was “almost ridiculous”.

Bill Anders Claims NASA’s Mars Mission Is Ridiculous

An American astronaut who was on board the Apollo 8 manned spaceflight mission to the moon in 1968, claimed that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s quest to send a human crew to Mars is ridiculous. Bill Anders, 85, said that he is a big supporter of the unmanned missions to the planet, but told media that there is no public support for an expensive manned mission.

Bill Anders, who was on board the Apollo 8 mission to the moon in 1968, said there is no public support for an expensive manned journey to the Red Planet.

“What’s the imperative?” he asked. “What’s pushing us to go to Mars? I don’t think the public is that interested.” NASA hopes that the planned manned missions to the planet will help human beings learn skills and develop technology to enable a future landing of many people.

The 1968 Apollo 8 flight was the first human spaceflight to leave Earth’s orbit. However, Anders alleged that the present-day NASA has turned into a “jobs programme”. “NASA couldn’t get to the moon today,” he said. “They’re so ossified… NASA has turned into a jobs programme… many of the centres are mainly interested in keeping busy and you don’t see the public support other than they get the workers their pay and their Congressmen get re-elected.”

Anders’ Apollo 8 colleague Frank Borman, who commanded the mission, however, told BBC that the solar system needs “robust exploration”. But he expressed skepticism about the plans of Space X founder Elon Musk and Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos to send private missions to Mars. “Musk and Bezos, they’re talking about putting colonies on Mars, that’s nonsense,” he said.

On November 26, NASA’s InSight unmanned space probe landed successfully on Mars, and began to photograph the Red Planet’s landscape. The probe will study the interiors of the planet during a two-year mission.

Roscosmos Has Detected a Manufacturing Defect in Russian Soyuz Capsule

Roscosmos has ruled out a manufacturing defect causing the 2 mm-wide hole found in August on the Russian Soyuz capsule, but NASA has sought to dampen speculation of sabotage.

Two Russian cosmonauts have taken samples of their capsule’s exterior in the sixth hour of a spacewalk seeking to resolve the mystery of a small hole found in the craft docked at the International Space Station, a live broadcast by Russian space agency Roscosmos showed early on Wednesday.

The puncture has since been sealed, halting the oxygen leak. Officials said the crew – three US astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts and one German – were never in danger.

Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev’s spacewalk, originally expected to last for six hours, began at 1600 GMT on Tuesday.

After more than five hours of a rare broadcast – showing the cosmonauts in space trying to cut through an insulate of the spacecraft with a knife – they uncovered the external part of the hole, originally discovered in the capsule’s internal covering, and took samples of the exterior insulation.

In line with the instructions from the control center, they also took pictures of the external side of the hole.

“It is time to go home,” a voice from the control center said shortly before the cosmonauts started moving back toward the space station.

Elon Musk meets with NASA on SpaceX launch; key to flying Astronauts

Elon Musk met with a high-level NASA official about an upcoming launch that’s key to SpaceX becoming the first company flying astronauts for the U.S. agency.

Musk met with Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, in Washington on Thursday. The two discussed SpaceX’s Demo-1 launch slated for January, NASA spokeswoman Megan Powers wrote in an email.

Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Boeing Co. have contracts to ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station as part of what’s known as the Commercial Crew program. The agency’s latest schedule has SpaceX’s first uncrewed demonstration flight on Jan. 7, and the first flight with astronauts on board in June, though timelines often slip.

Representatives for SpaceX didn’t respond to request for comment on the meeting.

NASA said in an email last month that it would conduct a “cultural assessment study” with its commercial partners to ensure that they’re meeting the agency’s requirements for workplace safety, including “adherence to a drug-free environment.” The statement followed a Washington Post report that said NASA ordered a safety review of SpaceX and Boeing after Musk smoked marijuana during a podcast interview in September.

NASA awarded both companies a combined $6.8 billion in contracts in September 2014 to revive America’s ability to fly to the space station without buying seats on Russian Soyuz capsules.

NASA probe reaches giant Asteroid which may slam into Earth 166 years from now

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa) deep space probe has reached an asteroid which has a potential to collide with Earth. Nasa’s deep space explorer called Osiris-Rex, short for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer, flew On Monday (December 3) to a skyscraper-sized asteroid believed to hold organic compounds that are fundamental to life.

OSIRIS-REX

Nasa’s deep space probe Osiris-Rex was launched in September 2016. Osiris-Rex in 2016 embarked on a never done before mission. The seven-year mission involved a close-up survey of the asteroid Bennu and collection of sample from Bennu’s surface and return to Earth for study.

ASTEROID BENNU

Bennu is a rocky mass which is roughly a third of a mile wide and shaped like a massive oaknut. It orbits the sun at roughly the same distance as Earth. The asteroid is thought to be rich in carbon-based organic molecules that date back to the earliest days of the solar system.

