SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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VISION 2001: FUTURE SPACE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON SPACE AND AERONAUTICS
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
APRIL 3, 2001
Serial No. 1071
Printed for the use of the Committee on Science
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/science
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCInternet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: (202) 5121800 Fax: (202) 5122250
Mail: Stop SSOP, Washington, DC 204020001
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE
HON. SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York, Chairman
LAMAR S. SMITH, Texas
CONSTANCE A. MORELLA, Maryland
CHRISTOPHER SHAYS, Connecticut
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
JOE BARTON, Texas
KEN CALVERT, California
NICK SMITH, Michigan
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
DAVE WELDON, Florida
GIL GUTKNECHT, Minnesota
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
GEORGE R. NETHERCUTT, JR., Washington
FRANK D. LUCAS, Oklahoma
GARY G. MILLER, California
JUDY BIGGERT, Illinois
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
FELIX J. GRUCCI, JR., New York
MELISSA A. HART, Pennsylvania
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
RALPH M. HALL, Texas
BART GORDON, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
LYNN C. WOOLSEY, California
LYNN N. RIVERS, Michigan
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
JOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
MARK UDALL, Colorado
DAVID WU, Oregon
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
JOSEPH M. HOEFFEL, Pennsylvania
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOE BACA, California
JIM MATHESON, Utah
STEVE ISRAEL, New York
DENNIS MOORE, Kansas
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
C O N T E N T S
April 3, 2001
Opening Statement of Chairman Dana Rohrabacher
Buzz Aldrin, President, Starcraft Enterprises
Dr. Lawrence M. Krauss, Chairman of the Department of Physics, Case Western Reserve University
Letter of Funding Disclosure
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. Wesley T. Huntress, Director of the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory
Letter to Chairman Rohrabacher
Mr. Allen Steele, Science Fiction Author
Abstract of Testimony
NEXT OUTPOSTS IN SPACE: Recommendations For America's Space Program
Letter from the National Space Society
VISION 2001: FUTURE SPACE
APRIL 3, 2001
House of Representatives,
Committee on Science,
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The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 4 p.m., in Room 2318 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Dana Rohrabacher [Chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. I will call this meeting of Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee to order. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new members to the Subcommittee for Space and Aeronautics. Gary Miller is not here. John Culberson, from Texas, is here; and Mike Pence, from Indiana is not here.
So, welcome to all of you. And I look forward to working with the new members, and also I look forward to working with our ranking member, Mr. Gordon. And we have had a very close relationship, a bipartisan working relationship, on this Committee, and it will continue.
And, without objection, the Chair will be granted authority to recess the Committee at any time, in case we have votes. Hearing no objections, so ordered.
Since the launching of the rocket age, human goals have expanded expeditiously. What was only imagined a few years ago now seems achievable. Although we witnessed tremendous technological advancements in space flight and in science in these last 40 years, we have yet to realize the full potential of space, as envisioned by such 20th century literary giants, I guess the 19th century as well, because H. G. Wells spanned the centuries: H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert Heinlein, all men of vision.
Their insights, however, enable us to explore visionary concepts of future space exploration, commercialization, and utilization.
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Today our hearing will focus on visions of the future, ranging from the physics of space travel to the economics of space enterprise. Today's science fiction inspiredor yesterday's science fictions, however, inspired today's reality, and we hope that some of the testimony today will inspire us, as well.
But as far as yesterday's science fiction, we look to Jules Verne, who inspired the inventions that perhaps led us to those inventions that gave us the capability of going to the Moon. And perhaps the idea of warp drives, and hyper-space will provide a vision to the people of this planet, which will enable us to journey the stars, and to make routine access to deep space as commonplace as air travel is today.
Of course I would hope that we just get into a routine travel to near Earth orbit would just be something that I would be grateful for.
I share the view that visionary concepts provide us at least a mental picture for thinking about how to realize such dreams. Hopefully technologies like propulsion, nano-technology, and artificial intelligence, will mate to make such things as asteroid and Moon mining, space tourism, and future generation launch systems, and space based power generation systems. Not only will it make these things a reality, but this vision will help us makes these goals affordable, as well.
There is great wisdom in the biblical inscription on the wall behind me, ''where there is no vision the people will perish.''
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That said, what kind of space program do we envision for the nation in the next 20 years and beyond that? And how do we successfully remove the barriers that preclude us from reaching these goals?
Many envision Mars as the next step for man in space, while others see the development of low Earth orbit leading to a return trip to the Moon. But are these the only visions for the American space program? I think clearly that is not the case.
We are fortunate to have with us individuals today who share their vision for humankind's future role in space. For humankind's ascendency into place.
Their views will cover the full gamut of space activities that concern our push toward the stars, which will include access to space, space commercialization, and exploration and utilization of space goals.
I hope that today's hearing will inspire us with a promise that space offers for all humankind. The fact is that this is the great frontier, and just as the great frontier of two centuries ago offered an inspiration to all human beings, the space frontier continues to excite the imagination of young people, the thinkers and dreamers, in our society and throughout the planet.
I would now like to recognize my ranking member. Well, first I recognize Mr. Gordon, and then we will recognize.
Mr. GORDON. Mr. Smith.
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Chairman ROHRABACHER. All right, first I will be happy to recognize Lamar Smith, from Texas, the great state of Texas, who has a few words about vision.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Chairman, I will be brief.
I thank you for yielding a couple of minutes to me. Also, thank you for holding the first hearing of this Congress on our vision for future space exploration, a topic that stretches the imagination of the American people.
I have a personal interest in space, and space technology. In fact, my office shelves are lined with books by those who write about the universe, including Lawrence Krauss, who will testify here today.
Recent events show how far we have already come in transforming science fiction into science fact. For instance, the space station is permanently manned. Scientists continue to discover new planets in our galaxy, some of which may harbor life, or even intelligent life. And over the weekend the first black hole was found in our galactic halo.
These advances, and others, certainly invite further scientific inquiry.
As a result of this hearing, Mr. Chairman, I hope we, as public officials, can learn how to stimulate the American peoples' interest in the exploration of the cosmos.
I also hope we hear from each of the witnesses about new technologies that are being developed to lessen the cost of space transportation. And I am particularly interested in how to bring down the costs of launching payloads.
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Mr. Chairman, let me close with a quote from T. S. Eliot, who said, and many of you are familiar, I think, with this excerpt from his poem, ''We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all of our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.''
Author Timothy Ferris said that the fourth line of Eliot's poem is, ''cosmology's credo. For to find our place, we must know the place, cellar to ceiling, from the tap roots to the stars, the whole shebang.''
Again, Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing.
Chairman ROHRABACHER . Thank you Lamar, if you have some more poetry you would like to read, we can certainly give you that opportunity.
Thank you very much.
And now for our ranking member, Bart Gordon, from Tennessee.
Mr. GORDON. Thank you, and good afternoon. I want to add my welcome to the witnesses at this afternoon's hearing. This hearing should be an interesting one, and I want to commend Chairman Rohrabacher for his initiative in holding it.
There is always a danger that those of us who have to deal with legislation and budgets on daily basis, can get caught up with near-term issues. It is appropriate that we take a moment to consider where we want our nation's space program will go over the long term. So, each of you has a different perspective as to what should be done, and that is not a bad thing.
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Instead, I think your testimony will help us to better understand the potential paths NASA and our space program can take in the future.
With that, I again add my welcome, and am anxious to hear your testimony.
Chairman ROHRABACHER . Thank you very much.
I would like to recognize that we have with us the former Chairman of the Subcommittee, now ranking member of the Full Committee, Ralph Hall, who is a treasure-house of stored information, and we appreciate every time that he joins us, and Ralph would you like to make any opening statement? Add a few thoughts to this.
Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, I have not heard the opening statements that have been made, but I am satisfied with them, and I am anxious to hear these four gentlemen.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you, Ralph. Without objection, the opening statements will be put in the written record, so we can get right down to testimony. And hearing no objection, so ordered.
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON SPACE AND AERONAUTICS
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
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VISION 2001: FUTURE SPACE
Tuesday, April 3, 2001
4:00 to 6:00 P.M.
2318 Rayburn House Office Building
On Tuesday, April 3, 2001, the House Science Subcommittee will hold a hearing to explore visionary concepts of America's future in space. Four witnesses will present testimony examining issues as far ranging as the physics of space travel to the potential for our science fiction fantasies to become reality. As these are very broad visionary concepts, we have encouraged witnesses to let their imaginations roam.
The panel will include:
Dr. Buzz Aldrin, President, Starcraft Enterprises, holds a Ph.D. in Aeronautics from MIT, served as a USAF Bomber Pilot in the Korean War and a NASA astronaut in both the Gemini and Apollo programs. He was the 2nd man to step on the surface of the moon in 1969. Dr. Aldrin chairs both the National Space Society and the Share Space Foundation and was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame on March 19, 1993.
Dr. Lawrence M. Krauss, Chairman of the Department of Physics, Case Western Reserve University, is an internationally known theoretical physicist with research interests including the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology, the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. Professor Krauss is the author of over 170 scientific publications and several acclaimed popular books, including the national bestseller The Physics of Star Trek.
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Dr. Wesley T. Huntress, Director of the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory, earned his BS in Chemistry at Brown University and his Ph.D. in Chemical Physics at Stanford University. Prior to joining the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Dr. Huntress served as the Associate Administrator for Space Science at NASA where he was responsible for NASA's programs in Astrophysics, Planetary Exploration and Space Physics. Dr. Huntress also served the agency previously as Director of the Solar System Exploration Division and at Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He is the recipient of a number of honors including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.
Mr. Allen Steele, Science Fiction Author, received his BA in Communications from New England College and his MA in Journalism from the University of Missouri. He became a full-time science fiction writer in 1988, following publication of his first short story, Live From The Mars Hotel. His novels include Orbital Decay, Clarke County, Space, Lunar Descent, Labyrinth of Night, The Jericho Iteration, The Tranquillity Alternative, and A King of Infinite Space. He has also published three collections of short fiction, while two of his novellas, The Death of Captain Future and Where Angels Fear to Tread, received Hugo Awards for Best Novella of the year.
In 1985, Congress created the National Space Commission to develop an agenda to carry America's civil space enterprise into the next century. The National Space Commission published the report Pioneering the Space Frontier the following year. The report recommends three primary national space goals: 1) the U.S. should lead the exploration and development of the space frontier, 2) the space program should advance science, technology, and enterprise, and 3) the U.S. should build institutions and systems that make vast new resources accessible and support human settlements beyond earth's orbit, from the highlands of the Moon to the plains of Mars.(see footnote 1)
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Fifteen years later, at the dawn of the 21st Century, our nation has competing visions of its future in space. The Secretary of Defense has renewed the military's interest in acquiring space assets and China has developed a man-rated space capsule in its pursuit of becoming the third space faring nation. Most recently the nation has witnessed the fiery end of the Mir mission, the assembly of the International Space Station, and the unprecedented landing of the NEAR spacecraft on the surface of the Eros asteroid. As important as these events are, it is important to take a step back to reexamine our efforts in space as new challenges and opportunities highlight new possibilities. This hearing will explore different visions of mankind's future in space exploration, commercialization, and utilization.
With the end of the end of the Cold War, the emergence of a new economy, and decades of aerospace research and development, the world is a very different place than when our space program was first created. Some feel that the time has come for private enterprise to lead the country in the development of space. The Space Frontier Foundation and other groups argue that if the cost of placing payloads in orbit can be reduced the business world will have the incentive to invest in space enterprises and open the frontier to the public. In past testimony before the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, Mr. Rick Tumlinson, President of the Space Frontier Foundation, identified the high cost of access to space as the central barrier to a new era in space enterprise for all people. ''The development of cheap, reliable and regular transportation to and from space is THE key requirement for opening the space frontier.''(see footnote 2) These groups argue that an evolution in launch vehicle design and operation will be needed to lower the cost of access to space and support the private development of advanced technologies. They also remain critical of what they perceive as the government's monopoly on access to space. This point is illustrated in a recent Space Frontier Foundation press release: ''Instead of privatizing the Shuttle years ago, or supporting commercial space transportation, NASA maintains its human spaceflight monopoly. Meanwhile, former socialists in Russia are working with private American citizens to carry commercial passengers into space for around $20 million per ticket. What's wrong with this picture?''(see footnote 3)
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Indeed, there are aerospace companies that envision the completely private development of spacea vision of a purely market driven enterprise that includes the government as only a customer. One such company, Bigelow Aerospace, has even created the Bigelow Prize, an annual $10,000 prize, awarded to any domestic person, organization or company outside the satellite industry that contributes the most toward the promotion and/or use of space for private enterprise purposes without government ownership. The company envisions space tourism as the key to opening the frontier to the public. The company's president, Robert Bigelow, has said, ''get Uncle Sam out of the field as the exclusive owner of space.''
Perhaps the more traditional vision of space is one in which government investment and government programs are the driving forces behind space activity. The idea that the government should lead the way in the exploration of space has existed since the beginning of the Space Age. Without funding and leadership from the federal government, the early advances in rocketry and missile technology might not have materialized as rapidly during the space race of the Cold War.
In July of 1989, drawing upon this more traditional vision, President George Bush announced his Space Exploration Initiative. This initiative was intended to lead the country ''to the Moon, back to the future. And this time, back to stay''(see footnote 4) and then on to Mars and the settlement of space. This vision of space exploration was to be a government led program that would span several decades. The program's goals were to: 1) increase our knowledge of our solar system and beyond, 2) rejuvenate interest in science and engineering, 3) refocus U.S. position in world leadership, 4) develop technology with terrestrial application, 5) facilitate further space exploration and commercialization, and 6) to boost the U.S. economy.
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In 1991 the Synthesis Group on America's Space Exploration Initiative published the report, America at the Threshold, which recommended the creation, by executive order, of a multiagency National Program Office. This organization would include NASA, DOD, and DOE personnel. As a result of the cost, which NASA projected to exceed $400 billion over 30 years, and weak support in Congress, the Space Exploration Initiative was never implemented. While many advocates point to the success of the Apollo mission as an example of what government led programs can accomplish, the creation of a larger and more costly government funded program is only one vision of what the U.S. can achieve in space.
Other groups believe that a partnership between the government and private ventures is the most effective way to utilize existing programs to promote greater access to space. They assert that NASA could benefit from the commercialization of space by relying on the industries it helped to mature over the past several decades for operations and support. Ms. Pat Dasch, Executive Director, National Space Society, argued in testimony submitted to the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics: ''Private industry is a natural ally of NASA that can tap the deep pockets of Wall Street. Industry will be willing to invest in space enterprises once technologies are validated and it is possible to generate a profit.''(see footnote 5)
Space commercialization exists today as an example of this type of successful public and private partnership. The global satellite industry reached an astounding $69.1 billion in revenues for 1999.(see footnote 6) Commercial interest in space has grown dramatically in recent years, with global commercial space revenues exceeding government expenditures for the first time in 1997. The potential for profitability and advances in research and development seem limitless. Other nontraditional commercialization ideas that are currently being discussed include asteroid and Moon mining, microgravity manufacturing, transportation (i.e. fast package delivery, high speed civil transport, space tourism, and space servicing and transfer), entertainment, space settlements, agriculture, advertising, and space-based power generation systems.
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Witnesses have been asked to address:
1. What kind of space program the nation could or should pursue in the next 20 years and beyond?
2. What are the barriers to achieving this vision?
3. What needs to happen in order to realize that future?
I ask, also, unanimous consent to insert in the appropriate place in the record for the background memorandum prepared by the majority staff of this hearing. Hearing no objection, so ordered.
I now request unanimous consent for, that the record for this hearing be remained open until April 17, 2001, so that additional written testimony may be written and inserted in the record. Without objection, so ordered.
Today we have four witnesses who will present testimony, examining issues as far-reaching as the physics of space travel, to the possible reality of making our science fiction fantasies a reality, and we are anxious to hear what they have to say. But, before I do introduce them, I would like to ask if the witnesses could try to keep their testimony down to about 5 minutes, which gives us more time to interact and ask questions. And, if you can do that, we would appreciate it, and all of your entire testimony will, of course, be put into the written record of this hearing.
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We have with us as lead off witness, a doctor, a doctor, just, I just call him Buzz, we all call him Buzz, Dr. Buzz Aldrin, the President of Starcraft Enterprises. And Buzz was marveled as a man who has walked on the Moon, but he has authored several science fiction novels, and non-fiction books, as well. And he is a man who commands respect throughout this world, wherever he goes.
And he especially commands the respect of this Committee, and this Committee Chairman. And we were anxious, frankly, Buzz Aldrin came to me with the idea of trying to have, not just a hearing on the details, but a hearing on vision, and to try to get a good way to kick off this new Congress, and to have a better understanding of the potentials for space.
So, I thank him, first off, for suggesting to me that we have this hearing, and I want to welcome you, Buzz, here to testify today. You may proceed.
STATEMENT OF BUZZ ALDRIN, PRESIDENT, STARCRAFT ENTERPRISES
Mr. ALDRIN. Mr. Chairman, I really want to thank you very much for giving me this opportunity, and it is a great privilege to speak in front of all the members here who represent our body that determines what our future in space should be authorized to do, especially Congressman Hall, and the Chairman of this.
Vision 2001. I would like to mention that I am not going to speak about science fiction today, I hope. Even although it did offer a great opportunity in visiting Arthur C. Clark in 2001 less than a month ago. We shared some very interesting discussions.
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I would like to excerpt a few remarks from my testimony, and I will be referring to it, and you may want to refer to it also, as I go through some of the visuals that I have.
Forty years ago, on Thursday, April 12th, Yuri Gargarin became the first human to useto see the Earth from space, an event that sparked President Kennedy's commitment to put an American on the Moon. Next month will mark the fortieth anniversary of that historic speech.
Kennedy belonged to the so-called ''Greatest Generation''people who were willing to accept risk and sacrifice, as their last great gesture, they put humanity on the Moon.
One thinks of the dying lieutenant's last two words to Private Ryan: ''Learn this.''
We stand at the threshold of a new renaissance, what a time to be alive. Today's young will live to see settlements in space, unlimited energy from fusion, and explosions of knowledge on all frontiers.
The only obstacles to that future are complacency and a lack of commitment.
Risk has always been the price of any successful venture.
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The Apollo program showed not only what humanity can achieve with strong leadership and solid commitment, but also the capacity of such pursuits to arouse public participation and inspire a sense of purpose. History will remember the inhabitants of the last century as the people who went from Kitty Hawk to the Moon in 66 years.
On page five of my testimony I have five recommendations. I will just briefly mention those. The highest priority of NASA and Congressional support must be to develop lower cost to orbit systems.
Second, to eliminate the stifling regulations and procedures that hamper so many of us.
Third, charge NASA with investigating lower cost transportation systems, to reduce the cost by factors of two or three, rather than order of magnitude cost reduction improvements.
Four, focus NASA and the private sector on the near-term objective of flying ''people'' in space, and thoroughly assess the impact of flying tens of thousands of prospective paying passengers on the development and evolution of the next generation of launch vehicles.
Finally, we should charge NASA to study recommendations. These recommendations including the reusable cycling transportation system that I have described in my written testimony. And that is very suitable for the economic exploration of the Moon and Mars.
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If we can show a video now.
This is a system of a reusable first stage. What you are seeing now is a dual launch of a Booster B. I think that what we need is a two pillar architectural system, consisting of two stage to orbit, booster and an orbiter, that come in three sizes: small, medium, and large. And I think we may be clear just what those are.
This, I also have a model here that shows the booster medium, with an orbiter medium, external hydrogen tank.
The booster separates at about mach five and a half, or six; so that they can by-pass very expensive thermal protection systems, for heat seek aluminum.
The booster now, when it is empty of fuel, it re-enters the atmosphere 200 or 300 miles down range. Because it is staged at that minor velocity, the booster small, we are talking about, stages at about mach 3, as does this booster if we use it singly, with an upper stage expendable.
In the stage it has to be, after it turns back for the landing site it does not need to have jet engines to fly it back, it can glide back. Making it much simpler when it stages at that lower velocity.
As I mentioned the two pillar system that I propose is two stage to orbit, small, medium, and large; and then the development of a shuttle-derived, tank, habitat, heavy-lift vehicle. We want to land this at about 150 knots, and shortly you will see that the very significant feature that we have designed into this reusable first stage, and that is a removable propulsion module.
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If you remember the early, the jet fighters, F80's, F86's, the tail section came off, you take the engine out, put it in overhaul, because it is not reliable, and put a new one in, and then go fly the airplane again.
We think we are at that stage right now. Rocket engines are just not as reliable as they should be. 95% perhaps, manned vehicles.
Now, I have a few other videos that I can explain to you, but let me just show again the orbiter, with the external fuel tank, external hydrogen, that is a space shuttle main engine. And this is an Atlas III rocket, with a two Russians Harvey 180 engines. Very light-weight structure on the Atlas.
This is about the size of the 737, and it is a booster medium. The booster small is about the size of an F-15. Again, it has a Russian engine in it, because they've been developing engines.
That mediumthat small booster can boost various Air Force micro payloads into orbit, with expendable upper stages. It can also replace the solid rockets of both EELV's, both the Atlas V and the Delta IV, as the Air Force moves into reusable components. Of course you know that Lockheed has dropped out of launching EELV's from the West Coast, and they have also decided not to proceed with the heavy-lift version.
This is a very busy chart, but what it shows here is 4 year periods of implementation, up through 2021. A very modest start. We look at the stretched ET, with the hydrogen tank and two cylindrical oxygen tanks, and then the existing o-drive tank. So when we launch it into orbit, with solid rockets, and a side mount engine, but without an orbiter, we now can use those upper volume of empty hydrogen tanks that are connected to the wet oxygen/hydrogen tanks.
