[FPSPACE] NASA and NEOs[Scanned by MAIL]
epgrondine at hotmail.com
Sat Apr 7 17:13:19 EDT 2007
The job of the US Air Force is to defend this country against military
threats, and they do a good job of it; I like to see them focused on that
job, and not have their attention taken off of it. True, the AF has an
operational need because the detonations of small impactors set off the
early warning systems something like 13 times a year, but...
First off, finding an approaching comet with sufficient time to do something
requires the earliest warning possible. Now this problem has been analyzed
again and again, and the best system is based on the Moon; the next best
ones are also based in deep space.
Now are you proposing an AF facility on the Moon? The AF operating detection
instruments in deep space? I myself like the AF focused as it is now on
problems a little closer to home.
Also, stopping one of these things from hitting is going to require learning
a whole lot more about them. NASA has already done some of this, and done
it well, so it seems that they have some skills in this. I myself would
rather have the AF focusing its attention on stopping things coming from a
little closer to home.
As far as the budget goes, the AF has plenty to do right now with the money
it is getting, and does a good job, while NASA wastes billions on "fun"
projects to satisfy a few Mars nuts.
As fas as NASA "science" goes, NASA has always stiffed the scientists trying
to track these things for us all.
I agree with you that NASA has to change, and as a matter of fact the
Congress told the NASA Administrator in December of 2005 to change NASA.
Since then the NASA Administrator has told them he can't follow their
instructions. Now what do you think the Representatives and Senators ought
to do next? They seem to want to help the Adminstrator change NASA. Call me
an old grounch if you want, but I'd fire his *** on the spot.
Now I always think seeing Mars is "fun", but how about NASA takes care of
some immediate real problems first? Asteroid 2004 MN4 will be back around
too nearby in 2029, while the fragments of Comet Schwassmann Wachmann 3 are
due in 2022.
I really like your idea of simply flying another MER. That would leave about
$1.2 billion to get
the Infra Red telescope up by 2017, in time to track those Schwassmann
Wachmann 3 fragments on that pass, and another launch to tag Asteroid 2004
Mars will still be there afterward.
For that matter, you can call me cheap, but I can't see why NASA can't turn
the MERs over to a commercial entity, who could charge the Mars nuts VISAs
for their "fun". Let 'em enjoy Mars on their own dime, not mine, dammit. Me,
I'll probably pick up a scond hand copy on VHS.
Cao Knee Men,
Man and Impact in the Americas
The cheap old grouch
>From: "Matula, Thomas L." <MATULAT at uhv.edu>
>To: <dstdba at post4.tele.dk>, <FPSPACE at friends-partners.org>
>Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] NASA and NEOs[Scanned by MAIL]
>Date: Sat, 7 Apr 2007 12:07:30 -0500
>First, when I am talking about Near Earth Objects (NEO) I am talking about
>both Near Earth Asteroids (NEA) and Short-Period Comets. The U.S. Air Force
>using LINEAR also discovered 142 Comets in its first two years, more then
>had been found in the decade before.
>Dealing with the threat from Comets, especially long term comets, requires
>more then simply doing a survey. It requires constant vigilance. And again,
>if you want someone to be vigilant watching for threats who is better
>qualified? A science agency like NASA where Scientists are always looking
>for new discoveries or a organization like the U.S. Air Force who has been
>patiently keeping a vigilance on threats from Earth, and the danger of
>space debris to spacecraft, for decades. Again I would go with the
>organization that has the culture and experience to do the mission.
>Also your model of what it would take for NEO deflection/mitigation must be
>out of Hollywood not the real world. DO you actually think astronauts and
>manned missions would be used? That is the only way I see it costing the
>high price you seem to think it would cost.
>In the real world, if the U.S. Air Force ran the NEO mitigation mission it
>would be entirely unmanned. And the system would leverage economies of
>scale and existing technology to bring the program cost down to a level
>with other U.S. Air Force space programs.
>Only if you let NASA do it will the budget run off the scale.
>The reason is simple. NASA views robotic space missions as science projects
>with everything designed new for the mission and only one or two spacecraft
>actually built. Then you go start over for the next mission. This is why
>NASAs space missions are so expensive! Each is custom made, from the
>instruments to the spacecraft. Guess how much this adds to doing research?
>Imagine if instead of spending 1.7 billion to build a single new rover to
>explore Mars NASA used that funding to send more copies of the
>Spirit/Opportunity rovers. You probably could place 10 of those on Mars and
>learn far more then the single MSL provides, if its makes it to the surface
>But that is not the way of scientists who view each spacecraft mission as a
>science experiment with the opportunity to use new instruments to make
>different discoveries. That is why the scientists that control NASA keeping
>killing the lunar research program. Because of the belief that since humans
>sample a half dozen locations with technology that is primitive by todays
>standards there is no more useful work to be done on the Moon. They will
>probably abandon Mars the same way after the first human mission or two.
>But this is not the way to run NEO mitigation missions. You want to do
>specific tasks with fall into the same range for each NOW mission. Boring
>for scientist, but critical for success. This is why NEO mitigation should
>be seen as an engineering problem, not a one-off science experiment.