It is believed that on this asteroid, water which is another vital component to the evolution of life may also be trapped in the asteroid’s minerals.

ASTEROIDS COLLIDING WITH EARTH

The boffins believe that asteroids and comets when crashed into early Earth delivered organic compounds and water that seeded planet for life; atomic-level analyses of samples from Bennu could help prove that theory

WHY STUDY BENNU?

Now on Earth, we don’t entertain things that harm us. That’s a general behaviour of Earthlings. But, like the existential virtuoso Albert Camus once said, “Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.” So, there are scientists who have more existential reason to study Bennu.

Let’s start with destruction; scientists estimate there is a one-in-2,700 chance of the asteroid slamming catastrophically into Earth 166 years from now.

That probability ranks Bennu No 2 on Nasa’s catalogue of 72 near-Earth objects potentially capable of hitting the planet.

BENNU’S COLLISION WITH EARTH

Osiris-Rex will help scientists understand how heat radiated from the sun is gently steering Bennu on an increasingly menacing course through the solar system. That solar energy is believed to be nudging the asteroid ever closer toward Earth’s path each time the asteroid makes its closest approach to our planet every six years.

“By the time we collect the sample in 2020 we will have a much better idea of the probability that Bennu would impact Earth in the next 150 years,” Reuters quoted mission spokeswoman Erin Morton as saying.

Scientists have estimated that in 2135 Bennu could pass closer to Earth than the moon, which orbits at a distance of about 4,02,336 km, and possibly come closer still some time between 2175 and 2195.

OSIRIS-REX AND BENNU

Osiris-Rex reached the “preliminary survey” phase of its mission on Monday, soaring to within 12 miles of the asteroid. The spacecraft will pass just 1.2 miles from Bennu in late December, where it will enter the object’s gravitational pull.

Reuters reported that from that stage, the spacecraft will begin gradually tightening its orbit around the asteroid, spiraling to within just 6 feet of its surface. Osiris-Rex will then extend its robot arm to snatch a sample of Bennu’s terrain in a “touch-and-go” maneuver set for July 2020.

Osiris-Rex will later fly back to Earth, jettisoning a capsule bearing the asteroid specimen for a parachute descent in the Utah desert, US in September 2023.

BRUTE FORCE VS EARTH-BOUND ASTEROIDS

NASA is developing a strategy for deflecting Bennu, or any other asteroid found to be on a collision course with Earth, by use of a special spacecraft to slam into the object hard enough to nudge it onto a safer path, Lindley Johnson, a planetary defense officer with Nasa’s Science Mission Directorate, said.

“But this is all dependent on the outcome of a very close approach that Bennu has with Earth in September 2135,” Johnson said.

NASA’s Osiris-Rex Probe reaches Asteroid Bennu

NASA’s deep space explorer Osiris-Rex flew on December 3 reaches within a dozen miles of its destination, a skyscraper-sized asteroid believed to hold organic compounds fundamental to life as well as the potential to collide with Earth in about 150 years.

Launched in September 2016,Osiris-Rex embarked on NASA’s unprecedented seven-year mission to conduct a close-up survey of the asteroid Bennu, collect a sample from its surface and return that material to Earth for study.

Bennu, a rocky mass roughly a third of a mile wide and shaped like a giant acorn, orbits the sun at roughly the same distance as Earth and is thought to be rich in carbon-based organic molecules dating back to the earliest days of the solar system.

Water, another vital component to the evolution of life, may also be trapped in the asteroid’s minerals.

Scientists believe that asteroids and comets crashing into early Earth delivered organic compounds and water that seeded the planet for life, and atomic-level analysis of samples from Bennu could help prove that theory.

But there is another, more existential reason to study Bennu.

Scientists estimate there is a one-in-2,700 chance of the asteroid slamming catastrophically into Earth 166 years from now. That probability ranks Bennu No. 2 on NASA’s catalog of 72 near-Earth objects potentially capable of hitting the planet.

Osiris-Rex will help scientists understand how heat radiated from the sun is gently steering Bennu on an increasingly menacing course through the solar system. That solar energy is believed to be nudging the asteroid ever closer toward Earth’s path each time the asteroid makes its closest approach to our planet every six years.

“By the time we collect the sample in 2020 we will have a much better idea of the probability that Bennu would impact Earth in the next 150 years,” mission spokeswoman Erin Morton said.

Scientists have estimated that in 2135 Bennu could pass closer to Earth than the moon, which orbits at a distance of about 250,000 miles, and possibly come closer still some time between 2175 and 2195.

Osiris-Rex reached the “preliminary survey” phase of its mission on Monday, soaring to within 12 miles of the asteroid. The spacecraft will pass just 1.2 miles from Bennu in late December, where it will enter the object’s gravitational pull.