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Sky Lab, when it put upwith just three people put up the empty third stage hydrogen tank, the second stage put it up. The big volume, up there, right along with it, but we didn't use it. We didn't make an attempt to, because we could only put three people up there. In the future, when we want to put large habitats in orbit, this is the kind of system. And I am referring down here to looking at this initially, and then augmenting the present ISS, with a half module, which we have postponed at this point, and we may accept a half module that goes unto the Russian portion of the station.
This is a crew ejectable, recoverable vehicle, that goes onto the orbiter medium. By that I mean that the crew section, up here, is ejectable. That also can be used as a life boat at the space station. Instead of having one that only goes up and down inside the shuttle, many of the systems can be economized by not making a dead-ended system, but by having something that also allows abort from any point during the assent trajectory.
We havethe orbiter large, it replaces the present shuttle for fuel and cargo, and versions of that, and the same analogy with the KC-135 was implemented as a tanker for the Air Force, because we had a version that supplied the civil needs of transferring from propeller airlines to jet airlines. So the KC-135 and the 707 were developed together, just like the next generation shuttle for NASA should have versions of it that take people into space.
The entire complexion of the space program changes with high-volume traffic. That is what I believe we need to study.
These habitats that I have talked about support the L-1 port, and allow lunar landings with the orbiter medium, going to the L-1 port.
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The same analogy, in essence, gives us cyling space ships that go to Mars.
This is the family of first stage, this is medium. Medium, first stage boosters. And Athena II, and it moves up to a Centaur initial from orbit, and Titan from orbit, but it qualifies as a propulsion system that goes with the orbiter.
This is an orbiter, the present orbiter with the booster heavy, which we justify to upgrade the present shuttle system. And during the transition period we are then developing the orbiter large, which goes with the booster large. So we have a transition from the present shuttle system to the next shuttle system.
These are the tanks down here that form the basis of the other part of the architectural stretch. Oxygen tanks on top, in place of the cargo that we would need eventually, to send cargo to the Moon, and to Mars.
There is way more on these charts, and I welcome you to study them as part of the testimony. There is also a series of charts at the end that show 4 year periods, what can be done in the 4 year periods that coincide with the 4 years of the executive branch of the government. They start at about 6 months into an executive President's term, and they carry on.
What I would envision is that you look ahead 16 to 20 years, and then each time you look at this, and update what it is that you want to be doing.
We need, I believe, an integrated plan into the future, something that can be accelerated if there is a loss of an orbiter.
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I don't believe that NASA has a very good plan right now for what if we lose another orbiter.
This is a plan. There are many others. This is not a high-technology plan, it is one that can be modified as we move along. It is not revolutionary, it is evolutionary.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for your time.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Buzz Aldrin follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DR. BUZZ ALDRIN
VISION 2001: FUTURE SPACE
Forty years ago this coming April 12th, Yuri Gargarin became the first human to see the Earth from space, an event that sparked President Kennedy's commitment to put an American on the moon. Next month will mark the fortieth anniversary of that historic speech.
Kennedy belonged to the so-called ''Greatest Generation''people who were willing to accept risk and sacrifice, who had a vision of something larger than themselves, who abided depression and war and left America a colossus astride the Earth. As their last great gesture they put humanity on the Moon.
One thinks of the dying lieutenant's last two words to Private Ryan: ''Earn this.'' In our attempts to create a risk-free society, we've often failed to honor that debt. There is a failure of nerve in postmodern society. We seem to have reached a crossroads similar to that of sixteenth-century Europe on the eve of expansion into the New Worlda crisis now more ominous than the cold war threat that compelled Kennedy's commitment. On the one hand, there is a loss of vigor, a spreading irrationalism, and a collective hypochondria that seems to cripple our larger visions. Funding for basic research and development continues to decline, while the dream of space exploration succumbs to the dream of animal comfort. ''Where there is no vision,'' says the proverb of Solomon, ''the people perish.''
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On the other hand, we stand at the threshold of a new Renaissance, a moment much like the morning of the modern age when most of the globe lay deep in mystery. What a time this is to be alive! Today's young will live to see settlements in space, unlimited energy from fusion, and explosions of knowledge on all frontiersfrom the workings of the brain to the origin and nature of the cosmos itself.
The only obstacles to that future are complacency and a lack of clear commitment. If we insist that the human quest await the healing of every sore on the body politic, we condemn ourselves to stagnation. In the long run, the whole politics of society is more profoundly changed by a new sense of human potential than by any amount of obsessive self-maintenance. Like all living systems, cultures cannot remain static; they evolve or decline. They explore or expire. They take risks.
Risk has always been the price of any successful venturewhether it be our migration out of Africa into the northern ice, the discovery of the New World, the shaping of a continent, or the preservation of that new freedom. The continued exploration of the solar system is a challenge that can bind together nations, inspire youth, advance science, and ultimately end our confinement to one vulnerable world. Beyond all the political and economic rationales, momentous as they are, spaceflight is a spiritual quest in the broadest sense, one promising a revitalization of humanity and a rebirth of hope no less profound than the great opening out of mind and spirit at the dawn of the modern age.
The Apollo program showed not only what humanity can achieve with strong leadership and solid commitment, but also the capacity of such pursuits to arouse public participation and inspire a sense of purpose. Three decades after the event, people still feel compelled to tell me exactly where they were at the moment I walked on the moon. Yet history will remember the inhabitants of the last century as the people who went from Kitty Hawk to the moon in 66 yearsonly to languish for the next 30 in low-Earth orbit.
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If we are to resurrect the profound feeling of participation that accompanied Apollo we will need a Kennedy-like commitment to human exploration, which must begin with a permanent and profitable presence in space. This is why I've been intensely involved in an effort to put citizens on the Shuttle by lottery, and to develop cost-effective, reusable boosters to take tourists into space and foster the birth of an expanded ''hospitality'' industry in orbit. A new generation of space vehicles can carry private citizens to orbiting hotels, settlers to the moon and Mars, and waves of explorers to the far reaches of the solar system.
Beyond robotics and Earth-serving space stations lies the infinite journey. But within a two or three decades, space can be an open frontier for all people. I see a near-term future where economical, two-stage space launchers place paying passengers and cargo into Earth orbit with the efficiency and routine-like nature of today's airline traffic. A booming tourism industry will be cultivated as space hotels become a point-of-arrival and departure above our planet. This burgeoning business enterprise will bring about heavy-1ift rockets enabling grander civil steps of exploration, back to the Moon, to the distant dunes of Mars, and beyond.
I further envision long-haul transportation systems, deep space cruisers that not only continuously cycle tourists between the Earth and Moon, but constantly transfer explorers and settlers between Mars and the Earth. A fully reusable lunar and interplanetary system is the ultimate way of transporting people and cargo across the vast vacuum void of space.
But how do we get there from here? I see an action plan for the futurea plan based on years of training and experience this country so graciously invested in me.
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As our next step in space, lowering the cost of space access with a reusable two-stage-to-orbit launcher is critical. The first step is the incorporation of a Reusable First Stage into our space architecture. Sized properly, it will be a commercially competitive workhorse. It will hurl another rocket-powered vehicle, with payload, allowing it to reach space with greater economy than if purely self-propelled. By dropping the expense of attaining Earth orbit, many new industries are waiting to develop, one of which will be space tourism. Soon, tens of thousands of citizens will have the opportunity to travel into space, gaining a sense of ''participation'' in opening the frontier of space to enterprise, exploration and settlement.
From this step, an add-on to the reusable space program philosophy is building a ''bridge between worlds.'' Through a system of reusable spacecraft that I call ''Cyclers'', traffic routesfirst between Earth and the Moon, then Mars and Earthshould be put in motion. Very much like ocean liners, the Cycler system would perpetually glide along predictable pathways, moving people, equipment, and other materials to and from the Earth over inner-Solar System mileage. A sequential buildup of a Full Cycling Network could be in place within two decades of a go-ahead, geared to the maturation of lunar and Mars activities. The Earth, the Moon, and Mars will form a celestial triad of worldsbusy hubs for the ebb and flow of passengers, cargo and commerce traversing the inner-Solar System.
My schedule for accomplishing these objectives is practical, achievable and affordable, drawing from decades of space expertise already honed by our early exploits, including the Space Shuttle and International Space Station projects.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I call for a strong and vibrant space tourism business and a return to the Moon by 2015, then reaching Mars by 2020. The common link between steps in this timetable is a progressive set of reusable boosters, reusable access to space, then reusable interplanetary Cyclers.
This vision spans two decades of enterprise, exploration and settlement. Ideally, it should be enunciated by the new U .S. President on the upcoming fortieth anniversary of President Kennedy's space commitment speech. By the year 2030, I see the same people looking back and cherishing the moment that a leader of our country committed us to a gradual, but progressive plan of permanent settlement of space, not just occasional visits that leave little more than flags and footprints.
The surface area of Mars is equivalent to the land area of Earth. Once a human presence on this planet is established, a second home for Humankind is possible. A growing settlement on Mars is, in essence, an ''assurance'' policy. Not only is the survival of the human race then assured, but the ability to reach from Mars into the resource-rich bounty of the Martian satellites and the nearby asteroids is also possible. These invaluable resources can be tapped to sustain increasing numbers of Martian settlers, as well as foster expanded interplanetary commerce and large-scale industrial activities to benefit the home planetEarth. Of course, some will insist on building outer-Solar System Cyclers as humanity continues outbound into the Universe at large.
My vision is a call for a sustained space program. We can now chart a course that returns us to the Moon, then allows humanity to strike out for the New World of our futurethe planet Mars. But our near-term space efforts, both manned and robotic missions, must be tailored to support the longer-range purpose of opening the frontier. Step by step, program by program, we can construct a future of limitless potential. I must ask you gentlemen, if not for these bold endeavors, then what is our space program for?
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Please allow me to address five significant points that Congress, as a governing oversight body, can do to help guarantee the vision I have described here today can come to fruition for future generations.
First, the highest priority of NASA and Congressional guidance of NASA's activities must be to develop lower cost to orbit systems. Congress should continue its leadership role in this direction by expanding the spectrum of development options to now include two-stage-to-orbit systems beginning with a rationally sized, commercially competitive, Reusable First Stage vehicle.
Second, continue to identify and eliminate stifling regulations that inhibit the private sector from competing in the commercial launch vehicle market to facilitate the development of lower cost space transportation options.
Third, charge NASA with investigating an expanded scope of lower cost space transportation system options to include those options that promise to reduce costs by factors of two or three rather than to focus exclusively on only order of magnitude cost reduction improvements.
Fourth, focus NASA and the private sector on the near-term objective of flying ''people'' in space and thoroughly assess the impact of flying tens of thousands of prospective paying passengers on the development and evolution of next generation of space transportation systems and new orbital industries.
And finally, charge NASA to study in depth these recommendations including the reusable cycling transportation system I have described for economical exploration and development of the moon and Mars.
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Chairman ROHRABACHER . Thank you very much, Buzz. And I have talked to Buzz on several occasions about this, and I will say that the first time you hear this it seems a little confusing. It took me three times before I caught the genius of this. And let me just say that we appreciate you sharing this with us today, and I would ask that the members pay very close attention, and it takes some study, but the modularization and the long-term strategy is there, and we appreciate you sharing that with us today.
Next we have with us Dr. Lawrence Krauss. He is the Chairman of the Department of Physics, at Case Western Reserve University. And he is an internationally known theoretical physicist. He has authored numerous scientific books, and several popular books, as well. And, including the national bestseller, ''The Physics of Star Trek.''
Dr. Krauss, you may proceed.
STATEMENT OF DR. LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS, CHAIRMAN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS, CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY
Mr. KRAUSS. Thank you very much, it is a pleasure to be here. I do commend the Committee for having the vision to have a session on long-term vision of space, and by long-term I mean more than 2 years.
And, I think it is a very important precedent to set for governments to think of the long-term, and hopefully to act in the long-term.
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While I am waiting for my Power-Point presentation to appear, hopefully we will have the technology. I do want to preface this by stating, as was indicated, I am a practicing theoretical astrophysicist. So that means I am used to not being practical, and I will probably continue that trend here. In fact, I think partly the fact that I worked with physics to start with is one of the reasons that I am here before you.
So I will try and be visionary, as requested, in general. But I will, nevertheless, try and talk about a balance between vision and practicality, and in particular a vision between space exploration, human space exploration, and science and how they relate, and how they sometimes don't relate. And I think it is very important to understand that there are differences.
How are we doing, Larry, in the area of presentation? Are we not getting anything? Okay?
Well, I will talk, and maybe you can get it. I have aoh, here we go, at least I see it back there.
Okay, I think the major challenges that we are going to talk about today are, and if you can seethere we go, are the balance between science and adventure. I think it is very important to realize that space exploration involves both of them, and that sometimes they are different.
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The balance between realism and imagination; the need for financial and political commitment. As Buzz Aldrin said, if we are going to do large-scale projects. And finally, the need to develop appropriate new technology, as he discussed.
So, I want to put this in context, and I hope that I can get this to work. If you can get a feeling for where we are, we are living in incredibly exciting times as we try to understand the universe.
I have what I hope is a movie that hopefully will actually run. But let us try to go forward and back, backwards, and we will see if I can get this to go.
It is, from the Hubble Space Telescope, this is the sky as it in principle looks at, at night, from Washington. There is the Big Dipper, to put it all in prospective. But what I want to do is, I want to focus on a little spot where there is nothing, and I want to take you through images that have been obtained over the last decade with telescopes, as with each time we focus in on a region where there is literally nothing, expanding our vision into the universe, until finally we end up with the image most recently taken of deep space by the Hubble Space Telescope. This is a remarkable picture, truly. Every dot here is a galaxy. A galaxy containing tens or hundreds of billions of stars like our own.
We now know that in the observable galaxy, the observable universe, there are four hundred billion galaxies. But even more interesting, we have discovered that this is just the tip of a vast cosmic iceberg. Most of the universe may be invisible, made of dark matter that doesn't shine. Indeed, recently, in fact yesterday, there was a press release that we have now confirmed that the expansion of the universe seems to be accelerating. We are dominated by the energy of empty space, with a kind of cosmic anti-gravity.
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All of this proves what I've been trying to say for a long time, when I write, and that is that science and truth is really stranger than fiction. That the universe comes up with things that no science-fiction writer would ever come up with. And that is why we have to continue to explore space, because it continues to surprise us.
So, let us now talk about that in general. As I said, these are exciting times, and big questions. I think it is important to realize that the Earth is not big enough to explore all of the grandest problems we want to understand in science. We are going to be driven, for scientific reasons alone, into space.
But we also have to realize that we cannot justify human exploration of space on scientific grounds alone. I think it is a big mistake when we try to justify human projects, man's space exploration, but always has a scientific payoffs, because, in fact, in general, the best science for dollar is certainly done with unmanned space craft. That is because it costs a lot, because when you send people up, you want to bring them back, and you have to put in all of the infrastructures required to bring them back, and that adds an incredible amount to the expense. You cannot justify systems such as the international space station on the basis of science. I know you are going to have a hearing tomorrow on cost overruns, and there is no doubt that if evaluated on the science alone, the international space station is a colossal waste of time and money. You cannot justify that.
However, that is not the reason to justify it. You justify it because humans need to explore space. And I think that is thewe have to realize that there are two facets, that our destiny lies in space, the future of humanity in one way or another lies in space. It is the final frontier for exploration, and it certainly, as the Chairman pointed out, inspires our young people. I know, because I was one of them that sat up all night long, and watched Buzz Aldrin land on the Moon. And it inspired me with the hope that 1 day I might have that possibility.
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And so, we have to realize that human exploration of space is important, for its own purposes. And we make a mistake where we try to justify such missions on the basis of science. In fact, indeed, it may involve our long-term future. Inevitably, if we are going to survive as a species, I believe we will have to explore areas outside of our own Earth.
So, as to short-term recognitions, notrecommendations, and that is to separate our science goals from our adventure goals, be brave enough to point out when we are interested in one and when we are interested in another. You need a healthy balance of funding.
One of the things I want to tell you is, there is dangerous recommendation now that is been to move the support of ground-based astronomy from NASAinto NASA, from the National Science Foundation. That is a horrendous recommendation, because NASA is mission-oriented, as it should be, and it is not necessarily science-oriented; and it would destroy ground-based astronomy, I believe, to move it into NASA, and it is appropriate to leave it in the National Science Foundation.
So let me go quickly now to the next 50 years, with some vision and some practicality. I think we want to, weI have ten questions here, that I am going to just put up, that you can read, that I think are the ten big questions you want to answer in science. And in fact, they are all addressed by our travel in space, in one way or another. The questions ranging from where did we come from, and what is the universe made of, and how will it end; to can we and will we travel between the stars, and are we alone in the universe? Surely one of the questions that inspires many, many people, including many people who write science fiction, as we will hear.
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And in fact if they are out there, what have they learned, how do they differ, and how are they the same? These are the kind of big questions we want to address. But we have to realize that when we look at human exploration, what I believe in the next 50 years will bethis, of course the inner solar system, is if you look at where humans will go, if we are lucky we will go in that region presented by that little box, that you can see.
And I believe the cost to explore that region will be somewhere around 500 billion dollars. That is a big commitment. But, I don't believe that we can imagine that humans are going to get beyond Mars in the next 50 years, and we have to recognize that. I think it is impractical to expect that we will go beyond Mars in the next 50 billion years50 years, excuse me.
And now, so let us talk about the space exploration issues you want to look at it in general. Recently, the major issue of life in the solar system, there have been a lot of interesting discoveries that have motivatedand in fact, energized us to think that we might discover life in our own solar system. For a long time we thought perhaps we were the only life. There may be microbial life. You have all probably recognized this famous meteorite, discovered in Antarctica from Mars, where some NASA scientists claim has fossilized evidence of microbial life on Mars.
Here is a picture of Europa, a Moon of Jupiter, one of the great recent discoveries from the Gallio Satellite is that there are probably liquid oceans underneath the surface, prime places for microbial life to exist. We want to explore that, and find life in the solar system.
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It is more and more plausible that life either exists, or existed elsewhere. And in fact, the fact that the Martian meteorite was discovered in Antarctica tells us something very important. We do not live in a closed ecosystem. If there is life here, remnants of life from here have been launched into space by asteroids in the past, when they crash into Earth. And indeed, this meteorite was launched into space and made it all the way to Earth, from Mars.
So we are not an island, we live within the solar system. If we are going to explore this kind of space, we have to think of R&D, that evolved many things: robotic devices, sophisticated robust devices, that are small, and can survive in extreme environments. New propulsion mechanisms.
The key thing, if you want to outside, to Mars, is to get high relative velocities. Not high thrusts, but to build up over time to high velocities. Why? Because that requires less fuel. And if you can have fuel that exits your space craft at a high velocity, the amount of fuel required is exponentially less, and the cost exponentially less. If you want to bring the cost to explore the outer solar system down, you have to look at new propulsion mechanisms that have that eject fuel at a high relative velocity.
We want to think of near Earth way stations, as was indicated, as places where we can rest, and also as launch devices into the outer solar system. If we want to send people into space for a long times, we are going to have to worry about a lot of things we haven't done yet. In particular, shielding them, so they don't die from cosmic ray exposure in long-term space missions. Lot's of things we haven't even had to deal with yet, in near Earth orbit. Artificial gravity, to make sure that humans on long-term missions, their muscles don't atrophy, and they can actually walk when they get where they are going.
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We want to think about dynamics of the solar system. Here is the Hale Bopp Comet, the friendly comet we saw in the night sky. But we have to worry about the fact that inevitably the Earth will be hit by a large comet or asteroid. On average a large one hits about every hundred million years, that may be long in a Congressional time frame but nevertheless, we have to think of the fact that its going to happen, and we have to be prepared for it. We have to think of ways to fix space; to look out for these objects, to understand how they move, to develop objects which will probe them and explore them.
I have here a picture of Venus, which suffered once under a massive greenhouse effect. We have to worry about the dynamics of the solar system, and whether or notsome people believe there is a greenhouse effect now. There is one, and it happens, and it will continue to happen, and by understanding planets like Venus we will understand how those, how planets evolved in time, including our own Earth.
And in order to explore that we have to consider robotics, remote control, high-maneuverability, improved data storage and transmission technologies, and coherent remote sensing strategies.
I am almost done, don't worry.
We want to look at the Earth. As we explore the Earth, one of the best ways to explore it is from space, with remote sensing devices. We want to build a whole slew of new types of small space craft where we can send not one, but ten or a hundred devices to explore the Earth, to study very complex phenomenon. Trying to understand the phenomenon governing the climate of the Earth, with one satellite. It is like trying to determine the weather in Cleveland by having a remote sensor in Honolulu, and only one of them. It is just difficult; and impossible, in fact.
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We want, I think, if we want to try and combine adventure and science, my suggestion is a research station on the Moon. I think we could do good science, as well as learning how humans can survive in space, by putting a research station on the Moon. Perhaps an observatory on the far side of the Moon is my, is something I'd like to see.
We want to consider exploring the outer solar system. Well obviously, for the outer solar system, we are going to have to use remote space craft. We are going to have to use robots. We are not going to send people to explore Jupiter, in my opinion, in the next century, much less the next 50 years.
We want to explore the sun, which governs all climate on Earth, by developing space craft that can survive the high temperatures of the sun.
And finally, in terms of exploring our solar system, I think we want to say we also can rely on non-governmental sources. I think it is important to realize right now it takes as much to make a movie of traveling to Mars as to send a space craft to travel to Mars. Okay, that is about how much the movie ''Mission to Mars'' cost, it is as much as NASA took to send a space craft there. Now why is Hollywood, why it is willing to spend two hundred million dollars, the reason is they can make money. And I do think that there's lots of money to be made.
Also, by the way, it is about five Picasso's to send a space craft to Mars.