>In NEO missions you want standardization to reduce response time. You want
>standardized reliable spacecraft. This was the basics of my paper on a NEO
>Strategy that I referenced.
>Matula, Thomas L. (2002), A Multi-Mission Strategy for NEO
>Deflection/Destruction in the Proceedings of Space 2002: The 8th
>International Conference and Exposition on Engineering, Construction,
>Operations and Business in Space, eds., Bryan E. Laubacher, Stewart W.
>Johnson, Samuel E. Moskowitz, Philip J. Richter and David Klinger,
>Albuquerque, NM, March 17-21, 2002, p 289-293.
>The first thing you need to do, regardless of if it is a Long-term Comet,
>Short-term Comet or NEA, is get on site information. This means getting a
>survey spacecraft to it as fast as possible. This means a small craft to
>allow high-delta V for a rapid intercept with a standard battery of
>reliable instruments to survey it (size, mass, composition, etc.). You also
>want to have a series of small probes that would be used to plant
>seismographs on its surface to determine its sub-surface structure. All
>information will need BEFORE developing your deflection mitigation
>So what you want to do is develop a standardized NEO Reconn craft. Actually
>a standardized production run of craft, standing by reading to be launched
>on short notice. And you want to test the prototype craft by actually
>surveying selected NEOs now so you know it will be reliable and provide the
>Again who has experience managing such a multi-vehicle program? NASA which
>builds and struggle to manage a single space telescope or the U.S. Air
>Force which has built and operated a series of space telescopes? Or an
>organized that has managed such multiple spacecraft for decades?
>Same for the second robotic spacecraft needed for NEO
>deflection/mitigation. Basically a transport spacecraft that would carry
>whatever the defection/mitigation mission requires. From devices to paint
>the NEO to pure mass as a gravity tug to explosive devices. Whatever
>computer modeling based on the data collected by the NEO Reconn Sat shows
>would be most effective for THIS particular comet or asteroid. And again,
>you need field tests to determine the impact of such strategies on
>different NEOs to verify the models on your computer.
>And since humans are not in the loop your costs would not be as much as a
>human spaceflight program. Probably less NASA has spent on the Mars Program
>in the last decade or two. But again you wont get NASA off its Mars
>fixation, so you give this mission to the U.S. Air Force which has the
>capability, resources and DESIRE to do such a mission.
>Again who are you gonna call when the world needs saving? An agency who
>regards that as part of its core mission of protecting the U.S.A. or an
>agency that would regard it as a distraction from its science studies and
>search for Mars bacteria?
>From: Jens Kieffer-Olsen [mailto:dstdba at post4.tele.dk]
>Sent: Fri 4/6/2007 6:41 PM
>To: Matula, Thomas L.; FPSPACE at friends-partners.org
>Subject: RE: NASA and NEOs[Scanned by MAIL]
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Matula, Thomas L. [mailto:MATULAT at uhv.edu]
> Sent: Friday, April 06, 2007 11:45 PM
> > As for this statement.
> > [[[Should deflection be required one day that task might
> > of course be delegated to the Air Force. However, I
> > don't see why NASA couldn't do it too. After all, they
> > managed to get their act together in the sixties.]]]
> > Do you really want to gamble the fate of the Earth on NASA
> > getting its act together? Or would you rather give it to an
> > organization that already has its act together.
> > If your ship sinks at sea who are you gonna call? NOAA or the
> > Coast Guard/U.S. Navy?
> > And of course it helps if your rescuers have been training
> > for the mission and have the correct equipment, equipment
> > that was developed based on decades of experience. If we
> > don't practice moving NEOs around now it may well be too late
> > to learn the fine art of doing so once Earth is in the
> > cross-hairs of the next one. That may makes for a good movie
> > but would likely turn into a disaster in real life.
> > Tom
> First of all I think Goldin did an excellent job on a
> reduced budget. In particular his perception of the
> politics governing the cooperation with NASA's Russian
> counterpart was without blemish. I don't at all buy the
> b...s... criticism of ISS, and as far as shuttle goes
> he and his successors had no choice but to make use of
> the rule of thumb that you cannot jump off the back of
> a tiger until it has become real tired.
> On the crucial issue of whether it is justified to spend
> the taxpayers' money practicing NEO deflection just for
> the sake of it, the answer is plainly NO.
> It is a recipe for bankruptcy to throw money after large-
> scale but imaginary incidents when those smaller disasters
> far more likely to happen are not being addressed. And as
> Ed Grondine has repeatedly tried to communicate to you and
> everyone else, comets fragments are not to be ruled out as
> impactors. Just imagine the cost and futility of defining
> some sort of comet-fragment-on-collision-course-with-Earth
> scenario and then - just like Don Quixote - ride your fleet-
> footed steed hundreds of millions of miles out there to
> combat it. It beggars belief that such a bottomless drain
> on the budget is being seriously proposed.
> Refining PHO detection to the utmost our technology can
> offer makes sense instead, since what we require most of
> all in order to divert a PHO is TIME. Given enough time
> it may even be possible to practice deflection on an
> object SIMILAR to the impactor-to-be. That is the only
> practicing mission that is cost-justified.
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