From that stage, the spacecraft will begin gradually tightening its orbit around the asteroid, spiraling to within just 6 feet of its surface. Osiris-Rex will then extend its robot arm to snatch a sample of Bennu’s terrain in a “touch-and-go” maneuver set for July 2020.

Osiris-Rex will later fly back to Earth, jettisoning a capsule bearing the asteroid specimen for a parachute descent in the Utah desert in September 2023.

NASA is developing a strategy for deflecting Bennu, or any other asteroid found to be on a collision course with Earth, by use of a special spacecraft to slam into the object hard enough to nudge it onto a safer path, said Lindley Johnson, a planetary defense officer with NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

“But this is all dependent on the outcome of a very close approach that Bennu has with Earth in September 2135,” Johnson said. “We‘ll just need to wait and see. Rather, our great-great-grandchildren will need to see.”

Private companies, not NASA, to carry out next US moon landing program

NASA on 30 November named nine US companies, including Lockheed Martin Corp, that will compete for funding under the space agency’s renewed long-term moon program, a private-public undertaking to develop technology that will explore the lunar surface.

The companies, some which will develop small launch vehicles and robotic rovers over the next 10 years, will vie for a chunk of the $2.6 billion under the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.

As soon as 2022, NASA expects to begin construction on a new space station laboratory that will orbit the moon and act as a pit stop for missions to deeper parts of our solar system, such as Mars.

“When we go to the moon, we want to be one customer of many customers in a robust marketplace between the earth and the moon,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said at a news briefing on Thursday.

“Lunar payloads could fly on these contracted missions as early as 2019,” NASA said in an earlier news release.

In addition to Lockheed Martin, NASA selected Draper, which developed computers for the Apollo missions, Astrobotic Technology Inc, Firefly Aerospace Inc, Moon Express and four others to potentially develop equipment for the program.

NASA to partner with 9 US Companies to make Lunar Robotic payloads

US-based space agency NASA on Thursday announced nine commercial American companies in a partnership to develop lunar robotic landers in the coming decade.

NASA would buy space on commercial robotic landers to deliver payloads to the lunar surface, missions that could start as early as next year, Xinhua news agency reported.

Those companies are eligible for competing for NASA’s contracts valued at $2.6 billion, according to the US-based space agency.

“The relatively small and inexpensive payloads delivered via the CLPS program would be followed by more traditional medium- and large-class missions,” said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

CLPS stands for Commercial Lunar Payload Services. It is an experimental part of the agency’s plan for Americans to orbit the Moon starting in 2023, and land astronauts on the surface no later than the late 2020s.

“These early commercial delivery missions will also help inform new space systems we build to send humans to the Moon in the next decade,” said NASA.

Those companies are Astrobotic, Deep Space Systems, Firefly Aerospace, Intuitive Machines, Lockheed Martin, Mastern Space Systems, Moon Express, Draper and Orbit Beyond.

Orbit Beyond, a spacecraft company, is expected to fly its spacecraft to the Moon by 2020.

Masten Space Systems has a fleet of lunar landers that it plans to send to the Moon in 2021 while Moon Express also also has a host of landers that vary in size and capability.

Astrobotic Technology has built a lander called Peregrine, and have obtained backing from NASA to create a standalone system to land on the moon.

Lockheed Martin is planning for a massive lander that could ferry four astronauts from the Lunar Gateway to the moon, while Deep Space Systems is an aerospace engineering company developing the Mars Phoenix lander.

Firefly Aerospace designs, manufactures and operates launch vehicles for the small satellite and Draper works to provide payload operations guidance systems for the lunar lander.

Intuitive Machines, based in the state of Texas, specializes in autonomous systems.

Bridenstine said it was not a “guarantee” that all those missions would be successful, but even failed ones would be equally important.

NASA sets eyes on Moon, To announce Partnership with US Companies

Post the historic InSight touchdown on Mars, NASA is now set to focus on Moon mission by announcing new partnerships with American companies, the US space agency said.

Working with US companies is the next step to achieving long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and Mars, NASA said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We are announcing new Moon partnerships with American companies… The US is returning to the surface of the Moon, and we’re doing it sooner than you think!” Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator tweeted.

The agency will reveal details about its endeavour to return to the moon at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

NASA will unveil the names of future partners chosen to send astronauts back to the Moon, for the first time in nearly five decades.

Known as the “Moon to Mars” project, NASA will lead an innovative and sustainable exploration of the Moon together with commercial and international partners.

The initiative falls under the Space Policy Directive-1, signed by US President Donald Trump in December 2017.

“The directive I am signing today will refocus America’s space programme on human exploration and discovery. It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use,” Trump had said.

“This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints — we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, worlds beyond.”