I think we have to realize that there's a lot, and I think not commercial exploitation for profit, but in fact entertainment and tourism. We are already sending super-rich people into space, potentially. In the next 50 years we may send merely rich people into space. And I think the commercial sector will have a lot to do with that.
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Finally, let me put up the last two slides, you will be please to know.
A lot has been talked about, about traveling outside the solar system. Will we travel to the stars in the next 50 years? No. I don't think we will be in the next century. I don't, I am notwe will never, I would claim, travel to the stars at the speed of light. Why? It simply costs too much. I did a simple calculation in a recent book. If you want to send a space craft to a nearby star near the speed of light, using present rocket ship technology, take a single atom, and launch it at half the speed of light, get it up to half the speed of light, would require more fuel than there is mass in the entire visible universe. So NASA may appropriate funds for it, but it is not going to happen.
Okay, we have to recognize the limitations, and in fact we have to realize that issues of warp drive, while I have written about them, are well beyond current practical technology and in fact they are well beyond the current way we understand physics. It is not appropriate to send engineers, as NASA is now doing, to try and design warp drives when we don't understand the relevant physics.
But we can look outside the galaxy; even if we don't travel outside, look outside the solar system. Even if humans will not travel outside of it, we can design grand projects to look for extraterrestrial planets, ones that might have life. Listen for signals of extraterrestrials, send satellites, unmanned satellites, into deep space, and seek out the invisible universe, gravitational waves, neutrinos, x-ray signals. All of these will require grand new science missions, unmanned science missions that will bring the universe to us. But I think in the end we have to recognize that we should be guided by these principles. Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction. The real universe has wonders beyond the wildest dreams of science fiction writers. We must continue to explore.
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Science and adventure enhance each other. By appropriately recognizing when we are exploring for adventure's sake alone and when we are exploring to enhance science and recognize that the two enhance each other, we will build a reasonable long-term exploration of space program.
And finally, I do believe that the best is yet to come. I thank you for your indulgence, for going a little over.
[The prepared statement of Lawrence M. Krauss follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS
I would like to thank the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics for providing me with the opportunity to testify here today, and for having the vision to consider such a long-term issue as the future of space exploration.
I should preface my remarks by stating that while I come here as someone who has written widely on this subject in a popular context, I am also here primarily as a practicing astrophysicist. So, while I will attempt to be visionary, in the sense requested by the committee, I nevertheless will also want to address various aspects of the practical relation between space exploration and science.
We live in remarkable times. One merely has to examine the awe-inspiring pictures of distant objects obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope to become aware that our entire vision of the Universe is changing with surprises beyond our wildest dreamsproving a fact that I wish more people would appreciate: science is far more exciting than science fiction. We now know of more than 400 billion galaxies in the visible universe, each of which, like our own, contains hundreds of billions of individual stars. But beyond the universe we can see around us, beyond the stars and galaxies visible to the naked eye and to telescopes, lies a vast hidden universe made up perhaps of new types of elementary particles. Stranger still, as reinforced by new evidence presented this week based on observations of an exploding star at a distance of over 8 billion light years away, the expansion of the Universe is speeding up with time. If this is the case, the future of the Universe will be vastly different than anything we had expected even a decade ago. On a truly cosmic timescale, longer than the lifetime of our Sun, the rest of the Universe will literally disappear before our very eyesthat is if there are still any eyes left to disappear before.
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At the same time, recent discoveries have added great optimism to the prospect of discovering life, or at least fossil remnants of life, on a much shorter timescale either elsewhere in our solar system or in solar systems that we now know surround nearby stars. Martian meteorites discovered in Antarctica have suggested to some that microbial life may have existed long ago on that red planet, while at the same time demonstrating that Earth is not an island ecosystem, but that material, and maybe even life, can be regularly exchanged with other planets. Unmanned space probes have discovered the existence of what are probably liquid oceans under the ice-covered surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. Observations of the Hale Bopp Comet did not demonstrate the existence of a small spacecraft behind the comet, but rather that complex organic compounds, the basis of amino acids, exist on the comet. The basic building blocks of life seem to be cropping up throughout the solar system at the same time that our understanding of the early evolution of life on this planet has been undergoing dramatic developments.
Discoveries about life and the Universe are coming at a fast and furious pace, and it is clear that Earth itself is not likely to be a big enough platform to allow us to explore some of the greatest mysteries of the Universe. We will need to escape the safety of our planet in order to search the hidden Universe around us if we are ever to ultimately answer such questions as: ''How did we get here?'' and ''Where are we going?''
While this voyage of scientific discovery is one of the greatest intellectual voyages we are currently undertaking, I do not want you to assume that when I discuss the exploration of space that I am of necessity referring to the human exploration of space. One of the lessons I would like to leave here is that in order to develop a rational and productive long-term program of space exploration we have to distinguish between human exploration of space, and unmanned probes of the Universe. To a large extent this is a distinction between adventure and science. If we are not willing to recognize the difference between these two goals, we will risk both of them.
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It is an unambiguous lesson of our experience thus far that the best science that can be performed in space usually does not involve, or at least does not require human space travel. The necessity of designing spacecraft that can successfully house, sustain, and return their occupants produces incredible cost increases that are difficult to justify in scientific terms alone. The general argument is simple: humans are heavy, and the life support systems required to keep them alive are heavier still. When it comes to the exploration of space, the great enemy is mass. The lion's share of the cost of any such mission goes into transporting and sustaining the humans on board. The money left to do science is thus minimized.
Moreover, to be fair, I think we have to recognize that the scientific efficacy of human experimentation in space has been limited. Years of simple experiments on the Space Shuttle associated with manufacturing in space have not produced any significant breakthroughs in materials science or in understanding crystal structures, for example. And while it is true that the Rubble Space Telescope has revolutionized our understanding of the visible universe, and its repair missions have been essential to its proper functioning, it is not clear as to what extent the development of the Shuttle program itself was necessary for its ultimate creation, deployment and maintenance.
These concerns are magnified manifold when one considers the International Space Station. This project, whose total costapproaching 100 billion dollarsis truly astronomical, if you excuse the pun, and it cannot be logically justified on the grounds of science, since very little real fundamental science will be done on the station, no matter what the NASA rhetoric is. It is for these reasons that most major scientific organizations have come out in opposition to funding Station. Let me stress this fact by repeating it. There is essentially no debate among the scientific community on this: if evaluated on the science alone, the Space Station is a colossal waste of time and money.
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But we should never evaluate the Space Station, or indeed the entire human space program uniquely on these grounds. Indeed I have not come here to argue that our long-term vision of space exploration should not involve humans. Like my co-witness Buzz Aldrin, I happen to believe that our ultimate destiny lies in space. I also agree with him that nothing captures the imagination of the public, or inspires generations of school children, like seeing astronauts embark to go where no one has gone before. I know because I have been one of them. I stayed up all night through every Apollo mission while I was a child. When I watched the Apollo 11 landing as a young boy I fully hoped and expected that the pioneering footsteps of those astronauts would one day open a path for me to have the same opportunity. I have written that for many individuals of my generation the fact that we are still tied to Earth and have not returned to visit even our nearest neighbor in over 30 years seems tragic in the extreme. I believe this frustration has helped drive the current interest in much of science fiction, of worlds where we are not constrained by the practicalities of money and politics, or even by the laws of physics themselves and are free to roam the galaxy with impunity.
For humanity, space is the final frontier, and our long-term future will, I believe, be tied to our ability, or lack thereof, to conquer the harsh environment beyond the protective shield of our atmosphere, and to traverse the distances to other planets, to explore them, and ultimately establish human outposts. The Space Station or its successors may be useful in teaching us how humans can survive and function for long periods in space. This information will be essential if we are ever going to send humans on long-term missions to nearby planets, establish bases on objects such as the Moon, or even plan longer-term missions to the outer reaches of the solar system and beyond.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As long as our society continues to have the resources to push forward the frontiers of human exploration, we owe it to future generations to continue the struggle. But exploration to the exclusion of science is futile, just as science without exploration may be sterile.
So, to end this rather long introduction, the future of space exploration must involve a rational division of resources. By being clear about the reasons for sending humans into space, we can then more appropriately develop strategies for space exploration that balance science and adventure. There should never be a competition between the goals of the scientific community and the goals of those who want humans to return to deep space. We need, and I think we can afford, to go in both directions, and we should not be embarrassed or deterred from pursuing either frontier. In this regard, there are several short-term recommendations that should be clear. First, there must be a clear division, in NASA and elsewhere, between human missions and unmanned satellite probes. While the total budget will depend upon political circumstances and the national will, the budgets for each should not be subject to raiding by the other. Next, the administration has recently proposed moving the support of ground based astronomy research from the National Science Foundation to NASA. This is a bad idea. The NSF is science oriented, while NASA is, of necessity, mission oriented. Missions have clear objectives and timetables, and little should be left to chance. The progress of science often requires serendipity and the unfettered ability to pursue the unexpected.
To go beyond this short-term issue and to explore the most exciting opportunities for space exploration in the next 20 to 50 years as well as the challenges that must be addressed in the process, I find it useful to first forget about practicality and to think about those fundamental questions that inspire both scientists and non-scientists to ponder and to explore the cosmos. These might serve as a useful guide to what we might want to accomplish via the exploration of space. Here is my own top ten list (in no particular order). I expect that many people would come up with something similar, even if they might express them differently:
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1. Where did we come from?
2. What is the Universe made on?
3. How might it end?
4. Are the laws of nature the same everywhere? Is there just one Universe?
5. Is there only one consistent set of laws of nature, or is our universe an accident?
6. Is ''Life'' purely physical?
7. What is intelligence?
8. Can we, and will we travel between the stars?
9. Are we alone?
10. What have ''they'' learned? How do ''they'' differ and how are ''they'' the same?
Next, we might want to ask ourselves: How far are humans likely to venture out into space in the next 2050 years? I shall argue that if we plan to spend no more than about $500 billion 1998 dollars over this period, we may be able to reach out to our nearest planetary neighbors, but certainly not beyond them. I expect that exploration will be constrained to the inner solar system for the foreseeable future. This is not an excessive limitation, however, because there are an incredible number of opportunities for exploration and exploitation even on this scale.
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Guided on the one hand by the profound questions we want to address, and on the other hand by practical limitations, it seems best to divide our considerations for Space Exploration into two parts, as I now proceed to do. In each section, I will list what I think the various major goals should be in the next 2050 years, and then discuss the technical challenges that must be met.
I. SPACE EXPLORATION IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM:
(a) Life in the Solar System: Observations of what seems to be a large liquid ocean underneath the ice-covered surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, combined with recent evidence of possible liquid water on or near the surface of Mars in recent times, and intriguing, if controversial hints from a Martian meteorite that it might contain some evidence of fossilized microbial life all point to a renewed excitement about the possibility that life might exist elsewhere within the solar system. If we were to discover extraterrestrial organisms, or even definitive evidence of past life-forms on now-dead planets, the implications for our understanding of the origins of life on Earth, and the likely existence of life elsewhere within the galaxy would be truly profound. An effort to directly explore possible sites for life within the solar system should clearly be a priority in the medium and long term. This should take on two forms. Development of robotic probes that can be directed from Earth, and which can either bore into or underneath the surface of extraterrestrial objects and perform remote analyses of their environment are a clear first step. Probes that can sample their environment and return these samples to Earth for further detailed investigation could follow this. As far as the subsurface oceans of Europa, or other extreme environments, only robotic exploration seems feasible. Mars, however, presents a more attractive candidate for human exploration. The cost may be immense. Using present day technology it has been estimated that a round trip mission could cost $200500 billion dollars, if sufficient fuel is carried on board for the round trip. An interesting proposal has been made to send a vehicle to Mars to manufacture fuel there, so that fuel for the round trip would not be required on the vessel that could carry astronauts to the surface. This might reduce the cost considerably, to under $100 billion dollars. However, even in this case, numerous challenges would present themselves, including the possible need to shield the crew from harmful cosmic rays during their trip to and from the Red planet, so that the net cost will nevertheless still be very large. The potential payoff may not be merely scientific. Mars is an attractive candidate for long-term human outposts, so that exploration of techniques that allow travel to and from this planet will be necessary if we are to ultimately consider colonizing this neighbor.
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These arguments suggest that research and development in order to support these explorations, both manned and unmanned, will require:
Research into small robotic devices that can function for long periods in space and in other extreme environments: As far as space travel is concerned, small is beautiful. Extra weight means extra fuel, which in turn adds extra weight. Thus, the smaller and lighter the machines we can send into space, the better. To the extent that machines can address the important scientific questions in this regard, it is clear that research in this area will be highly cost effective.
Research into new propulsion mechanism that can produce maximum ultimate velocities, even with small thrust: The term that is used in aeronautics in this regard is specific impulse. In order to minimize travel time, and more importantly, fuel requirements for both manned and unmanned travel, fuel that can be ejected with the highest possible net relative velocity is desirable. The fuel requirements tend to be exponentially sensitive to this ejection velocity. Research into such propulsion technologies as ion engines, nuclear thermal and electric engines, etc. may be very important in this regard.
Possible establishment of near earth way station: Launching vehicles for interplanetary travel from an orbiting station could be extremely useful in reducing the propulsion and weight requirements for spacecraft. Whether or not this is practical, given the concomitant requirements to maintain and resupply these stations would need to be investigated.
Research into shielding technologies: Net radiation doses for astronauts traveling for several years on round trip missions to Mars will be large. Various proposals have been made to shield them from cosmic ray bombardment, from surrounding their vessel with some large absorber, to producing large magnetic fields around the vessel that will steer particles away from the inhabited portions.
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Artificial gravity: Long-term missions will probably require some kind of net rotation in order to simulate gravity, to avoid the bone deterioration, and muscle atrophy that appears to accompany long periods of weightlessness.
(b) Dynamics of the Solar System: It has become ever more clear over the past half century that the Solar System is a dynamic environment, and our long term future will ultimately depend upon our ability to understand how climate evolution depends on these dynamics, including locally induced greenhouse effects as well as more general aspects of the chaotic nature of planetary dynamics, and to understand better the evolution of comets and asteroids, and also how to build a system to reliably detect those objects which might be on Earth-crossing orbits with as much advance notice as possible. From a scientific perspective there is increasing evidence that the origin of life on Earth may have depended crucially on transport of materials to the inner solar systems by comets. These materials may include sophisticated organic molecules that may have been the building blocks of life. To address these issues, it will be useful to send probes which can approach, in close proximity, comets and asteroids (the recent unexpectedly successful ''soft'' landing on an asteroid gives us hope that this can be achieved with some reliability) as well as probes that can aid us in exploring planetary evolution by surveying, landing, and in some cases surviving in extreme environments such as those on planets like Venus.
In order to address these goals, essentially all of which do not involve human exploration, one must nevertheless address the following challenges:
Building machines that can survive in extreme environments: In order to reliably transmit data from the surface of a comet, or the surface of a hostile planet, we must explore techniques that allow detectors and transmitters to reliably function in environments that are extremely hostile.
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Improve remote control, local decision making, maneuverability, and rocket propulsion technology: Again, to intercept objects whose orbits may not be stable, or which may be rotating, or which may have extremely large relative velocities, spacecraft that can adjust to changing situations, perhaps without remote commands, will be required. This is likely to involve issues in robotics, including neural network learning programs as well as issues in aeronautics.
Improved data storage, manipulation, and transmission technologies: These will be required for a number of reasons. First, in order to better calculate solar system dynamics, which is known to be chaotic, special purpose computers will have to be developed. At the same time, remote sensors may have limited live time in order to access important information, and transmit it to Earth.
Development of a coherent, reliable, long-term remote sensing strategy: Programs already exist on Earth for scanning the skies for large objects on possible Earth-crossing trajectories. The benefits to being able to spot such objects earlier than we can now do so are obvious. We might wish to investigate the feasibility of installing remote sensing devices in deep space that constantly monitor the motion of objects coming from the outer solar system.
(c) Formation and Evolution of the Earth: Over the next century issues such as global warming will undoubtedly take on an increased importance, especially given the government's recent policies on the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions. Monitoring Earth from space will become increasingly important as we attempt to build better models of Earth's dynamics. Beyond this, as we attempt to understand other complex environmental phenomena, such as the nature of Earth's magnetosphere, we will need a network of Earth-monitoring satellites, which can give data at many locations at the same time. Without these we are like weather forecasters who might try to predict the weather in Washington tomorrow knowing only the temperature today in Honolulu. To establish such networks will require:
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Development of light satellites that can be produced and launched in large numbers with high reliability.
(d) A Research Station on the Moon: It is difficult for me to believe that humans will ever directly explore the rest of the solar system until we can effectively establish a remote station on the Moon. Creating such a base on the Moon will serve many purposes as far as manned space travel is concerned, and will allow us to create prototype strategies for constructing extraterrestrial bases. Addressing the transport and storage requirements will allow us to determine how feasible it will be to consider the more ambitious task of visiting Mars, as well as allow the nation to develop the necessary engineering infrastructure to realistically address such a challenge. While I expect that going to Mars is more like a 50-year project, I believe it is realistic to consider establishing a continuously manned base on the Moon within 20 years. There are important scientific projects one could carry out as part of this process. For example, I would suggest building a manned observatory on the far side of the Moon, shielded from terrestrial backgrounds, as a worthwhile scientific goal in this context. The engineering challenges of returning humans to the moon, and sustaining them while there are many, including:
Development of reliable large, perhaps reusable boosters, or launching platforms in space
Development of construction techniques appropriate for the Moon's environment
Development of large-scale storage facilities in orbit to facilitate transfer of materials to the Moon
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Exploration of possible mini-terraforming technologies appropriate to use on the Moon, including possible extraction of water, etc.
(e) Exploring the Outer Solar System: Over the next decades, opportunities will arise to utilize the alignment of planets to propel probes into the outer solar system to explore planets and satellites beyond Jupiter. These will of necessity be unmanned probes. We should be prepared to take advantage of these opportunities by developing the appropriate technologies in advance.
(f) Understanding the Sun (and Stars): To explore the processes that govern the cyclical variation of the Sun on a monthly or yearly basis, we would benefit greatly from probes that venture close to the solar surface. Such probes would have to have very high tolerances for temperature, magnetic fields, and radiation. Research and development is certainly worthwhile in attempting to develop such radiation hardened tools in order to allow us to understand the dynamics of the central object that governs the continued existence of life on Earth.
Finally, it is worth pointing out that I have discussed primarily government-sponsored programs whose purpose is largely scientific. I think we are entering an era where commercial exploitation of space may be beginning in earnest. I am not restricting myself here to commercially launched satellites, but also the sending humans into space. We may be on the threshold of seeing the first ''tourist'' launched into space to visit the International Space Station. I think that over the next 2050 years we may see this opportunity become available to the merely rich, rather than the super-rich. The point is that as long as there is the potential for some profit, even large expenditures in the private sector, with some public sector support, become possible. It is ironic, for example, that as much money was spent on a recent movie about going to Mars as might be spent to actually send a small payload to that planet. The former was possible because of the revenues that could be generated as a result of the project. As television and movie entertainment projects become ever more lavish, it is not clear to me, at least, that these might not drive some of the commercial exploitation of space. If the market is there, it will happen, and if the price were right, I might buy a ticket.
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2. SPACE EXPLORATION OUTSIDE THE SOLAR SYSTEM:
What of the rest of our vast Universe, beyond the domain of our Sun? Here is where the greatest opportunities exist both for probing the fundamental processes that govern the evolution of the Universe and also for potentially discovering life, perhaps intelligent life. The Universe may be the ultimate particle physics laboratory. It may be that only through explorations on large scales, or exotic astrophysical objects will we be able to probe physics relevant to the earliest moments of the Big Bang, associated with the creation of the visible Universe, the fundamental structure of matter, and ultimately our own existence. As I alluded to at the beginning of my testimony, these are areas where we have seen revolutionary new developments over the past decade.
I should make it clear right away that probing the Universe will, for the foreseeable future, be done from within the confines of our solar system. Humans, and even unmanned robotic spacecraft will NOT travel via rockets on round trip missions to the stars, requiring speeds close to the speed of light, in the next century .The costs are simply outlandish by anyone's measure. To get an idea of the problem, consider the following: Assuming we use fuels comparable to conventional rocket fuels today, how much fuel would it take to accelerate a single atom to half the speed of light, and stop it again? The answer may surprise you: The amount of fuel required would exceed the entire mass of the visible Universe! So, while NASA might ask to appropriate funds for this purpose, it isn't going to happen. Now, you might say, as you have a right to: Who on earth would use conventional rocket fuels for such a purpose? Surely we would use more advanced technology! While this is correct, consider next the following: Say that we use nuclear fusion to power rockets. This is the process that powers the Sun, and thermonuclear weapons. We do not yet have controlled fusion reactors on Earth, but one day we will, and these will generate a million times more energy per unit mass than even the best chemical reactors. Nevertheless, even if we had a fusion reactor on a spacecraft (as the USS Enterprise does to power the ''impulse drive'' on Star Trek), each time we wanted to accelerate from rest to one half the speed of light and stop again we would have to find 7000 times the mass of the spacecraft in fuel! I repeat, we would need this EACH TIME we wanted to start and stop!
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Clearly, internal propulsion is simply not workable for attaining the speeds necessary to traverse distances between stars. As a result, many individuals have considered other possibilities. . . light sails, propulsion by lasers, etc. However, while these methodologies do not, at least, violate the laws of physics, they are far from practical from an engineering or cost standpoint in the medium term (i.e., the next 2050 years), and from a mission standpoint they only seem best suited to unmanned spacecraft. While large final speeds might be achievable using these methods, acceleration rates are very slow, so that literally years would be required to accelerate to final velocities and to slow down again. For small unmanned payloads, these constraints might be less severe, and the stringent requirements on the propulsion technologies less demanding, so that research and development in these areas should be encouraged.
