"Members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology tore apart NASA's Journey to Mars initiative, claiming the program needs a much more defined plan and clear, achievable milestones to work. Those in attendance also doubted the feasibility of a long-term Mars mission; they cited the massive amount of money needed for the trip — much more than NASA currently receives year to year — as well as a significant leap in technological development. Because of these enormous challenges, a few witnesses at the hearing suggested that NASA either rethink its approach or divert its attention to a Moon mission instead."
On Thursday, NASA released the names and designs of three vehicles that could replace the space shuttle as means of sending our astronauts into space. [more inside]
"In 'Somebody Will' I wanted to get across why I see sci-fi and fantasy fandom as a more positive, productive world than many of the hobbies and communities common in our culture. [...] The hardest part of the piece is singing it to the end without crying."[more inside]
Look, I get that some of you want to go to Mars even if it means dying there. I know you're bitter that there are no giant ads for Coke on the surface of the Moon. But what would it say about our species if we let you go and do stupid shit like that? The fact that our scientific community is mostly on board with not murdering you to explore Mars is a good thing. The fact that we are trying to figure how to safely and sustainably build on the Moon before doing it — that is a sign of progress.
How NASA brought the monstrous F-1 "moon rocket" engine back to life - "The story of young engineers who resurrected an engine nearly twice their age." [more inside]
NASA is designing a spiffy new rocket, the Space Launch System, which will lob people and cargo to the moon, an asteroid and eventually Mars. [more inside]
Six would-be astronauts will this week begin a 520-day mock space voyage to simulate a mission to Mars. How will they cope with the huge psychological pressures? It's a project that may simulate a mission that's going nowhere.
Compromise emerging for NASA's spaceflight future Since the announcement was made last month of the cancellation of Constellation (NASA's plan for returning to the Moon and Mars), the punditsphere has been ablaze with condemnation, support, and outright confusion over the future of American manned spaceflight. Keith Cowling, editor of the Nasawatch.com blog, has posted an interesting new development that if proven right, could prove to be a compromise between those wanting NASA to get out of manned spaceflight altogether and those seeking to keep the administration in the spaceflight business. [more inside]