Finally, some have suggested trying to bypass known laws of physics. The original slogan for what has become the NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Program read: ''Warp Drive Now!'' I would be remiss if I did not point out that this program, while so small that the amount of money it wastes is minimal, is nevertheless embarrassing on a scale unequalled elsewhere. The idea behind it goes as follows: ''Some people have argued (and alas, I am one of them) that the laws of general relativity, when combined with quantum mechanics, might in principle allow spacetime to be manipulated in novel ways. Thus, let us fund research ''outside the box'' to develop possible new methods of propulsion based on poorly understood physics concepts.'' There are many problems with this approach. First, these issues involve matters of principle, and not practicality. They involve physics concepts that are not understood on a theoretical level, and at present are completely inaccessible on any experimental level. It is like asking engineers in the 16th century to design particle accelerators to explore the structure of protons, before the laws of electricity and magnetism that govern the construction of these devices were developed and understood, or indeed before the proton itself had been discovered. In addition, even our tentative knowledge suggests that in order to probe regions where new effects of this sort might be explored would require energies far in excess of anything we have been discussing in the context of mere rocket propulsion! Finally, and perhaps most important of all, while it is quite true, and quite exciting, that there is probably more we do not yet know about the universe than that we do know one should nevertheless not forget that there is A LOT we already DO know! And the projects that have been funded by the NASA BPP program either have no support in any known physics, or, in some cases appear to violate laws we clearly understand.
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So much for travel to the stars. Here are my picks for the most exciting scientific explorations of the Universe that might be carried out in space in the next half century.
Terrestrial planet finding: Remarkable developments in the past decade have demonstrated that we already possess the technology to indirectly prove the existence of solar systems around other stars, by observing the gravitational wobble of the stars as their planets orbit around them. The next important step will involve trying to detect these planets directly via the light they may reflect from their host stars. If we were able to make such a detection, spectroscopic analysis of this light would reveal the composition of the planet's atmosphere. Based on our evolving knowledge in the area now called astrobiology, one could probe for constituents, like oxygen, which appear to be byproducts of organic life.
The major challenge here involves observing the light reflected from a planet while screening out the light from its host star, which may be 100,000 to a million times more intense. Several strategies are currently being explored in order to meet this challengefrom sending up large occulting satellites that might block the light from a star, while allowing telescopes to scan for light from surrounding planets, to large interferometers in space which would carefully ''subtract out'' the light from stars to be able to probe for residual light from their surrounding planets. These possibilities should be vigorously pursued.
Extraterrestrial signal detection: The detection of a signal from any other intelligent life in the Universe would have profound implications for our civilization. The likelihood of making such a detection, even if the signals exist is, however, very remote. Nevertheless, the cost of scanning the skies for such signals is not large, and therefore it seems worth supporting this effort, and exploring new technologies that might make it more efficient. For example, it has recently been suggested that optical signals might have advantages over radio signals, which are the ones that have thus far received the most attention.
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New Large Telescopes in Space: Escaping Earth's atmosphere is essential for a host of important astronomical observations. We have seen the dramatic quantum leaps that have been possible via the Rubble Space Telescope, the Chandra XRay Observatory, and the like. The scientific opportunities provided by each new window on the Universe in space are unrivalled by almost any other space program. Each time we open up such a new window, we have been surprised. Research on the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) should continue at a vigorous pace. Placing a telescope in an orbit far removed from Earth has great advantages, allowing it to avoid the constant cycle of light and darkness experienced by the Rubble, for example. Beyond NGST, we should explore technologies that might allow truly gigantic apertures in space. Hundred meter telescopes are not beyond the realm of possibility. These would allow us unprecedented access to the distant universe. In order to consider launching such objects, research in new light materials, including possible inflatable structures, will be required.
Deep Space Satellites: Various exotic possibilities exist for sending satellites into deep space to make new kinds of observations. For example, two satellites located at either end of our solar system could make simultaneous observations of distant objects with a sufficiently large baseline that would allow qualitatively different sorts of observations than any current technology might allow. Applications would range from directly measuring distances to stars to resolving distant phenomena on extremely small special scales.
Seeking out the invisible universe: As we have learned over the past twenty years, much of the universe is invisible to conventional telescopes. This hidden universe holds many of the secrets of our origin, and our ultimate future. Technologies are being developed on Earth to probe for new signals such as gravitational waves from distant collapsing or colliding stars and black holes, to detect neutrinos emitted from the core of our Sun or in the collapse of distant stars, and to look for high energy cosmic rays coming from objects that we do not currently understand. In almost every case there are arguments for going into space to seek out new windows on the Universe. A large interferometer in space, for example, might allow us to ''listen'' for gravitational wave signals created at the very beginning of time.
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Perhaps more important than any of the known rationales for building new devices to explore the hidden Universe on all wavelengths and via all types of radiation is the opportunity for uncovering the unexpected. As much as we have learned about the Universe, and as remarkable as the recent developments in our understanding of the laws of nature have been, the Universe continues to surprise us. As I alluded to at the beginning of my testimony, every year discoveries are made that are beyond the wildest dreams of science fiction writers. Truth is far stranger than fiction. If we turn back from the challenge of empirical discovery, we give up one of the greatest gifts humanity has been given. We must continue to go ''where no man or woman has gone before'' if our culture is to continue to thrive. In this regard it is worth recalling the congressional testimony of the late physicist Robert Wilson, first director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, who, when asked if that exotic and expensive machine might aid in national defense, said, ''No, but it will help keep the nation worth defending!''
With regard to our understanding of nature, and our ability to explore the Universe on all scales, I firmly believe the best is yet to come!
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF MANY OF THE KEY POINTS AND PROPOSALS DISCUSSED IN THIS TESTIMONY:
We must separate science and adventure when funding space projects. In this regard, the human exploration of space must be recognized as a separate activity that need not be justified primarily on scientific grounds. At the same time, some of the grandest scientific questions can only be addressed by traveling into space with unmanned spacecraft.
Major priorities that might drive space exploration in the next half century include: The search for life elsewhere in the Universe; Establishment of a permanent human presence in space, perhaps leading in the near term to a research station located on the Moon; The effort to uncover the physics of the earliest moments of the big bang; The effort to understand the dynamics of Earth and the solar system with regard to both short term and long term issues associated with human survival.
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Space travel, human and unmanned, will be confined to within our solar system for the foreseeable future.
The technologies that will be most important to the scientific and human exploration of space include: development of small intelligent robotic devices for remote exploration, development of new propulsion technologies allowing high speed travel, development of new space construction technologies, including inflatable and ultralight devices, and finally development of machines that can survive in extremely exotic environments.
BRIEF BIOGRAPHY FOR LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS
Prof. Lawrence M. Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist with wide research interests, including the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology, where his studies include the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. He has investigated questions ranging from the nature of exploding stars to issues of the origin of all mass in the universe. At the same time, he is a distinguished expositor of science and is nationally recognized for his thoughtful writing on such issues the short and long-term future of science and technology. He has written about the future of Space exploration in publications ranging from the New York Times, to Discover Magazine, to his bestselling book The Physics of Star Trek, and has lectured on this topic to scientists and engineers at such places as NASA's Glenn Research Center.
Krauss was born in New York City and moved shortly thereafter to Toronto, Canada, where he grew up. He received undergraduate degrees with honors in both Mathematics and Physics at Carleton University. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1982), then joined the Harvard Society of Fellows (198285). He joined the faculty of the departments of Physics and Astronomy at Yale University in 1985. In 1993 he was named the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics,Professor of Astronomy, and Chairman of the department of Physics at Case Western Reserve University.
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Prof. Krauss is the author of over 180 scientific publications, as well as numerous popular articles on physics and astronomy. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research, including the Gravity Research Foundation First Prize Award (1984), the Presidential Investigator Award (1986) and the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society (2001), and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He is an acclaimed teacher and lecturer with vast experience in reaching out to popular audiences. He was named a Sigma-Xi national lecturer in 1990 and an American Physical Society Centennial Lecturer in 1998. University named Lectureships he has held include the Nesbitt Lectureship at Carleton University, the Glover Lectureship at Dickenson College, the Chesley Lectureship at Carleton College, the Herzfeld Lectureship at Catholic University, the Hendrik de Waard Lecture at the University of Groningen, the Vaden Miles Lectureship at Wayne State University, the Maurer Lectureship at University of Arkansas, the Benedum Lectureship at West Virginia University, the Kallen Lectureship at University of Lund, in Sweden, the Rorschach Memorial Lecturer at Rice University, the Kay Malstrom Lecturer at Hamline University, the 2001 Distinguished Scientist Lecturer at Gonzaga University, and the Morgan Lecturer at Texas Christian University. In addition, he has lectured to popular audiences at such places as the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Natural History in New York and appears frequently on radio and television around the world, as well as being a regular contributor to various newspapers and magazines including the New York Times. He has also lectured to both high school and elementary school students and their teachers as well as teaching courses at all university levels.
Prof. Krauss is the author of various acclaimed popular books, including, The Fifth Essence: The Search for Dark Matter in the Universe (Basic Books, 1989), which was named Astronomy Book of the Year by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and Fear of Physics (Basic Books, 1993), now translated into 12 languages. For this book, he was a finalist for the American Institute of Physics 1994 Science Writing Award. His next book, The Physics of Star Trek, was released in November of 1995 and sold over 200,000 copies in the U.S. It was a national bestseller, a selection of 5 major book clubs, including Book of the Month Club, and was serialized in the November 1995 issue of Wired. It was widely praised, reviewed by the major media, and is being translated into 13 languages,and was the basis of a BBC TV production. A U.S. television production, to be narrated by Prof. Krauss, is currently planned. The U.K. version became a top-ten bestseller shortly after its release in May 1996. His book, Beyond Star Trek, appeared in November 1997 and has appeared in 5 foreign editions. Quintessence: The Mystery of the Missing Mass, a revision and update of The Fifth Essence, appeared in February 2000. He has just completed a major new book for Little Brown and Company, entitled Atom: An Odyssey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth. . .and Beyond, which is being released in April 2001. In this book, he explores the biography of an individual atom from the beginning, to the end of the Universe. Public Television is currently undertaking to produce a 5-part TV series, hosted by Krauss, to be based on this book.
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In February 2000, in Washington, D.C., Prof. Krauss was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science's 19992000 Award for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology. Previous awardees include Carl Sagan (1995) and E.O. Wilson (1994).
In April 2001, in Washington, D.C., he will receive the 2001 Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society. The citation reads ''For outstanding contributions to the understanding of the early universe, and extraordinary achievement in communicating the essence of physical science to the general public''. Previous awardees include Stephen W. Hawking (1999), and Kip S. Thorne (1996).
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you for your testimony. You were sort of in warp drive there, and trying to get everything in, andbut we appreciate your thoughts and your ideas. I will talk to you about that astronomy program, about that, later on.
Mr. KRAUSS. Thank you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Next we have Dr. Wesley Huntress, who is the Director of the Carnegie Institute's Geophysical Laboratory. He previously served as Associate Administrator for Space Science at NASA, and also served at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Dr. Huntress, you have some words of vision for us today.
STATEMENT OF DR. WESLEY T. HUNTRESS, DIRECTOR OF THE CARNEGIE INSTITUTION'S GEOPHYSICAL LABORATORY
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Mr. HUNTRESS. Thank you Mr. Chairman, and the member of the Subcommittee.
First of all, just let me say what a delight it is to be appearing before you here again today and agree with my fellows here at the table on the vision that the Committee has shown in putting this together here today. In fact, taking a look at the long-term, rather than the short-term and the annual budget cycle.
I am here today to discuss with you concepts for the future of this Nation's space program, and what I've done is tried to outline for you in my written testimony a vision of how this country can establish a road map to the future. A road map for a systematic, a logical, a science-driven adventure, in fact, in exploring our solar system, and in unlocking the mysteries of the universe.
Mr. Chairman, I really believe that America has the right stuff for an exciting future space program, and that the American public wants an adventurous space program, and it is time now, at the beginning of the new millennium, to really define its future.
I'd like to suggest that this revival take the form of a set of grand challenges that would be issued to the Agency, and in the pursuit of which the American public would receive the benefit of this exciting new adventure in space, as well as the knowledge and technology which inevitably result from such enterprise.
I believe it a well thought out road map for the space program's future, based on a sequence of ever more far reaching steps, an exploration in which what each step learns from the last will be a far more effective and more robust, and a more sustainable program for the American public than the disconnected set of separate NASA enterprise objectives that we have now.
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Well, what would such a program do? It should have, as a long-term goal, to answer questions that are foremost in the public's mind about space. You heard about some of them from Larry Krauss. Where do we come from? How did this universe come to be? How did life originate on Earth and evolve to make the human species? What will happen to us? What will happen to our own planet, and to the universe itself in the future? Is the Earth unique? Are there planetary systems around other stars similar to our own, and in particular, are there other planets like Earth around other stars?
And finally, the ultimate question that Larry told you about, and that is, are we alone? This is probably the most profound question of all, does life exist elsewhere in the solar system and universe beyond the Earth? Was there ever life on Mars, or elsewhere in our solar system? Do civilizations exist on planets around other stars?
These are questions that we now have the audacity to believe we can actually answer. The space science enterprise in NASA that I used to lead has based its approach in this new millennium on these kinds of fundamental questions. It has a mission statement that directly addresses them, and it consists of four simple phrases. Number one, solve the mysteries of the universethese are clearly long-term visionary.
Two, explore the solar system. Three, discover planets around other stars. And four, search for life beyond the Earth. Anyone can understand these. They are in plain English, and I think the public has demonstrated a real resonance with these ideas.
The must somehow be found for human space flight. Well what I'd like to suggest that these mission goals that I just described for you are universal, and in fact, can also be adopted in the human space flight program. A human exploration has the potential to contribute to each of these goals, and both parts of the agency ought to work in partnership toward achieving them.
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If properly woven together, robotic and human space flight could together provide for a very productive and cost beneficial mission from planet Earth.
And I'd like to suggest a set of five grand challenges for the space program that would relate directly to those goals. First would be to read the history and the destiny of the solar system. How did it come to be, what is its fate, and what does its origin and evolution imply for other planetary systems?
The second would be to look for the evidence of life elsewhere in the solar system. At Mars, look at Europa, wherever in the history of the solar system there has been liquid water, or where it is discovered to exist now.
Third would be to image and study planets around other stars, and ultimately, to find Earth-like planets in other planetary systems.
And fourth is to send a space craft to a nearby star. I heard what Larry had to say, and I agree with him that the physics are daunting, and in fact it may take new physics for us to do this. But in fact we are sending space craft beyond the solar system. We are doing it now, and there are useful things to find out in between the stars. But I must remind you that while we don't know how to do this today, that in 1900 we didn't know how to fly, either.
Fifth, would be to conduct a progressive and systematic plan of human exploration beyond Earth orbit and directly address the first three of these.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For example, I can envision a space observatory, consisting of a set of very large telescope mirrors, co-orbiting, with the sun/Earth Lagrangian point. That is a point about a half million miles away from Earth.
They could be searching for Earth-like planets around other stars, maintained and serviced by human expeditions, just like Hubble is now, low on Earth orbit.
I can envision robotic explorers making discoveries of viable materials on near Earth asteroids, and human explorers following, in order to access their extractability and their exportability to Earth, and perhaps assess any dangers that such an asteroid might pose to the Earth.
I can envision shuttles from the space station to lunar orbit, where it would be met by another shuttle to take astronauts to the surface, where they will examine the history of the sun and our solar system by using the implanted solar rim and the lunar mega lift, and to assess the asteroid impact hazard on Earth by examining the small craters on the Moon.
I also can envision an outpost on the Martian Moon Phobos, which is a national space station already waiting on Mars, set up as a way point for astronauts to shuttle down to the surface of Mars. And, as always, before humans arrive, robots will have been there to scout the territory, to find the right spot to produce the necessary materials in situ, and to provide the relevant exploration tools that humans will need when they finally show up. And that can be done in three successive stages: first, robotic exploration, like we are all more of less used to; second, follow that up by what I call a robotic outpost. Imagine, for example, our human outposts at Antarctica, what I envisioned as something similar to that, but in fact populated by robots, which work and toil and try to understand what is going on in the environment and prepare it before humans ever arrive.
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And this way you can build the infrastructure as you go, not in one big expensive push, and decreasing the risk at each step, in conducting the enterprise.
So, in view of trying to keep to my time, Mr. Chairman, I think I will stop there, and thank you for letting me share this vision with you today.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Wesley T. Huntress, Jr. follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DR. WESLEY T. HUNTRESS, JR.
''GRAND CHALLENGES FOR AMERICA'S SPACE PROGRAM''
America has the right stuff for an exciting space program.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
I am glad to be here today to discuss with you ideas on concepts for the future of this Nation's space program. I would like to outline for you a vision of how this country can establish a roadmap to the future for NASA based on its current capabilitiesa roadmap for a systematic, logical, science-driven adventure in exploring our Solar System and unlocking the mysteries of the Universe.
America's space program has survived three decades of national depression, cynicism and cultural malaise after the Apollo 11 landing. The successes of the space program in the 1990'sHubble's magnificent discoveries in the Universe, Mars Pathfinder's landing and rover on Mars, NEAR's asteroid reconnaissance and landing, Mars Global Surveyor's discoveries of water on Mars, Galileo's discovery of oceans below the surface of the Jovian moons, Lunar Prospector's tantalizing hint of water at the Lunar poles, the Shuttle flights and Space Station constructionall have provided a perfect opportunity to rekindle that intense feeling of pride, accomplishment and sense of national future when Armstrong stepped onto the Moon. We had a sense of national purpose in our space program back then. We lost it in 1972 and we need to recover that sense of purpose again at the beginning of this new 21st Century.
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I believe that a well-thought-out, gradual program of exploration in which each step learns from the last, and in which infrastructure for conducting that exploration builds from the last, will be a far more effective, affordable and sustainable program for the American public. An immediate sprint mission to Mars with a large step in NASA funding, for example, is neither realistically affordable nor in the best long-term interest of space exploration. We have ample evidence for that in the Apollo legacy. Rather, let's define a long-term program that builds slowly, gradually and systematically, a program that will establish a permanent presence at each outpost along the way, so that we build the communications, transportation and other logistical infrastructure as we go.
Finally, it is not the particular vision that I present to you today that is particularly important. What is important is that it provokes thinking about the goals and strategy for space exploration in the next century.
The public wants an adventurous space program.
So does the American public want to explore space? And if so, then how do we give them a program that will generate exciting discoveries and build the adventure in a systematic and efficient manner?
First, it is demonstrably clear that the public want this country to explore space. The public response to the exciting events in its space program has been overwhelming. Ask any schoolchild in your District about Hubble. Their eyes will light up. The Mars Pathfinder landing and Sojourner rover brought a huge public following. The loss of the Mars missions in 1999 brought a large public groan of disappointment, but did not dampen their excitement for continuing Mars exploration.
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Second, the public has a quite specific interest in space exploration that was brought to the surface by the ''Mars Rock'', and by the discovery of both sources of water on Mars and a subsurface ocean on Europa, and by the discovery of extra-solar planets. Put simply, the public has an in-born interest in knowing if we are alone in the Universe and whether there is now or ever was life elsewhere beyond the Earth.
Talking to school children, people sitting next to me on the airplane, or where ever I go people light up at idea of space exploration and what we might find ''out there''. I am convinced that Americans want and need to have an exciting space exploration program. Exploration is an essentially American characteristic. How else did we open up the West, conquer the extremes of this planet, and finally establish the world's premier space exploration program? The time and opportunity is now to identify for our people quite specific goals for the space program, and most importantly goals that resonate with the American public's interests and not necessarily with those of the insiders in the space program.
The public wants answers:
The public now has a story of the history of the Universe that they can relate to their own lives. The Universe had a beginning; it was born in the Big Bang. It is aging and evolving. Stars are the individuals inhabiting the Universe. They live in families and have local neighborhoods. They live in massive city-states called galaxies. Stars are born, live, change and die. When stars die, they bequeath a new wealth of atomic matter to their progeny in the interstellar medium.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Universe has become personalized in this way, and concepts such as ''origin'', ''fate'', ''death'', ''other places'' and ''life elsewhere'' now have become more familiar when applied to the Universe. These concepts also evoke innate questions that crawl up from the depths of the human mind in moments of contemplation.
''Where did we come from?'' This is a question that bears on the concept of ''origins''; the Big Bang, the origin of the Universe, and the origin of galaxies, stars, planets and life. How did life originate on the Earth and evolve to make the human species?
''What will happen to us?'' What will happen to our own planet and to the Universe itself? This question goes to the concepts of fate and death in the Universe and brings to mind places in the Universe where bizarre and violent death occurs, such as exploding stars and Black Holes. The changing and violent nature of the Universe was demonstrated for the public right in our own cosmic back yard by the collision of comet Shoemaker-Levy with Jupiter.
''Is the Earth unique?'' Are there planetary systems around other stars and other planets like our own?
''Are we alone?'' This is the most profound question of all. Does life exist beyond the Earth? Was there ever life on Mars or elsewhere in our Solar System? Do civilizations exist on planets around other stars?
These are questions that we now have to audacity to believe we can answer in the space program. And we believe it because the point has been reached in space technology development where we can actually design the instruments that will credibly allow us to get answers.
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MISSION FROM PLANET EARTH.
I believe that the basis for answering these questions, and for defining the future of the space program, already has its roots at the NASA. The Space Science Enterprise in NASA has based its approach to the next Millennium on these very same very public questions. It has a mission statement that directly addresses them. This mission statement is cast in the language of the public, was constructed with the help of representatives of the public, and is readily understandable. It consists of four simple phrases:
1. Solve mysteries of the Universe,
2. Explore the Solar System,
3. Discover planets around other stars,
4. Search for life beyond Earth.
Anyone can understand these goals, they are in plain English, and the public has demonstrated a resonance with these goals. The equivalent must also be established for human space flight. At the moment, Space Science is the only ''mission from planet Earth'' program in NASA. It is traveling outward from Earth exploring other worlds and it is looking outward from Earth solving mysteries of the Universe.
On the other hand, the human space flight program is restricted to Earth orbit for the foreseeable future. It is not yet going anywhere, which is why it has not enjoyed the necessary level of public support. Until we know where human space flight is going, it will continue to struggle to find the support that it used to enjoy 30 years ago.
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It is possible to put together a plan for human space exploration that will find resonance with the public, but it has a price; the fact must be accepted that the public and the Treasury are not yet ready for an all-out assault on Mars. We do not yet know the value of sending humans to Mars. We know too little about sending humans on a two-year journey to the surface of a far-flung planet. We have even forgotten how to go to the Moonwe've thrown away all the hardware that got us there last time. We need to learn to walk again before we run, and when we do run let's make sure that it is worth the effort.
So what should be the vision for human space flight, and where should it go? Space exploration is done by two complementary meanswith robots and with humans. If it is true that goals should be defined independent of means, and that the method of implementation is a choice after having set the goals, then the goals of the human space flight program should be the same as those of the robotic space flight program. And both parts of the agency ought to work in partnership towards achieving them. There should be no trouble imagining a combined robotic and human space flight program addressing the same goals that Space Science has found to be resonant with the public. Human exploration has the potential to contribute to all of these goals. If properly woven together, robotic and human space flight could together provide for a very productive and cost beneficial ''mission from planet Earth.''
I would like to suggest a set of Grand Challenges for the American space program at the outset of this new Millennium. They relate directly to the goals the Space Science Enterprise in NASA has already adopted. These are challenges that set long-term goals for the agency and provide a context for establishing a systematic approach to exploring the solar system with both robots and humans.
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First, to read the history and the destiny of the Solar System. How did it come to be, what is its fate and what does its origin and evolution imply for other planetary systems.
Second, to look for evidence of life elsewhere in the Solar System. At Mars, at Europa, wherever in the history of the Solar System there has been liquid water or where it is discovered to exist now.
Third, to image and study planets around other stars. Ultimately, to find Earth-like planets in other planetary systems.
Fourth, to send a spacecraft to a nearby star. Something we don't know how to do today! But in 1900 we didn't how to fly either.
And Fifth, while addressing these challenges to conduct a progressive and systematic plan of human exploration beyond Earth orbit.
What can be expected to come from these challenges? To answer that, let's examine how each of these challenges might be addressed.
Grand Challenges #1 and #2. Read the History and Destiny of the Solar System, and Look for Evidence of Life Elsewhere in the Solar System.
The first two Grand Challenges, reading the history and destiny of the Solar System and looking for evidence of life elsewhere in the Solar System, are both about exploration of the Solar System. So let's examine them together, and take a look at the potential objects of exploration from the easiest to the hardest.
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Near-Earth objects (NEOs), such as asteroids and comets, are the easiest to get to in terms of the energy required. A fleet of micro-spacecraft can be sent to explore a large number of these small objects to survey their bulk properties and to understand their diversity. This will help understand how to mitigate against them should any one of them present a danger to Earth in the future. Other products from this survey include an understanding of the origin of asteroids, their role in the formation of planets, their potential for supplying resources either for future space exploration or for export to Earth, and any potential need for human missions to these objects.
Next in order of ascending difficulty to explore after NEOs is the Moon. Additional energy is required in this case to drop safely into the Moon's gravitational well and back again. There are many reasons to go back to the Moon, both for science of the Moon as well as science on the Moon.
Among the most important science to be done at the Moon is related to reading the history of the Earth/Moon system.
Age dating of lunar stratigraphy with analysis of the implanted solar wind in these layers can be used to determine the past history of the Sun and it's future evolution.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The frequency and size distribution of asteroid impacts on the Earth can be determined by exploring the cratering record on the Moon. The impact flux is the same on the Earth and Moon, but the Moon preserves its impact record in small craters while dynamic surface processes rapidly erase Earth's impact record. By identifying the craters formed over the last 100 million years or so on the Moon, the fine structure in the impact record can be examined for periodicity and size vs. flux in the lunar impactors.
While much of the preliminary work can be conducted with robotic missions under direct control from Earth, identification of the appropriate local sites, craters and selection of samples for analysis will most likely require human fieldwork on the Moon. We have had only a few such field investigations during the Apollo program, and many more are needed in order to elucidate further the history of the Earth-Moon system.
More difficult still than lunar exploration is exploration of Mars. There are three main reasons for the scientific exploration of Mars. First and most significant is to search for evidence of past or present life. It may even be necessary to extend the search below the surface from orbit with radar to look for subsurface ice and water environments, and from the surface with drills or other means to explore ice and water subsurface environments if they are found. Should any evidence be discovered by robotic missions for early or extant life, whether surface or subsurface, there is no doubt that human fieldwork on Mars will be required.
Other reasons to explore Mars are to understand Mars as a planet, how it has evolved, any potential resources that might be useful for future exploration, and to understand Mar's weather and climate history. All of these objectives, including the search for life, share a common threadwater. When in the planet's history was there liquid water, where was it, in what form was it (rain, rivers, lakes, and oceans) and how much was there?
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The Outer Solar System.
The hardest to explore is the Outer Solar System, which almost certainly will be the exclusive realm of robotic exploration for the foreseeable future. This is the realm not just of the giant planets themselves, but of a large number of diverse satellites and free small bodies. Among the most interesting are Europa, with its potential for a subsurface ocean, Titan, which may have hydrocarbon fluids and organic snows on its surface, and cometary objects, which may contain the most primitive of Solar System material including pre-biotic organic compounds.
NASA is already on a path to determine if there is an ocean below the ice on Europa, including measurement of the distribution of subsurface water and where the ice above it is thinnest. If the existence of an ocean were confirmed, it would be imperative to go back again, this time to Europa's surface. The lander would melt through the ice and deploy a robotic submarine, an ''aquabot'', in the subsurface ocean to search for signs of life. If the Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan discovers lakes or oceans on Titan, then a follow-up mission should be sent to deploy global balloon explorers in the atmosphere. These ''aerobots'' would carry drop probes to explore interesting parts of the surface, perhaps including ''aquarovers'', robotic boats for exploration of any large bodies of liquid.
To carry out such advanced exploration in our Solar System, I suggest considering the concept of a robotic outpost. A robotic outpost is a remote scientific research station similar to a human outpost, but operating autonomously using only robots. The lowest level of autonomy for a robotic outpost would be remote human operation where real-time interaction is possible, such as on the Moon. The highest level would be nearly complete autonomy where the robots would be given only the top-level goals, and they would determine their own immediate objectives in pursuit of those goals using only occasional consultation with remote human directors.
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Robotic outposts would be a means to extend the human senses into the Solar System prior to human presence. They would be permanent and self-sustaining with occasional re-supply. They could be deployed as expandable intelligent stations in space or on the Moon, asteroids, Mars or elsewhere. They could conduct planetary in-situ studies or remote astrophysical observations, and they could set the stage for later human participation if and when it was decided to send humans.
Grand Challenge #3. Image and Study Planets around Other Stars.
There will come a time in the first half of the next century when humankind will be treated to the first image of an Earth-like planet around another star. That image will have an even larger effect on the human consciousness than did the first global image of Earth taken from space by Apollo 8 in 1968. We know now what technology will be used to obtain that imagespace interferometrybut we have difficulty imagining the scope of its application to achieve the goal. It is the same as looking into the future at the beginning of this century believing that the airplane will be used some day to carry human passengers across the country, but with no idea how to imagine a Boeing 747.
The new generation space telescope, NGST, is being designed now as a lightweight deployable 68 meter optical system. It is possible to imagine even larger aperture space telescopes in the future as the technology matures, growing from to 20-m and to even larger 100-m sizes for thin-film apertures. Several of these large space telescopes, optically coupled as an interferometer over a baseline of 10,000 km, could accomplish extrasolar planet imaging.
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The next generation of space telescopes must overcome the thermal environment and orbital viewing constraints suffered by Hubble in low Earth orbit. A good place to put the following generation would be in stable orbit at the Sun-Earth Lagrangian point L2. For interferometry, several telescopes in orbits about L2 achieve the proper baseline and more complete coverage for better images. The L2 stationary observation point is close enough to Earth for communication purposes, but far enough away to avoid Earth-related duty cycle and thermal problems. At these short distances, about 1.5 million km from Earth, human servicing of a complex of co-orbiting instruments is a feasible concept.
Grand Challenge #4. Send a spacecraft to a nearby star.
Once an earth-like planet is found orbiting another star, the need to develop the ability to send spacecraft to nearby stars will become acute. This challenge is even more daunting than producing an image of an extrasolar planet. We can identify the technology required for the latter, but we cannot yet identify the propulsion technology necessary to send even a micro-spacecraft to a nearby star, especially if it is to slow down and explore any local planetary system. The travel time must also be reasonable in human terms, on the order of a decade or so for travel to the nearest stars and no more than a century for the farthest target stars.
The amount of energy required to send even the smallest spacecraft to the nearest star is 34 orders of magnitude larger than any rocket we know how to build. Antimatter propulsion, fusion rockets and beamed energy are the only sources we can think of today, and the amount of propulsive energy required per year of flight is on the order of all the energy produced on Earth in one year.
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Besides propulsion, there are many other breakthrough technologies required to meet this challenge including on-board intelligence, robotics, control, repair, navigation and communication. But even if the first technological steps we taken towards this goal, a great deal would be learned through each intermediate stage, and excellent space science would be accomplished along the way. Early flights could be done in the Solar System to test the propulsion system. Development of a propulsion system capable of only 1% of the required velocity for stellar flight, solar sails for example, would enable vastly shorter trip times and new navigational capability through the Solar System. Each successive stage in technology development could take us farther into the interstellar medium, first exploring the heliosphere and the Kuiper Belt, then the Oort Cloud, the interstellar medium, finally culminating with a flyby of Alpha Centauri.
Grand Challenge #5. Conduct a progressive, systematic plan for human exploration beyond Earth orbit.
This challenge is of a different character than the other four. The first four are challenges in science and discovery. This fifth is a challenge in implementation. While it is not yet conceivable how to send humans to the nearest star, there is a potential role for human exploration in three of these challenges. This makes it possible to construct a systematic plan for human exploration that progresses readily from the easiest of missions to the hardest. At each stage of this progressive plan, human explorers perform enabling functions.
The ultimate destination in the plan remains human exploration on the surface of Mars, but the capability to accomplish that mission is developed and tested over time in less risky missions along a natural evolutionary technological pathway. It is not a Mars-or-Bust program. It is a steady, progressive, strategic approach to human exploration that encompasses a lot more than just Mars exploration and which gets us to Mars with a robust capability and with much less risk than an all out assault on Mars.
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The plan assumes that the Space Station exists. This assumption seems to be a good one at the moment, and if the Space Station exists then it should be used to best cost-effective advantage. The Station becomes the key space-borne logistical element at Earth. To illustrate the plan, let's start again with the easiest and earliest missions and then roll the program forward in time.
Construct and service a Mega Space Telescope Facility at L1 or L2.
If cost tradeoff studies for both large space telescopes and interferometers shows that construction, servicing and evolutionary development of these instruments in space is better accomplished by human missions than by robotic means, then an appropriate initial step for human exploration beyond Earth orbit would be to build a Deep Space Shuttle capable of ferrying humans and material from the Space Station in Earth orbit out to L2.
A Deep Space Shuttle would be needed which was capable of Earth escape from Station orbit, travel 1.5 million km to L2 and back, and support humans and construction-service requirements for a stay-time on the order of days to months. The energy requirement is minimal and less than for Apollo. The first Deep Space Shuttle would be a step in the evolutionary development of a vehicle that would eventually shuttle back and forth from Earth orbit to Mars orbit. Also, missions to the Lagrangian points remain close to Earth, within about a week's return flight time, and would give the astronauts experience with deep space travel and with operations in space on unanchored equipment-the next step beyond Hubble servicing.
Lunar surface exploration.
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The next step in energy and hardware requirements relative to Lagrangian point missions would be to add the capability to drop into the lunar gravity well and climb back out. The Deep Space Shuttle would now be required to shuttle from the Station in Earth orbit to lunar orbit and carry a heavier payload. Two new pieces of hardware are also required; a Lunar Shuttle to ferry equipment and humans between the Deep Space Shuttle in lunar orbit and the lunar surface, and a Lunar Habitat to support human expeditions on the surface of the Moon.
The trip times to the lunar surface would be shorter than for Lagrangian point missions but stay time at the destination would be considerably longer. The Lunar Habitat would be emplaced initially by an unpiloted Lunar Shuttle trip. The first Lunar Habitat might be human tended, and used episodically to construct and develop a robotic outpost on the surface. This robotic outpost would be the first step in developing a combined robotic/human science outpost on the Moon in which the Habitat is enlarged and becomes fully operational.
Near-Earth asteroids are another potential target for human exploration. The energy requirements are less than for lunar surface exploration missions, but the distances are larger and trip times longer. It is not immediately obvious whether asteroid missions would be easier or more difficult than lunar surface missions. Trade-off studies might show that asteroid exploration should precede lunar surface exploration in a progressive, evolutionary human space flight program.
The Deep Space Shuttle would need new capabilities to support longer trip times, to maneuver and rendezvous with the asteroid and for station keeping during surface exploration. This latter function is made more difficult than for Lagrangian point missions because of the rotation of the asteroid. The Deep Space Shuttle must also support an asteroid surface explorer, a derivative or precursor to the Lunar Habitat, to ferry astronauts between the Deep Space Shuttle and the surface of the asteroid, and to support their exploration goals while there.
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Phobos (or Deimos) Observatory.
After experience with progressively longer deep space flight from Lagrangian points to near-Earth asteroids, and with experience in exploration logistics at the Lagrangian points, asteroids and the Moon, and with surface habitat experience on asteroids and the Moon, the next target is Mars. By this time robotic missions to Mars will have shown Mars to be well worth this ambitious undertaking. When the decision is finally taken to go to Mars, the goal should be no less than to set up a long-term program of human exploration and eventual colonization. In this case the first step ought to be to set up a logistics base for space operations at Mars just as we have done at Eartha Space Station in Mars orbit to support operations to and from the surface. Fortunately, there are two station platforms already provided in close orbit of MarsPhobos and Deimosready to accept habitats for human beings.
A station on Phobos or Deimos would be human-tended initially and evolve into a permanent, rotated-crew facility. It would be set up on the Mars-facing side of the tiny moon and used for remote observations and study of Mars. The observatory would track surface changes, monitor Martian weather, and operate surface stations. Robotic surface probes would be launched from the station for scientific purposes and to emplace supplies.
The Phobos Station would be supported by the final generation of the Deep Space Shuttle, now capable of Earth orbit to Mars orbit operation. The Deep Space Shuttle would carry the station to Phobos and it would be set up and supplied from Earth using the Deep Space Shuttle. Initially a scientific observatory, in its ultimate configuration the station would be used also as the logistics base for ferrying humans and their equipment to the surface of Mars and back.
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Mars surface exploration.
All of the necessary systems and support are now in place to set up a human outpost on the surface of Mars. The Deep Space Shuttle brings two new vehicles to the Phobos Station, a Mars-Orbit-to-Surface-Shuttle (MOSS) and a Mars Habitat. The first missions for the MOSS are robotic; to emplace the Mars Habitat and any necessary supporting hardware and supplies on the surface to supplement production by the long-operating robotic Mars Outpost. Having fulfilled this function, it is next piloted from Phobos to the surface by the first human surface explorers and stands ready to take them back for rotation with the next crew.
Mars is as far as this vision of human exploration goes. But there are destinations beyond Mars that may beckon as we explore space in the next century. If our robotic missions find an ocean below the ice on Europa, and if our aquabots find things swimming in the European ocean, then the temptation to send humans will be unbearable. Right now we know of no way to shield humans from a swift death in the radiation environment of Europa, even inside a spacecraft, but perhaps they can be enclosed in a magnetically shielded cocoon of some kind until they are well underneath the natural ice shield of Europa's surface.
Who can predict what we will find as we proceed over the next years to investigate our Solar System and the stars beyond? Who could have predicted in 1990 all that we have learned since then about water on Mars, potential early life on Mars, oceans beneath the ice of Europa, planets around other stars, and the robustness and early origin of life on Earth?
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WHAT ARE THE BARRIERS, WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN?
Nothing more than National will, which I believe is already there in the people of the United States. It is a matter for the Government of the United States to recognize it, to avert its gaze on quarterly reports for just a few moments to peer into the more distant future of the country. It is a matter for leadership by the Administration, and for support from Congress.
That national will of course must translate into funding. But the vision I have just outlined does not require an immediate large increase in the NASA budget. It does require commitment to a manifest destiny for America in space. It does require a commitment to the resources required to realize that policy as the space program gradually and systematically increases in scale and scope, but not so much in any one year as would be required for an immediate program to send humans to Mars now. I believe much of what I have put before you can happen with such a committment.
It should not take a crisis to make it happen. We will wait a long time before anything from space will ever threaten us; perhaps an asteroid, but even that possibility is statistically remote. It should be instead a matter of the will of a great nation and people, and a matter of national curiosity, of the human need to know, of the adventure of exploration.
. . .And if there is the slightest chance that life may be out there, then we have to go.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This testimony is adapted from the Second Annual Carl Sagan Memorial Lecture delivered by the author at the American Astronautical Society Annual Meeting in Houston, TX, November 17, 1998.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much, doctor. Finally, we have Allen Steele, who is an award-winning science fiction author who worked as a journalist before turning full-time to science fiction writing. I understand that Allen even covered this Committee, and this Subcommittee. How long ago was that?
Mr. STEELE. Sixteen years ago.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Sixteen years ago, that is back when I had a beard like your's. But, I was not here 16 years ago, however.
Well, that is a wondrous thing. I am a former journalist myself, and so I am deeply impressed that a young journalist has become an author who can actually earn a living being an author, so that is terrific.
Mr. STEELE. I think I like being a science fiction writer better, yes.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Okay. Well, Allen, thank you very much for joining us today, we appreciate you sharing with us. You are the only non-doctor in this group.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have space heroes, and physicists, and people who have led NASA and others, and we have got a journalist and a science fiction writer here. So, please share with us your vision.
STATEMENT OF MR. ALLEN STEELE, SCIENCE FICTION AUTHOR
Mr. STEELE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a great honor to be here and especially with knowledge that not very many science fiction writers have been invited to testify before Congress. I will report back to the members of the Science Fiction Writers of America that the names of Arthur Clarke and Robert Heinlein and Verne and Wells were mentioned this afternoon.
During the last 50 years humankind has taken broad steps in exploring space. In a very short time, despite setbacks and dead-end decisions, we have gone from short range V2 rockets to the international space station.
The time has now come for us to take the next step, the establishment of a permanent spacefaring civilization.
The development of a near Earth space resource is no longer a luxury, it has become a necessity.
Space exploration has become a principal driver in the development of high technology. In order to maintain our high standard of living, and also solve some of the problems which face us in the coming century, it is imperative that the U. S. continue to invest wisely in this new frontier.
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However, we cannot simply continue to do things as we have done them before. Although NASA is very good at directing scientific research and technological R&D, by the nature of its own charter it is ill-suited to commercial space endeavors.
This is the type of activity which is best accomplished by private industry. The time has come for the U.S. to change it is philosophical approach to space exploration. Instead of assuming a single purpose space program, aimed at achieving short-term goals, I believe that we should pursue a two-pronged approach: a public space effort focused on the continuing exploration of the solar system, for the sake of scientific knowledge, with a manned expedition to Mars as a worthwhile objective. And a private effort, which is geared toward opening the space frontiers for the purpose of exporting off Earth resources.
To this end, I believe the U. S. government should establish a new Federal space agency which would focus entirely upon private space development. This hypothetical agency, which I call the Commercial Space Administration, would have no launch facilities of its own, not would it actively engage in technological research and development. Its primary purpose would be to foster commercial space endeavors, and have two major functions:
a) To serve as a regulatory agency for the private space industry, enabling companies to gain approval for launches without having to go through several different Federal agencies, thereby streamlining the process, which has become a bureaucratic nightmare, really, from what I understand from people working the industry.
b) Award Federal grants to private companies that wish to develop new space craft for commercial use, with an emphasis upon passenger-related craft. In this way the CSA would provide seed money, which would assist small, start-up companies to get their ideas from the drawing pad to the launch pad, and therefore put them on an equal footing with the major air and space firms.
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There are three major space objectives which can be accomplished by private industry over the next 20 to 30 years. First, construction of a second-generation space shuttle. The fleet of Columbia-class shuttles are rapidly nearing the end of their expected lifetimes. We need to develop a follow-up space craft which is more flexible in terms of mission, and less expensive to maintain and operate.
Although single stage to orbit space craft may 1 day be viable, in the short-term we should focus upon a multi-purpose vehicle, which utilizes a fly back booster, has a payload capacity suitable for carrying the cargo and passengers and will require less ground maintenance.
Although several small companies, including Starcraft, have already done considerable research and development in this area, providing support for their efforts would be first priority of a commercial space exploration.
Second, we should seriously consider the construction of solar-powered satellites. Harbingers of a coming energy crisis are already upon us, soaring fuel oil prices cost the U. S. economy for the hundred and fifteen billion between 1999 and 2000. And in California rolling blackouts are on the way to becoming commonplace.
According to the Federal Energy Information Office domestic energy demands will rise 45% over the next 20 years. Space based solar power systems have been extensively researched for more than 30 years.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Although powersats were once considered to be too expensive and inefficient, in 1995 NASA conducted a Fresh Look study which examined SPS in the light of recent technological developments. It estimated that in solar-powered satellites, such as the proposed Sun Tower could deliver 15 to 20 megawatts of electrical power. And over a 50 year period a system of 18 to 24 power sats of this type would generate between 3.5 and 4 gigawatts of energy.
Third, we should return to the Moon. This time with the intent of establishing a permanent base, which will support commercial and scientific research activities.
One major achievement of the Apollo Missions was the discovery that the lunar highlands contained abundant resources of usable materials, including Titanium, Aluminum, Silicon, and Hydrogen. As a result, virtually every long-term plan for space development calls upon the use of lunar materials.
The Moon is also an excellent place for the construction of space telescopes, particularly the lunar farside as Lawrence mentioned, which is shielded from radio emissions from Earth. Also, the effort it would take for us to return to the Moon would give us an opportunity to test the hardware and procedures necessary to send a manned expedition to Mars. And in the longer run, the Moon could serve as a site for space tourism.
A number of American and Japanese corporations have already begun investigating the possibility of building lunar resorts. One small start-up company, Lunar Resources, has devised a plan called Project Artemis, which would send a modest three person expedition to the Moon, with the objective of starting a lunar base camp, using reusable space craft which could be built with current technology.
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The slide which we had on the screen illustrates one portion of their mission. They estimate that the total cost of the first mission would be 1.4 billion, which is approximately 1/10 of the cost of the average Apollo Mission.
All of these operationsthe formation of a commercial space administration, development of second generation commercial shuttles, the construction of space solar powered satellites, and returning to the Moon for the purpose of establishing a permanent lunar base, are part of a multi-purpose space effort would utilize those public and private resources, and in this two-prong approach NASA would continue to conduct the basic scientific research, supply launch services, and pursue long-term objectives such as sending in a manned expedition to Mars. However, it would now be joined by a private side effort, carefully seeded by Federal start-up grants, which would emphasize rapid development of commercial space development.
The potential payoff for this is enormous. The creation of thousands of new jobs, the establishment of reliable new means of electrical power, technological innovations that would bring about a new industrial revolution, and enhance daily life on Mars.
Gentlemen, in years past we referred to the last 30 or 40 years to be the Space Age. I would tend to think that this has been, really, the Pre-space Age. We have been learning how to do these things. All that is prelude. We now have the ability to do these things that we have been talking about. The real Space Age is about to begin.
[The prepared statement of Allen M. Steele follows:]
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPREPARED STATEMENT OF ALLEN M. STEELE
2001: THE COMING OF THE SPACE AGE
The first decade of the 21st century will mark the beginning of the Space Age.
The past is prelude; everything humankind has accomplished in space up during the 20th century has been part of a learning curve. This curve has been steep, yet in hindsight we've been very adept students. In 1901, the Russian mathematician Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was one of the few people researching methods for interplanetary travel; by 1926, the American physicist Robert H. Goddard had launched the world's first liquid-fueled rocket. In 1942, German scientists test-fired the first V2 missile; 27 years later, American astronauts were walking on the Moon. The first space stations were in orbit by the mid-'70s; within a decade, the United States had a small fleet of reusable space shuttles, and by the end of the '90s these craft had flown more than 100 successful missions. Just this last week, the annual Academy Awards ceremonies were officially opened by American and Russian astronauts aboard the International Space Station, an event witnessed by an estimated audience of 800 million people.
This progress hasn't been without cost. There have been many setbacks along the way. Lives have been lost, bad decisions have been made, and roads have been taken which have led to dead-ends. Despite all this, we've accomplished something quite remarkablethe opening of a new frontier, one which exists far beyond the natural and political borders of Earth.
The time has come for humankind to take the next logical step: the establishment of a permanent spacefaring civilization.
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INCENTIVES, OBSTACLES AND OBJECTIVES
The exploration of space and the development of its resources is no longer a luxury. In fact, it has become a necessity.
Over the course of the last century, the United States has become the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth. Our position as world leader is largely the result of technological innovation, and during the last forty years much of this is either directly or indirectly tied to space exploration.
Our global communications network are now linked by geosynchronous satellites; without them, many personal, business, and financial transactions could not occur with the instantaneous speed to which we've become accustomed. Weather forecasts have become dependent upon satellite imagery; major storms or hurricanes which used to come upon an unsuspecting local populace without warning can now be predicted days in advance, giving people ample time to prepare their homes and seek shelter. Overseas military actions are now largely guided by satellite; officers in the field can now access real-time images which allow them to see the exact positions of opposition forces and react accordingly. By much the same token, intelligence officials are able to monitor the actions of unfriendly nations and tell whether they're abiding by international peace treaties, thereby preventing future conflicts.
All of these thingsand much more, not to mention the countless technological spin-offs which are part of our everyday livesare the result of space technology. Indeed, a strong case could be made that space exploration has become one of our principal technological drivers. Therefore, in order to maintain our high standard of living during the coming century, it is imperative that we continue to invest wisely in this new frontier.
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Yet we cannot simply keep doing things as we've done them before. Commercial expenditure in space has already outpaced that of the U.S. Government; however, NASA continues to enjoy a near-total monopoly over access to launch services, and with the exception of Pegasus and SeaLaunch remains the sole means by which a company can launch a satellite into orbit without resorting to assistance from foreign governments and contractors. At present the market for launch services is still limited, yet in the coming years we can expect to see the commercial space industry to experience exponential growth as the demand for satellite technology increases. A half-dozen small companies are poised to build and launch a new generation of passenger-rated spacecraft which are less expensive to maintain and operate than the present space shuttle fleet, yet all are hindered by lack of private investment and the burden of government overregulation.
During the last 40 years, NASA has become the world leader in space exploration; no other nation has a space agency that comes close to what it's doing. Indeed, when it comes to astrophysical research, NASA is second to none; it has sent men to the Moon and launched robotic probes to all the planets and major moons of the solar system. It's been proposed that, once the ISS is completed and becomes fully-functional, NASA's next long-range goal should be sending an international manned expedition to Mars. This is a worthwhile objective; NASA has the ability to accomplish this within the next twenty years, and such a mission would be a major boost to both space science and international relations.
However, because of the nature of its own charter, written over 40 years ago, NASA is poorly equipped for dealing with commercial enterprise. It was never meant to be involved in commercial space endeavors. Despite the visionary leadership of its current Chief Administrator, who has urged for the privatization of space transportation systems, NASA has become an impediment to commercial space development.
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I believe that the time has come for the United States to change its philosophical approach to space exploration. The very term ''space program,'' still commonly used by many, is a left-over relic of the Apollo era; it suggests short-term, single-purpose objectives which end once a particular goal has been achieved, whether it be putting men on the Moon or building a space station. Instead, we should start thinking in terms of ''space settlement''the long-term, multi-purpose effort to make near-Earth space a permanent habitat of humankind.
With this in mind, we should undertake a two-prong approach: a public space effort, led by NASA and focused upon the exploration of the solar system for sake of scientific knowledge; and a private space effort, which is geared toward opening the space frontier for the purpose of exploiting off-Earth resources.
These two prongs would be largely independent of each other, yet run parallel (and sometimes tangential) courses. While commercial industry would frequently enlist NASA assistance, it wouldn't be wholly dependent upon it. Naturally, the same logic would apply vice-versa: the public space effort would gain from rapid advances made by a private space industry
that no longer has to compete with NASA for access to launch services.
A NEW SPACE AGENCY
As stated before, NASA is ill-suited for dealing with commercial space enterprise. This was demonstrated during the early 1980's, when the demands of the satellite launch industry contributed in part to the circumstances which led to the Challenger disaster; the Reagan Administration responded by barring commercial payloads from the space shuttle fleet. More recently, we've also seen the indecision over the purpose of the International Space Station; no one could decide whether the ISS should be a government R&D lab, a commercial space outpost, or neither or both. As a result, the ISS was redesigned several times, causing enormous construction overruns.
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In a sense, NASA is a bit like the pushme-pullyou, the two-headed llama from the Dr. Doolittle stories: a creature which wants to go in both directions at once. We should allow NASA to return to doing the things it does best, and give private industry a chance to achieve its own goals in the free market without having to compete with the government space effort.
The time has come for the creation a new federal space agency devoted entirely to private space development.
This hypothetical agency, which I'll call the Commercial Space Administration (CSA), would be much like the present Federal Aviation Administration. Its primary purpose would be to foster private space enterprise; unlike NASA, it would have no launch facilities of its own, nor would it actively engage in research and development. It would probably be organized under the Department of Transportation, with major support from the Department of Commerce and the Department of Defense.
The CSA would have two major functions. First, it would serve as the primary regulatory agency for commercial space exploration. Private enterprise currently has to gain approval from several different federal agencies before it can launch a spacecraft, thus has creating a bureaucratic maze which inhibits the development of commercial carrier. The CSA would streamline this process, making it easier for a company to put a project on the fast track to full operation.
Second, the CSA would award federal grants to private companies that wish to develop new spacecraft for commercial use, with an emphasis on second-generation passenger-rated craft. Right now, small firms have to raise funds from individual investors before it can hope to bring its ideas from the drafting table to the launch pad; this is a major obstacle to commercial space development, since investors are wary of putting money into projects which may not pay off for many years.
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By offering ''seed money'' to such fledgling companies, the CSA would assist private industry in developing advanced launch systems. Instead of having NASA pick one design over anothersuch as in the case, several years ago, with the government-sponsored competition among four different major aerospace companies to build a second-generation shuttle, which in turn led to the ill-fated X33/VentureStar being selected while the three competing designs were left to wither and diethe CSA would encourage many different companies to build their own spacecraft without having to rely on NASA as its primary customer. In this way, free-market competition would drive the development of the advanced spacecraft.
During the last decade, there has been a major push toward the development of a new generation of passenger-rated spacecraft which would eventually replace the present-day space shuttle fleet. This is absolutely necessary; the current NASA shuttles were designed nearly thirty years ago, and as such they're high-maintenance vehicles which are expensive to operate while having limited launch capabilities. Furthermore, the shuttle fleet will soon be reaching the end of their life expectancies; although the NASA shuttles have been upgraded several times, nonetheless they were largely designed for missions which no longer exist (e.g. placing large military satellites in polar orbit) and rely on a technology base which is already obsolete.
Unfortunately, NASA and the White House made a serious mistake in 1996 when it selected the X33/VentureStar program as the carrier which would replace the Columbia-class shuttles. As experience has proven, the technology doesn't yet exist to build for a reliable single-stage-to-orbit spacecraft capable of lifting a sizeable payload mass into orbit. SSTOs may yet be built and successfully flown, but not for some time to come. While we should continue the research and development of SSTOs, in the meantime we should also search for an intermediate step between the Columbia-class shuttles and SSTOs.
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In the short run, what makes more sense is the development of a new generation of multipurpose two-stage spacecraft: a spaceplane with a lower hangar-to-pad turnaround turn than the present shuttles, which would be lifted into orbit by means of a fully-reusable flyback booster. Such spacecraft could be used for a variety of different purposes, ranging from freighting large payloads (e.g. space station modules, environmental and communications satellites, space power systems, etc.) to ferrying large numbers of civilian passengers to orbit or suborbit. These craft could require less ground maintenance than the present NASA shuttle fleet; much like SSTOs, they conceivably could be designed to be launched from relatively small spaceports. In many ways, they would be the 21st-century equivalent of the Douglas DC3 or the Boeing 707.
Several companies have already done considerable research and development in this area. Providing support for their efforts should be the first objective of the Commercial Space Administration.
SOLAR POWER SATELLITES
One of the major problems which will confront humankind during the coming century will be the means by which we produce a reliable supply of electrical power. Indeed, the harbingers of the coming energy crisis are already upon us.
We've become dependent upon foreign governments for oil supplies; this has led to tense relations with the OPEC nations and an increased potential for international conflict. On the other hand, there's considerable public resistance against endangering the natural environment by exploiting Alaskan and offshore oil reserves. The rise in fuel prices has cost the U.S. Economy more than $115 billion between 1999 and 2000; this last winter, we've seen skyrocketing home-fuel prices in the Northeast, while in California rolling blackouts are on their way to becoming commonplace. At this rate, the situation will get worse before it gets better: according to the federal Energy Information Office, domestic energy demands will rise 45 percent over the next 20 years.
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President Bush has recently called for long-range solutions to the energy crunch. There is one, and it's been extensively studied for more than 30 years: solar power satellites.
SPS was first proposed in 1968 by Dr. Peter Glaser, and was popularized by the late Dr. Gerard O'Neill in his 1976 bestseller The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space. During the last 20 years, SPS research has been conducted in the U.S. by the non-profit Space Studies Institute; organizations in Russia and Japan has also investigated the proposal.
A 1979 study by NASA and the federal Department of Energy concluded that SPS was too expensive and inefficient for it to be an effective solution to long-term energy needs. However, in 1995 NASA conducted a Fresh Look study of SPS which re-examined the proposal in terms of recent innovations in light-weight materials and orbital construction.
One of the more recent configurations for an SPS system is the SunTower, a tethered array of disc-shaped modules containing photovoltaic cells, each capable of generating 100 to 400 megawatts of electrical power; the array would be approximately 10 miles long. Launched into orbit by Columbia-class shuttles or second-generation spacecraft and positioned about 600 miles above Earth, SunTower would collect sunlight, convert it into electrical power, then transmit this energy to ground-based ''rectennas,'' or receiving antennas, via low-power microwave beams.
The study estimated that the first SunTower system would have a start-up cost of approximately $6 to $8 billion, and would generate between 15 to 20 megawatts of electrical power. Although expensive, this cost compares favorably to that an new nuclear power plant or hydroelectric station, and unlike nuclear plants or dams the environmental impact would be minimal.. Over a fifty-year period, a system of 18 to 24 SunTower-type powersats could generate 3.5 to 4.0 gigawatts of electrical power.
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Even more ambitious is the proposed SolarDisc SPS, positioned in geosynchronous orbit 22,300 miles above Earth. Although larger and much more expensivean estimated $30 to $40 billion for the construction of six satellites, each nearly four miles in diameterit's estimated that they could generate up to 60 gigawatts of electrical power.
SPS has the potential to solve the energy crisis which looms before us. They will also be very profitable for the space corporation or consortium which builds them; it's estimated that the SunTower system could generate revenues of up to $270 billion against construction costs of approximately $60 billion. Again, like second-generation commercial shuttles, this is an appropriate and potentially lucrative goal for a robust American space industry.
RETURN TO THE MOON
In 1972, the U.S. launched the final Apollo mission to the Moon; after the Apollo 17 astronauts returned to Earth, more than 20 years would pass before this country would send another probe to the Moon. Although this decision was caused by NASA budget cuts which, in turn, were motivated by short-sighted politics of the time, in hindsight it may have been a blessing, for during this long hiatus space scientists have had ample time to study the findings of those first six lunar expeditions.
As it turns out, the Moon isn't the worthless, desolate world it once appeared to be. Surface rock and deep-drill sample returned to Earth by the Apollo astronauts revealed that lunar highlands contain abundant resources of usable materials, among them titanium, aluminum, silicon, and hydrogen. It was also revealed that the lunar regolith is rich with helium-three, an isotope rare on Earth but widespread on the Moon; many scientists believe He3 could be a source of fuel for commercial nuclear fusion reactors, if and when they're successfully developed later in this century. So the Moon has great potential for mining operations in the near future. Indeed, virtually every ambitious plan for commercial space developmentincluding some scenarios for large-scale SPS constructioncalls for the use of lunar materials.
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Furthermore, the Moon has other uses. The lunar farside is an excellent place for the construction of radio telescopes; a long-baseline inferometry system positioned there could search the stars for signs of interstellar terrestrial planets without interference from radio emissions on Earth. The Moon could also serve as a site for space tourism; a number of American and Japanese corporations have already begun investigating the possibility of building lunar resorts. And the effort it would take to return to the Moon would give us the opportunity to test the hardware and procedures necessary to mount an international expedition to Mars.
A number of private companies such as LunaCorp have already proposed low-cost robotic sample-return missions. However, one company, the Lunar Resources Company, wants to take this a step father: it intends to send a three-person expedition to the Moon for the purpose of establishing a permanent lunar colony.
The Artemis Project entails the construction of a two-vessel spacecrafta lunar transfer vehicle (LTV) and a two-stage lunar lander equipped with a habitatwhich would be lifted into orbit by means of Columbia-class shuttles (or a similar spacecraft, if and when one becomes available). The LTV and the lander would be linked together in low-Earth orbit; a third shuttle flight would then carry the crew to the waiting moonship.
The craft would then depart from Earth orbit and spend the next three days traveling to the Moon. All three crewmembers would board the lander, thereby leaving the LTV in orbit, and travel to the lunar surface. Once they've arrived, they would spend up to a week exploring the landing site and also establishing a base camp for future expeditions. Once their work is done, the crew would leave the habitat behind, board the lander's ascent stage, launch and re-mate with the orbiting LTV. They would then return to Earth, where the LTV would rendezvous with a shuttle or perhaps the International Space Station.
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Although the Artemis mission profile is somewhat similar to that of Apollo, there's several key differences. First, it would require no new technological breakthroughs; everything used for this mission would utilize present-day technology. Second, the LTV would be reusable; unlike the Apollo LEMs, which were discarded after each mission, the Artemis transfer vehicle could be used again for subsequent flights. And third, Artemis's major objective is the establishment of a permanent lunar base; each mission would bring another habitat module, thus adding a little more to the base camp.
The Lunar Resources Company estimates that the cost of the first Artemis mission would be approximately $1.5 billionabout one-tenth the cost of an Apollo mission, with two-thirds of the cost being the acquisition of launch services. At this time, LRC intends to attract capital investment on its own, and therefore isn't seeking government funding. It also hopes that it can accomplish its goals independent of NASA by using second-generation shuttles owned and operated by private industry. However, I believe that the Artemis Project could benefit greatly from assistance by a Commercial Space Administration.
A NEW PARADIGM
What I've tried to outline here, very briefly, is a means by which the United States can lead the way to establishing a permanent human presence in space.
All these operationsthe formation of a Commercial Space Administration, the development of second-generation space shuttles, the construction of solar power satellites, and the return to the Moon for the purpose of establishing a permanent lunar baseare parts of a new paradigm: a multi-purpose ''space settlement'' approach which utilizes both public and private resources. This considerably from the traditional ''space program'' paradigm, which pursued one project at a time, with short-term goals instead of long-range objectives.
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For the last four decades, NASA has been the primary agency behind the American space effort. In this two-prong approach, NASA would continue to conduct basic scientific research, supply launch services from the Kennedy Space Center, and pursue the long-term objective of sending a manned expedition to Mars. However, now there would also be a private-side effort, carefully seeded by federal start-up grants, which would concentrate on fostering commercial space development, with an emphasis upon building a permanent infrastructure between Earth orbit and the Moon.
The potential payoff is enormous: rapid expansion of the aerospace industry with the creation of thousands of new jobs, the establishment of long-term means of energy supply, and the innovation of new technology which could bring about a new industrial revolution and enhance daily life on Earth.
As I stated earlier, the past is prelude. The Space Agethe real Space Ageis just beginning. The first steps have already been taken; the road ahead is open, the sign-posts clearly visible. All we really need to do is be willing to travel.
Gatland, Kenneth; The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Space Technology (second edition); Salamander Books, 1989
Mankins, John C. ''The Potential Role of Space Solar Power in Beginning Large-Scale Manufacturing in Space''; Space Manufacturing 11: Proceedings of the Thirteenth SSI/Princeton Conference on Space Manufacturing; Space Studies Institute, Princeton N.J., 1997
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O'Neill, Gerard K.; The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space (first edition); Morrow, 1976
Pianin, Eric; ''U.S. Faces An Energy Shortfall, Bush Says''; Washington Post, March 20, 2001
Stine, G. Harry; Halfway to Anywhere: Achieving America's Destiny in Space; M. Evans & Company, 1996
Strock, Ian Randal; ''Selling Our Way to the Moon: The Artemis Project''; Artemis, Issue 1; Spring, 2000
Wagner, Richard; Designs on Space: Blueprints for 21st Century Space Exploration; Simon & Schuster, 2000
BIOGRAPHY FOR ALLEN M. STEELE
Allen Mulherin Steele, Jr. became a full-time science fiction writer in 1988, following publication of his first short story, ''Live From The Mars Hotel'' (''Asimov's'', mid-Dec. '88). Since then he has become a prolific author of novels, short stories, and essays, with his work appearing in England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Russia, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Japan.
Steele was born in Nashville, Tennessee. He received his B.A. in Communications from New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire, and his M.A. in Journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. Before turning to SF, he worked for as a staff writer for daily and weekly newspapers in Tennessee, Missouri, and Massachusetts, freelanced for business and general-interest magazines in the Northeast, and spent a short tenure as a Washington correspondent, covering politics on Capitol Hill.
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His novels include OrbitalDecay, Clarke County Space, Lunar Descent, Labyrinth of Night, The lericho Iteration, The Tranquillity Alternative, A King of Infinite Space, and Oceanspace. He has also published three collections of short fiction: Rude Astronauts, All-American Alien Boy, and Sex and Violence in Zero-G. His work has appeared in '' Asimov's Science Fiction'', ''Analog'', ''Fantasy & Science Fiction'', ''Omni'', ''Science Fiction Age'', ''Journal Wired'', ''Science Fiction Chronicle'', ''Locus'', ''Pirate Writings'', and ''The New York Review of Science Fiction'', as well as in many anthologies. He writes regular columns for ''Absolute Magnitude'' and '' Artemis''.
His novella ''The Death Of Captain Future'' (''Asimov's'', Oct.'95) received the 1996 Hugo Award for Best Novella, won a 1996 Science Fiction Weekly Reader Appreciation Award, and received the 1998 Seiun Award for Best Foreign Short Story from Japan's National Science Fiction Convention. It was also nominated for a 1997 Nebula Award by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
His novella '' '. . .Where Angels Fear to Tread' '' ('' Asimov's'', Oct.lNov. '97) received the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, the Asimov's Readers Award, and the Science Fiction Chronicle Readers Award in 1998, and was also nominated for the Nebula, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial, and Seiun awards.
His novelette ''The Good Rat'' (''Analog'', mid-Dec.'95) was nominated for a Hugo in 1996, and his novelette ''Zwarte Piet's Tale'' (''Analog'', 12/98) won an AnLab Award from Analog and was nominated for a Hugo in 1999. OrbitalDecay received the 1990 Locus Award for Best First Novel, and Clarke County, Space was nominated for the 1991 Phillip K. Dick Award. He was First Runner-Up for the 1990 John W. Campbell Award, and received the Donald A. Wollheim Award in 1993.
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Steele serves on the Board of Advisors for both the Space Frontier Foundation and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and he is a former member of the SFW A Board of Directors.
He lives in western Massachusetts with his wife Linda and their three dogs. His hobbies including collecting vintage SF books and magazines, Nordic skiing, and building model spacecraft. His next novel, Chronospace, will be published in May 2001 by Penguin-Putnam/Ace.
ABSTRACT OF WRITTEN TESTIMONY BY ALLEN M. STEELE
The written testimony by Allen Steele calls upon the United States to adopt a new paradigm in pursuing space exploration during the 21st century. Short-term, single-program goals should be replaced by long-term, multi-purpose planning aimed at establishing a permanent human presence in space during the 21st century. The testimony suggests that the U.S. Government should establish a new federal space agency which would focus entirely upon fostering commercial space development, and lists three major priorities for such an agency: the construction of a second-generation space shuttle, the development of orbital solar power satellites, and a return to the Moon for the purpose of establishing a permanent lunar colony.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much. I appreciate your testimony. We will now go into any questions and answers.
Let me just note that Mr. Steele talked about some things I never heard of before. Mr. Steele, I appreciate that very much, because you probably are aware that is a high priority for me as Chairman. In trying to head toward that potential, I see solar power from space as being a long-term potential. And short-term, we can even use that same beaming technology to go from one point of the planet, producing electric energy, and beaming it to another. I am very glad to hear that you support this step.
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Mr. STEELE. Yes.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Buzz, let me ask you a little bit about, we just heard Mr. Steele talk about the need for replacing the shuttle. Do you see what you are proposing here, the shuttle now is, what, 30 years old, 40 years old almost, in technology, do you see your, the work that you are proposing, what you are proposing as the new workhorse for the new age of space that we are talking about?
Dr. ALDRIN. The shuttle, when it was really originally designed was a two-stage, fully reusable system. I participated briefly in that, with dismay noting that a cockpit was put in the booster, which added to the expense, and I think eventually brought about the compromise into the present shuttle.
The present shuttle was designed to fly a hundred missions, and I participated in some studies that looked at moving rather rapidly to 50 shuttle flights a year. While you would, you can use up the lifetime of a shuttle in not so many years.
If we were to fly the shuttle now until its full hundred flights per orbiter, it seems to me its way beyond its time. We can tell now that each orbiter, when it comes back, it takes about 2 months before it is ready to fly again. I am sure we have learned a tremendous amount about building these orbiters. And we need to put that into a system, but we need to do it in a phased way.
I think a lot of people questioned whether the shuttle, which is in a sense a space station in itself, as long as its up there; whether we needed that much cargo to go up in the shuttle.
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Since it was essential to construct the space station according to the plan, it was needed to be that large, and also to take Air Force payloads. And the swept wing is a residual of the needs of the Air Force for return to launch site once, after one orbit around.
I believe that we need a demonstrator system of significant upgrades to the system. The demonstrator to the fly back boosters from the shuttle, in my estimation and in others, were not viable commercial launch vehicles, they used an engine that didn't really exist in the case of Boeing's model and in the case of the Lockheeds. They were marketing the Atlas V, which was much heavier than the Atlas III so it is not a viable demonstrator. If we are going to build a demonstrator, it appears to me that we need a rather small one, smaller than this, and then we need a medium-sized system to provide crew only. I think we need a smooth transition and one way of getting a transition to a second generation is to have a major component that is shared by both systems.
If the present orbiter has a fly back booster to extend its life, increase its performance, then the transition to the next second generation already has a booster that is being used, but we are using two of them because of the weight and everything of the present shuttle, and the next generation shuttle would use one of them.
I haven't really seen that study, that kind of a phase-in study, and also the medium sized that leaves us with a crew only orbiter. I believe that both of those are needed. The crew only orbiter wouldmissions to the Moon.
What we did in Apollo was, we had a space craft in a small, I mean in a, in one version of the rocket, the S1 rocket, it went into Earth orbit and maneuvered in Earth orbit; but with the bigger rocket system, the Saturn 5 that same space craft went to the Moon.
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The orbiter, using one booster, will go into low Earth orbit. If we use two boosters and a tank, that orbiter can have enough fuel in it to, then to TNI and go to the Moon, or at least go to the orbiting facility at L1. That system is, to my understanding, is not being adequately explored. Those are the evolutions that I think can come by looking at replacing the shuttle.
I think most people agree that we'd like to see an air-breathing vehicle for efficiencies at some time, but the engines are just beyond us right now, and I think we need to plan on a shuttle replacement, and a two-stage shuttle replacement is to me the most efficient way to go.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Both of your stages that you are proposing are fly back, and reusable.
Dr. ALDRIN. Not only that, they are based on the same shape. One is a slightly smaller shape. The present space shuttle could be a booster, because it comes back from orbit, but it could certainly come back from mach 6. So it could be.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. And you would still have, the rocket engine within the, within what you are proposing, would be a reusable rocket engine would be modularized, to go from one craft to another, is that correct?
Dr. ALDRIN. Well, the booster uses a kerosene engine, because it is a greater density. And if we use a low-density high performance hydrogen in the booster, it comes back and lands having to dump fuel, and the advisability of returning a booster with internal hydrogen, I think, is up to a lot of question.
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The same thing is true for an abort with crew in the vehicle. If we have internal hydrogen, and you have to return to the launch site for an intact abort, you have to dump that hydrogen, and that certainly is a safety consideration.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much, and I think my time has expired. Maybe we will go back to a second round if we have time.
Next we have Mr. Gordon.
Mr. GORDON. Following up on the, sort of the vision of practicality theme, it appears to me that over the last couple of administrations, as well as in NASA, there has been an internal debate about going back to the Moon and then to Mars, or just going directly to Mars. And again, it appears to me that the view has been, or the prevailing view has been that we have already done the Moon, not much vision there, so let us go on and spend our money and go to Mars. That will be more cost effective.
I think Mr. Steele and Dr. Krauss seem to, might take a different view that from your testimony, and in light of our recent experience with Mars, and in light of limited dollars, and unlimited things to do, I would like to just, I guess maybe start with you, and then the rest of the panel's thoughts about going first to the Moon, as a research center, and is that, could that be cost-effective in trying to get to Mars.
So I guess, Dr. Krauss you, I think, raise that first.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. KRAUSS. Okay, well thank you. I, I am glad you brought it up. In fact, in my written testimony, I said I really can't imagine that we will ever explore Mars without having effectively established a remote station on the Moon first. I think that we will learn a lot about how to do that, about how to survive in extreme environments, about how to create construction techniques that will allow us to do that. And so I think we must return to the Moon, and I think it is a, in the near-term, it is a much more realistic and a much-more affordable vision that will give us many of the tools we need to explore Mars. And, after all, under anyone's calculation it will cost a tremendous amount of money to go to Mars. If you bring, right now if you bring the fuel with you to return several hundred billion dollars, several visionary proposals have be made to actually not bring the fuel with you, but actually create the fuel on the surface of the planet. That might bring you down to 50 or 100 billion dollars.
But it is an incredibly expensive effort, and there is lots we don't understand. And so I think the Moon is, we should return to the Moon, and I think it is tragic, frankly, that we haven't returned to the Moon since the Apollo times. I think it is, I am amazed, and I never would have believed when I was a 13 or 14 year old boy that we wouldn't return back to the Moon, and that I teach students at university who were born since the last time we set foot there.
Mr. GORDON. Mr. Steele, is that exciting enough, does that will inspire people?
Mr. STEELE. I think so. Actually, I think there is a false dichotomy that has been going on for the last 20 years or so, that it is either the Moon or Mars. If we do one, we don't do the other.
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I think it is very possible to do both. It is just different agencies doing this.
I think that the reasons for us going back to the Moon are different for the reasons that we would go to Mars. We would go to Mars to for the sake of scientific knowledge. We would go because, like Everest, it is there. We would go for the sake of adventure, really. We would go back to the Moon for a variety of very practical reasons: industrialization, astronomy, perhaps tourism. I think that it would be more practical to see private industry do this.
Mr. GORDON. Thank you, I am about out of time. Mr. Huntress, coming out of NASA, what are you views?
Mr. HUNTRESS. Well, I also believe that it shouldn't be a matter of trying to make a decision between going to the Moon, or going to Mars. I do think that Mars is perhaps a bit too large a leap at one time, especially since we have forgotten and discarded our hardware that got us to the Moon in the first place.
I think that there is a systematic and progressive way in which to approach human exploration in deep space, beyond Earth orbit, and that in fact there are two destinations that are cheaper energetically than the Moon even, and the first of these is the sun/Earth Lagrangian points, which are stationery points in space about one and a half million miles both in front and in back of the Earth. Where in fact it would be an ideal place to put observatories, in fact the next generation's space telescope will go there, and to build infrastructure there that could, in fact, image Earths around other stars. And energetically, that is the cheapest place to go to. Next, in order of energy expensive would be near Earth asteroids. They are easier to get to, in fact, than the lunar surface.
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On the Moon you have to go to, spend the extra energy to drop down in that gravity well, and then get back out. So it kind of ranks third in terms of energy expenditure. But there are good scientific exploration reasons to go back. I do not believe that other than a low frequency radio observatory on the far side that putting observatories on the Moon would make any sense at all. The thermal environment is awful, it is a dusty place, and deep space is a much better place to put them.
But you can study the craters, and understand what the asteroid affects on the Earth is because the Moon preserves those craters, the Earth does not.
We can study the history of the solar system from looking at the top layers of thethere are very good scientific reasons for going there. And then, once done got all those things, we will have build the infrastructure and know how best, without much more risk, to then make that lift and go to Mars.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much.
Next we have, actually two Texans, at least two Texans in a row here. First, Lamar Smith.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Dr. Krauss, thank you for bringing up one of my favorite subjects, and that is the deep field view by the Hubble Space Telescope. A couple of years ago, when they first released what that photograph showed, I opened up every town meeting in the 21st district of Texas by showing that photograph, by making the point that you did, that this was a dark speck of sky, in which nothing had ever been seen before, you had film exposed for I think 48 hours over a 2-week's period of time. And I always said that that speck of sky was so small, and I think this is accurate, that it was the size of Abraham Lincoln's eye on a penny, held at arms length. Is that about right? If that.
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The Democrats say the size of Franklin Roosevelt's eye on a dime, and I understand that, too.
Nevertheless, in that tiny speck of dark sky they found 1500 points of light. As you just said, every point of light was not just a star, but an entire galaxy, consisting, on an average, of say a hundred billion stars.
The obvious thing that that points to, among others, is the sense of infinity that we might have. It also points out to an affirmative answer to the question that both you and Dr. Huntress mentioned that I so love, and that is, are we alone?
There is also a metaphysical point, I think, that Hubble Space Telescope speck of sky photograph, and I always like to think that there is another message, and that is, when we feel discouraged, when things appear to be dark and depressed, if we look long enough light is always going to be there.
So, for however we see that Hubble Space Telescope photograph, I think it has great meaning on almost every level.
Just for fun, I wrote down five goals that I'd like to see us accomplish in the next 10 years, and I wanted to ask perhaps you and Dr. Huntress, to begin with, if you thought these were feasible projects that we might accomplish. Several of which you have mentioned yourselves. First is, and I am talking about the next 10 years, so that people can think about it: robotic mission to Mars; launching space telescopes, or a space telescope, to find Earth-like planets; building a large array of telescopes on Earth to detect extraterrestrial intelligence or signals; four, explore Mars and Europa for microbial life; and fifth, introduce tourism to space, or at least allow typical citizens to go into low orbit, hopefully to cost less than 20 million dollars that Mr. Tito is paying.
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Do those five goals, or missions, sound doable to you both? Just real quickly. Dr. Krauss, first.
Mr. KRAUSS. Well, real quickly, I think you have hit on things that are in principle doable. I am not sure they are all doable at the same time.
I think its clear that, and I agree with Wes that a key short-term priority has to be putting up the next generation's space telescope, and large images in space. And again, those are unmanned. But they will allow us to search for planets outside the solar system, potentially terrestrial planets. That is, certainly should be a major effort, and just seeing what the Hubble Space Telescope has shown us really points out the value of the next generation space telescope.
Clearly robotic missions to Mars not only are doable, but they are being planned. In fact, there is.
Mr. GORDON. Sometimes you worry about these Mars missions, but hopefully that is one that will..
Mr. KRAUSS. Well, I think we are learning. I think it is clear that we, well, I think we have to face the reality that things fail, too, and that is why its also useful to send unmanned missions to Mars for a long time, before we send people.
But certainly robotic missions, and I think a goal should be to return samples. That is very important. We can learn a tremendous amount about life on Earth.
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And as far as tourism, I think that may be doable. I am not sure 10 years is a realistic time frame. But I think that, the nice thing about that aspect, I don't worry so much about that because that is going to be done when people can turn a profit. And then the amount of money that you spend isn't going to matter. Because, just like movies, as I said, because if you can make money, it doesn't matter how much you spend.
Mr. GORDON. All right. Thank you. Dr. Huntress?
Mr. HUNTRESS. Well, I agree with Larry. In 10 years, certainly we already have a program, a fairly robust one, to some robotic missions to Mars, and the plan is, the current one is in fact in something like 2011 to actually return a sample from the planet.
I'd like to see that program also devise a means by which to establish a robotic permanent presence on the planet, and prepare for human arrival 30, 40 years later.
That outpost can certainly be placed in 10 years. The large telescopes in these Lagrangian points, for looking for planets from other stars, that is also in the Agency plans, and I think that can be done, certainly, in 10 years. The next generation space telescope will be placed there. And the size of that mirror is several times the size of the current Hubble mirror, and it will be able to look for some very interesting objects. But if you want to look for planets you have to use a technique called interferometry. That can be done within the next 10 years, and there is a plan in the Agency called terrestrial planet finder, which could in fact probably be done within 15 years, I would imagine.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Dr. Huntress. Mr. Chairman, may I squeeze in one more question to Dr. Aldrin, who happens to be a constituent of mine, real quickly?
Dr. Aldrin, I love your analogy that we have gone from Kitty Hawk to the Moon in 66 years. It makes you wonder what the next few years will hold. One of the ways for us to establish some of these near-term goals that we have been talking about, that might be built in the next 10 years, is to build something like your star-booster.
Real quickly, what is the man obstacle to getting the star-booster built and operable?
Mr. ALDRIN. The National Reconnaissance Office is the utility of it. The Air Force Base Command does. So far NASA has been looking for high technology. If you are not introducing high technology, or is you don't promise improvement in cost by a factor of 10, they are not interested. We didn't see that as the, really the entrance. So we have yet to get a good reception from NASA on star booster. It is very disappointing, because it leads in an evolutionary way, I think, to just what NASA needs.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you. And thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you. I would now like to introduce, as I said, the former chairman of this Subcommittee, ranking member of the Full Committee. And again, Ralph, we appreciate your coming here and joining us today.
Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I join Lamar Smith in my admiration for Buzz Aldrin. He knows it, and a matter of fact, I have been blessed with having his presence in my home, and in my home town. And I am sorry to report to you, Buzz, you still get a lot of write-ins for Congress.
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Mr. ALDRIN. Right.
Mr. HALL. You know, you remember the Augustine, Norm Augustine's committee, and the report that they turned loose in, around 1990, somewhere in the early part of the '90's. That was really, it made a good argument for the fact that we ought to be spending more money in space. And I know of some of your plans, and I know that space needs not just your experience and your wisdom, space needs your enthusiasm because I am going to ask you a question or two in a minute about your plans and about your hopes in the space tourism thrust that you have set forth. But first, on the Augustine Committee, they noted that our country was spending almost 1% of the GNP on the civil place program, at the height of the Apollo Moon Program in the '60's. It noted with some concern that in 1990, the year that this report was released, that many 2/10 of a percent of the GNP was devoted to the space program. It went on to recommend that an appropriate level of support would be about 4/10 of a percent.
And by way of comparison last year, the civil space program funding was about 1/10 of 1% of the GNP. That, I think that amount at what, if NASA were funded at 4/10 of a percent it would be about 40 billion at this point.
If NASA had a budget of 40 billion, how would you recommend the money be spent? In addition to what we are spending.
Mr. ALDIN. I think the government has stimulated a number of things in the past, a number of industries, and a number of human efforts. The Homestead Act certainly was government stimulated. The railroads were subsidized to take people out there. The air mail helped to put the discipline into the airplane business after the barnstormers, and developed the airlines. Comsat certainly was a government arranged combination of private sector, to give us communications.
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I think there is an industry, there is a tourism industry, a four trillion dollar industry, and I believe that the government should stimulate that industry. And we can do that by carrying people in the space shuttle.
To me there is no reason why 2 or 3 people a year couldn't be trained, and I have talked to the people who have trained astronauts, and if you are training an observer for a shuttle ride, 4 weeks could be adequate to do that. You are going to the space station and doing somemaybe that needs more time than that.
I visited India recently, and one of the things that I came back from there with was, the air attaches are all getting together and they have a great camaraderie from all different countries. And I have heard people coming back from shuttle rides saying, wouldn't it be wonderful if the leaders of the world could only go up there?
Well, it is the symbolism. Can you imagine a person from Pakistan and one from India going through 4 or 5 weeks of training together, and then going into space together? We know that they are going to get along, because our astronauts get along with the cosmonauts. We know that that works. But it is the symbolism of something that this country could be doing with the assets that we have, which would be a good indicator of peace in the world.
And I think that the studies that can indicate that we can bring the cost down with the next generation shuttle, and have a high flight rate, that is the only way you'll be able to make enough money. You certainly can't fly people, 10 people into space once a month. It is going to take 50 or 60 or 70 more than once a week, perhaps every other day, to be able to charge enough. And I think that we can introduce entertainment selection processes, game shows: Who wants to be a millionaire? Who what is to fly in space? Those kind of contests, I think, can generate a great public interest on about a 6-month interval or more frequently. When you start, when you are selecting people to augment the wealthy, to go in a larger vehicle, you can have lots of lotteries that can spread around, spread around the opportunity, so it is not justI believe that the government should recognize this, and to help stimulate the vehicles that are needed to get people into space, and to have a large number of people.
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To have a space station that can originally have 8 people in it, with 7, 6, and now 3 people takes so long to put up. We are not putting it up the right way. We are putting it up in too few pieces. Sky Lab gave us the example. And I think we need to explore those opportunities to get large volumes in space, but those hotels, if you want to call them, are the very thing that are needed at the Lagrangian point to help service the telescopes that are there. And I believe that servicing vehicles, human servicing vehicles are needed to go there. And the same kinds of strategies and orbits that go to sun, Earth, L2, are very close to the same strategies that you would use with cycling orbits to take people to Mars. And you have to take my word for it, I believe.
Mr. HALL. Other than safety licensing requirements, and maybe some other government safety requirements, I am not aware of any significant government barriers to a private company developing a commercial space tourism capability. However, the expense, money wouldyou know, they say money ain't everything, but it sure keeps you in touch with yours kids. I know a fellow that has, you know, do you want to be a millionaire? Well, I wouldn't touch it, yes we want to be a millionaire, okay you are a millionaire, that is no ticket to space, because we have got a guy out there in another country that is putting 19 more million with it, and wanting to go. And there is lots of opposition to him going. I oppose him going while we are training and while we are building and all. I think it is not an idea, but I like the idea, and he's the guy, at least he's putting his money where his mouth is. And its Resser's call, and I have done a little research on the man. And he's probably more capable than somebody just off the street, or that would win a lottery. Why not start with him.
Mr. ALDRIN. I agree. I am in favor of that.
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Mr. HALL. I think that is a great idea. I am just concerned about the lottery. And the person that wins the lottery, we either give him his $2 back, or we send him to Mars. But I think that is a great idea. What do you think, Chairman?
Chairman ROHRABACHER. I think that fellow would have bought about two million tickets at that lottery, and he might have had a good chance of winning that, if he wanted to put all that money in that lottery.
Mr. HALL. I have questions I'd like to ask the other three gentlemen, but I will submit them if we might. I really need to go myself, right now, and I know they have other things to do.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Oh, all right.
Mr. HALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back my time.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Well thank you, Mr. Hall, and again we appreciate your presence and your insights, and you are always welcome here.
Next we have Roscoe Barlett, and a PhD, and he is again a doctor, and adds a great deal to this committee, and we appreciate your being here, Roscoe. You may proceed.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much. I think the most important spin-off of that less than a decade it took us to put a man on the Moon is our present robust military. I say that because that program captured the imagination of the American people and inspired our young people to go into careers and science, math, and engineering.
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I remember a cartoon during that time of a young, freckle-faced, buck-toothed kid who was saying, ''six months ago I couldn't even spell engineer, and now I are one.'' Everybody wanted to be an engineer.
Today I think that we are at risk of losing our economic superiority in the world, and ultimately at risk of losing our military superiority in the world. Because if you go to our technical graduate schools today, about g to & of the kids there, the young people there, are from this country; h to j of them are from somewhere else, and a great many of them from China.
And my question is, what to we need to do now, and I think that NASA and space exploration is the only opportunity we have to do this. What can we do now that will capture the imagination of our people, and inspire our young people to go into these kinds of goodyou know right now the bright, young people in this country are aspiring to become social parasites? They are becoming lawyers and political scientists. Or maybe this is commensalism, I don't know. But, you know, it is not the same kind of thing as going into science, math, and engineering. What can we do, what can we do that captures the imagination of our people and inspires our young people, so that we can continue to be the world's economic superpower, and military superpower.
Mr. KRAUSS. Can I start?
Mr. BARLETT. Yes, sir.
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KRAUSS. Okay. I applaud. I agree completely with your, the issues that you have raised. I think it is, we too often don't have the vision to realize that when we invest in things which may not even be directly practical, what we are doing, and what we have done in this country by investing in science, is bring the brightest young people from around the world here, many of whom stay here, and they don'tthe kind of physics I do, I don't claim it is practical, but the kind of physics I do inspires people to come here and study. Many of whom go on and do useful things.
And I think what we have to do, and when I hear the President talk about education, for example, I get very frustrated to see, at the same time, when trying to balance a budget, that expenditures on basic science are being cut, and we are risking our future by doing that. Because what we should be doing is being bold enough to spend money to do the best science, to answer the most exciting questions, those questions I raised earlier in my testimony, the things that inspire the public. And it is not just space exploration, it is lots of things. It is studying the fundamental structure of matter. It is studying human intelligence. It is addressing the fundamental questions that we have to answer, and that we need to answer as a species. And when we do that, we will in the long-term maintain what we have now, which are the best graduate schools in the world.
And they are at risk. If we stop spending money on research our graduate schools are at risk and the good people are not going to stay here, they are going to go elsewhere and we will see the effect not 2 years down the line, but 20 years down the line.
Mr. STEELE. Why does this always happen to me?
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman ROHRABACHER. We are going back into session briefly, sothat is 15 minute warning.
Mr. STEELE. Oh, all right, that is what this is all about. I thought it was the fire alarm or something.
That is what usually happens to me when I do a reading, the fire alarm goes off.
Up until a few years ago, before we moved back to New England, my wife and I lived in St. Louis, and I would go once a semester into the public schools, the high schools, and the junior high schools, for career days, and talk about what it was to be a science fiction writer. And you could see the kids falling asleep in their chairs as I was telling them how much fun it is to write for a living.
But then I would start pulling out pictures of Mars, maps of Mars, pictures of space craft, and they'd wake up, they'd notice. There is something about space that really gets under people's skins, in a real good way.
Second, as Lawrence just said, I think that one of the most important things that we should be doing, at the very least, is continuing to spend money on scientific research in this country because it gets people excited. The end results of it come out. It gets under people's skins in a very healthy way.
It stimulates people to think, to do things of this nature. I think, actually, I have been seeing many more students going into the sciences. I keep up with quite a number of people who are in their teens to their twenties, and I see many people going into the sciences these days. Inspired not just by space exploration, but by oceanography, by animal research, by any number of different fields. If there is anything that space and science teaches us, it shows us how to look beyond the horizon. And this is probably one of the great antidotes to a lot of problems that face young people today. It's something to look forward to.
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Mr. BARTLETT. Graduate schools are still filled largely with non-citizens.
My question is, what could NASA do? Because I agree with you, I the most exciting thing to our people is reaching beyond ourselves, out into space. What could we do that would be the equivalent of that decade of putting a man on the Moon? Everyone was involved with that. I can remember it very, very well.
Mr. STEELE. Well if it was NASA, I would say a Mars mission. I mean, let us bite the bullet and commit to going to Mars, sending people to Mars in the next 20 years.
Mr. BARTLETT. As much as that would cost, it would be worth it, if it got our young men and women to go into
Mr. STEELE. Well how much are we talking about it costing? I mean one of the more interesting plans that has just come out on this has been Mars Direct. I believe the figure which Robert Zubrin's team has come up with has been, over a 20 year period, spending about, I think it is. . .what, 50 billion?
Mr. KRAUSS. He said 50 billion, neverthelessI am a little skeptical.
Mr. STEELE. You are willing toyou differ here, a little bit.
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That is one thing right there.
Mr. BARTLETT. Mr. Huntress?
Mr. HUNTRESS. I don't think the destination, necessarily, has to be Mars. I just think it has to be somewhere other than near-Earth orbit. I think if we were to devise a program that had the same feeling of challenge that the Apollo program did, and that provided a sense of destination for the space program, that that could keep our childrens' excitement there.
I think my favorite audience are our elementary school kids. They just eat the space program up. They love it. They are excited about it. They are little explorers, and they want to grow up to be explorers. And somehow we turn them off, because there is no destination for them to go to. There is no challenge. And if you supply that, by providing destinations for the space program, I think we would rekindle that spirit.
Mr. KRAUSS. I agree completely, I think we need a destination. But I also want to throw in that it is a combination. I think we need a human destination, but as Representative Smith pointed out, we also need, the Hubble Space Telescope pictures, they inspire even my wife, who doesn't like to talk about what I do, when she sees the Hubble Space Telescope picture. The possibilities of what is out there in the universe are also inspiring. So we need, I think, a human destination, and we need the kind of devices that can new remarkable science, like the Hubble Space Telescope, because I really do think that inspires people as well. And I think we have to have a two-pronged approach. I think it is very important to keep that balance.
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Mr. BARLETT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. And when we speak about education we have a person who has devoted his life to education in North Carolina, a Member of Congress, Mr. Etheride. You may proceed.
Mr. ETHERIDGE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me thank you for holding this hearing. You know, so many times it is important for us here in Congress, we focus on budget line items, and numbers, and all those important details of legislative function, and it is really refreshing and helpful that we can sort of step back and take a broad view of things, and I thank you for that.
As the Chairman said, I served as Chief School Officer for the state of North Carolina for 8 years, and one of the challenges that I think all of us in education has is, and I will follow the line in questioning just last as, how do we engage young people in this pursuit of science and technology. And I think we are working along these lines. NASA, I tip my hat to them, and this Committee has done some work on that, for which I thank them. We are coming up on the anniversary in a couple of years now, the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk. And NASA is now putting out some material along those lines to help us harness and stimulate the imagination of young people.
That being said, my question is this, using that as a basis for where we have just talked. If we think about where we are today, from cell phones to wireless communications, to improving weather forecasting, to all those tangible benefits that space research has brought us, the chip that lead to the computer, and et cetera, et cetera. Can we tie that together in reaching our young people and siding with, the Wright Brothers flight is coming in 2 years, looking down the road as we talk about things that can touch our daily lives? Can we incite that young person who really is a natural scientist that we turn off somewhere from elementary school to the time they leave middle school. And I would like each of you, I know we don't have much time, to just try to touch that. Because if you can help us with anything, you can help us with that, because I do believe the 21st century is not only going to belong to the educated, it is going to belong to the educated that really are scientists and mathematicians.
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Mr. ALDRIN. Education really made my career, from high school, enabling me to get into West Point and then 8 years later to go to MIT and receive a doctor's degree. That opened up so much and I think that example could be used considerably. Right now we are working with the professor and students at Cal Poly, and what they are doing is building this rocket in five foot versions, ten foot versions and they are firing it. I would remind you of Homer Hickum in October Sky, hands on operations, a sense of participation, a sense of direct involvement. The guy down the street, or somebody, going into space. That kind of involvement, knowing, identifying with somebody.
John Glenn's flight was a great success. Why? Because people knew who he was. They could identify with him. And it is that kind of interest that went back 32 years ago to that sense of participation that was part of the Apollo Program.
But now it is more active involvement, and I think our universities can do that by bringing people in and giving them the hands on experience of seeing people training for space flight. Bringing them in. We have the Challenger centers, we have young astronauts. Some are more effective than others. I think that can be a great inspiration, and it has to start young, in 5 towell 8 years old, that is about the time period when you get their interest going. By 12, if you don't have them interested, they are off doing something else.
Mr. KRAUSS. I again applaud your concern. I think it is one of the reasons I spend a fair fraction of my time as a scientist spending my time writing and talking is because I thinkwell, that is what inspired me as a young person when I read books by Isaac Asmond, George Gammer, Albert Einstein. Those things, I think that we have to do is, nothing makes me happier than seeing 9 year old kids when I lecture on the Physics of Star Trek, and I wrote that book to seduce them. And I think that is what we have to do.
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We, in our culture, somehow have divorced science from culture. And that is really sad. And somehow we give the sense that science is not interesting. And, or it doesn't make you a cultured individual. It is an essential part of our culture. We have to bring that back by trying to connect science and culture.
Space is clearly one way to capture people's imaginations. Time travel, or things they talk about in those books capture kids' imaginations, and then we can steer them. And I know of nothing more poetic, I just have to say it, I just finished a book on the biography of an atom, from the beginning of the universe to the end. I know of nothing more poetic than the fact that we are all star dust, that every atom in our body was once inside of one or many exploding stars. We are literally connected to the cosmos.
And so I think we have to, and NASA does a fair job of this, I have to say, get out that message that science is cool.
Mr. HUNTRESS. Well, I think Buzz said a couple of words that are very important to remember, and they are direct involvement and participation, and I use the word engagement. Engage those young people in the program itself. And boy does that turn them on. They will pick a path that will take them where we would like them to go in the future for this country.
I first witnessed this in Mars Pathfinder, when we landed that sojourner on the planet and those pictures went out first to the public on the internet and then they went to the scientists in the control room. And that was, that got a lot of public attention.
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And the second thing, such as what the planetary society is doing, where in fact they arranged a program whereby students could actually aim the camera on the Mars global surveyor space craft, pick their targets, and participate in the program.
Those are the kinds of things I think that will get the kids back.
Mr. ETHERIDGE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I see my time has long since expired.
I thank you, that is important.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Yes. As a courtesy, perhaps we will let Mr. Steele answer your question.
Mr. ETHERIDGE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I appreciate that.
Mr. STEELE. I think I actually have nothing further to add.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much. And Mr. Steele, if the buzzers start going off again, unless you see Sigourney Weaver running the hallway, it is okay, don't worry about that.
Now, Mr. Lampson from Texas.
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LAMPSON. This is all exciting stuff to me, and I, the hands on stuff that you are talking about is where I lived when I was in a classroom teaching science to 9th and 10th graders, and unquestionably it excited them. And I am super-impressed with one of the programs that is all about kids right now, the stars program, and you are probably familiar with it, where schools are participating, one directly and many indirectly, but involving hundreds of thousands of school children in research that is being done in space.
But let me step away from that a little bit, and get back to starting to think about something that a lot of people don't probably spend a great deal of their lives thinking about, and many wonder, maybe wonder perhaps why we might, why we want to be sending human beings into space. And I think that obviously we must and we are going to. But a couple of different scenarios, and then I would like for each one of you to comment on them.
Some people see the solar system as a frontier that will eventually be settled by humans with profound social and economic implications for humanity. Others see space as an environment similar to the oceans, with humans having outposts on various bodies in the solar system and making use of the solar systems' resources, but not a frontier in the same sense that the American West was.
Which paradigm do you think is more realistic? What is it going to take for us to achieve either or both? And whoever wants to go, all of you, I'd love to hear from all of you on it.
Mr. HUNTRESS. Well I think it is going to be progressive. My vision is that we start with the first one that you mentioned, which is that we are going to establish outposts on places that might be potentially habitable, or colonizable. And the first of them will be robotic, and then they will be populated and expanded by human beings, and then the questions as to whether or not that the humans will ever colonize the solar system will depend upon whether or not they can live off the land, so to speak.
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The reason the West got populated was because they could live off the land. Right now we don't know of ways that you can actually live off of the surface of Mars without getting continuously supplied from Earth. Once we reach that independence, and that is sometime in the future, then I think you will see colonization.
Mr. KRAUSS. I think that, those are interesting questions, but I don't think that you can separate them. I think inevitably the frontier becomes, becomes a place you colonize. And it goes from one step to another. And I have to say that I think its not a, well, it is a question of if. If we don't colonize, if we don't explore them, it means we won't have survived. I think it is inevitable. I don't think its inevitable in the next 20 years. But I think for humanity to imagine not exploring and colonizing the solar system means that we won't survive long enough to do it. I think it is just, you can't imagine us surviving and not doing. And if we do survive long enough to be able to do it, and don't do it, it is a sad reflection on our society, I think.
Mr. STEELE. I was discussing something like this the other night with a good friend of mine, who is another science fiction writer, and he reminded me of something. In the late 1700's or early 1800's, the English whaling fleets, or at least, one particular company, and the name of it escapes me, but there was an English whaling company that when it sent its captains out would allow them the liberty to explore, and they would pay them bonuses for making new discoveries and going to foreign lands. This whole mission was completely capitalistic. It was going out there and hauling as much whale back as possible, all right? But they also realized that these captains, and the crews, had to be given the latitude to go out and look for new areas, look for new lands, look for new opportunities. Sometimes it was simply just a matter of, well, we won't go this way, we will go that way, we will check out the shore line.
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And this was how a lot of new area, particularly in northern Canada, was discovered. The analogy I think is sort of suitable here, particularly in regards to this two-pronged program which I spoke of before. If we enable private industry to go into space for commercial purposes, whether it be lunar mining, solar power satellites, tourism, launching freight, and so forth, eventually we will have more and more people going out, and they will first settle, and then they will colonize.
I don't think there has ever been a time, if you can think of it, if anybody can think of one I'd like to know it, I don't think there has ever been a frontier that we have gone to that we have turned around and backed away from. We have always settled the places that we have gone to.
It is more imperative now, than before, because we have run out of places on Earth, except under the ocean, that we haven't gone to. Space is what remains.
Mr. LAMPSON. Mr. Aldrin?
Mr. ALDRIN. I think in the progressive near future it is a function of how far away it is, how difficult it is to get there, and what are the opportunities to go. Once we send enough people to the Moon to get the robots going, I don't see much need to keep them there. We can certainly communicate with the robots and keep them going. It is a very hostile place. You have got to have a good reason to want to stay there. It is not the same with Mars. You can only go there every 2 years. And unless you are going to leave it vacant for a period of time, you are going to have people staying there and not coming back the first opportunity, or its going to be vacant.
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It can support people there for a while and I think you are going to tempt people to want to stay more than just one 5 year tour of duty, which keeps Mars continually occupied. They are going to want to stay longer than that, maybe live there.
Now, sooner or later a responsible society, just like Lawrence has mentioned, owes it to the survival of the species to establish a growing, permanent residence somewhere else. And I think that is one of the noblest things that a civilization could possibly ever do.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Buzz, thank you very much.
Mr. ALDRIN. Thank you.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Mr. Lampson, thank you. Well, finally, one of our more active members of the Committee, who we appreciate very much, Miss Jackson Lee.
Mr. JACKSON LEE. I want the advanced witnesses to realize that when bells start ringing here we want you to continue to speak, and watch us as we run hither and there. Maybe that will be alleviated by going into space. But those bells are an indication of some actions on the floor of the house. I will try to be as quick as I possibly can.
I have some constituents here, and they wanted to stay and listen. They are fascinated, and that is indicative. They are from the American Federal Government of Employees, and they are fascinated by the opportunities that we are discussing here today. And I would like to focus. I don't think they are familiar with the Shoemaker Levy 9 that, if it had come this direction we might not be having that conversation. That is, of course, the meteor that hit Jupiter, and I think provided more energy than our whole nuclear arsenal. So space is fascinating, but it is frightening.
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And with that in mind, I guess I'd like to pose two questions, and I will let you answer them. I think that is the 10 minute bell, so we have a minute for you to answer it, too.
One, what are the benefits for Americans by space? I have always emphasized the research that comes about in research in diabetes and HIV Aids and heart disease. And Dr. Aldrin, you being an experience space traveler, probably encountered some of those research issues, or certainly are aware of them, what they bring to the American people.
Secondarily, I would never take issue with my Chairman or my ranking member, the ranking member. And I have some concern about the twenty million dollar guy getting a seat, if the twenty million dollar guy is not competent, or qualified, or we put the twenty million dollar guy above the average guy, the average Joe, who should have an opportunity. And I want to balance that, as how you commercialize and sell seats, but how do you relate to the American public, whose dollars support this program. And I happen to support the ranking member that our space budget has gone down. Unfortunately, it should be going up. The public collaboration generated the internet, it should generate some positive things in space.
So, with that, those two questions, I would appreciate response. Dr. Krauss, you look like you are ready to answer it pretty quickly.
Mr. KRAUSS. I am.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. Very quickly, because we only have about 3 minutes left.
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Mr. KRAUSS. Okay, well let me say that I think one should always be careful about saying what will it bring, in the sense that projects of exploration, both scientific and otherwise, the main thing they offer may not be a better toaster. In fact the answer I can think of is when Robert Wilson was asked how, this particle accelerator, did it help the defense of the nation, and he said, ''No, it will help make the nation worth defending.''
I think we, as a technological society owe it to our ourselves to continue to ask questions, and try to answer them. And space exploration is one of the ways. And we turn our back on any aspect of the world, we are doing a dis-service to our children and future generations.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Huntress, or, thank you.
Mr. HUNTRESS. Well, you know, I have a conviction that research, and that is what the space program is about, is research, research and exploration. I am convinced that research is an investment in the future, not an expense, and shouldn't be thought of as an expense. And it also is, and has been, an essential part of our culture.
It provides the heart of America's competitive advantage. What benefits do American's derive from the space program? I think there are three. One is culturally, the need to explore, look over that next horizon, and find what is there. That is what this country has been made out of. Academically, knowledge is power. We learn knowledge, and that gets turned into understanding. It makes us a country worth defending, as Larry just said. And third is economically, because science that is done is the basis for technology, which is in turn the basis for the economic health of this country.
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Ms. JACKSON LEE. Dr. Aldrin? Mr. Steele?
Mr. ALDRIN. I think there are several examples right now. We are using Russian engines because we didn't invest in them, in our evolutionary rocket engine in the past. The Chinese clearly have in mind putting astronauts into orbit, and programs of going to the Moon.
Now we can sit back and watch all of this happen, and we will not inspire our young people. I think people are going to go into space as a profession. I think they are going to want to go in as an adventure travel, and that is the one thing, that is the one payload that gives us this high-volume traffic, because it is the payload that is not getting smaller and smaller in micro-terms, and it pays for the opportunity to go. And I think that is a whole new industry and that will inspire I think so many other things to come out of a vibrant, robust space launch and space activity system.
Mr. STEELE. As much as I support space tourism, I think it would be interesting to see people get paid to go to outer space. I would like to see in 15 or 20 years to be possible, to actually go into space and be able to work there for a year or two.
My novel, OrbitalDecay, was about hard hats in space building solar power satellites. What I envisioned were guys who would go out, do a very hard job for 6 months, a year, maybe 2 years or so, kind of a tour of duty; do this very much in the way that people go work on, you know, off-shore oil derricks or pipelines
Page 135 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JACKSON LEE. But the regular people could be engaged. I thank you. I don't want to cut you off, but I understand the bells are ringing.
I like the idea. Thank you very much, Mr. Steele.
Chairman ROHRABACHER. I would like to thank all of our witnesses. We have about 5 minutes before we have to vote here. And let me say that you have been inspiring today. The Chairman would like to add just two thoughts, several thoughts.
Number one, the American people have to see some payback, they have to see some payback. That is why, one thing that I have been looking at is space solar power, and possibly transference of power.
Believe me, in California people are going to be very supportive of things that provide us energy, and I think as time goes on, clean energy from space could be a very inspiring accomplishment that we could achieve in space.
And let me just say that, Buzz, we appreciate your guidance. You are a true American hero. Yeah, you have got your PhD from MIT, and all that, but you are an American hero, Buzz, and we appreciate a person of your stature staying active and involved, and giving us the type of guidance that you do. And I want to say that personally, and as far as the Committee as well. And I am going to take, and I know the Committee has taken your plan very seriously here.
And again, to all of you, I am a former journalist myself, and I see space as the great story of our age. And this is, you are right, we are on the edge of the era of space, and this is going to bewe are writing history. We are making history now. And thank you for offering your vision of what that will be like. So would like to thank our witnesses.
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Please be advised that Subcommittee members may request additional information for the record, and I would like to ask other members who are going to submit written questions to do so within 1 week of the day of this hearing.
This concludes this hearing, and we are adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 6:20 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
NEXT OUTPOSTS IN SPACE:
Recommendations For America's Space Program
Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics
Vision 2001: Future Space Hearing
Page 137 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCAPRIL 3, 2001
BY THE PLANETARY SOCIETY
The Planetary Society, 65 North Catalina Avenue, Pasadena, California;
626/7935100 (phone); 626/7935528 (fax); firstname.lastname@example.org
The Planetary Society wishes to thank members of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee for the opportunity to submit testimony for the hearing: Vision 2001: Future Space.
It is no exaggeration to state that our nation's space program has undergone a fundamental revolution in the past nine years on how it does business. The period reflects the arrival of Daniel Goldin, who was appointed NASA Administrator by President Bush then reappointed to this position by President Clinton. Under his leadership the space program earned bipartisan support and the space agency is regarded as a premier organization of which all Americans can be proud.
NASA has been realigned and resized. The agency is again result oriented. Modern business practices have replaced bureaucratic procedures. Instead of just a couple major planetary exploration missions each decade, an armada of small, low-cost spacecraft are exploring our solar system, creating a new golden age of discovery. The Hubble Space Telescope and other space observatories are fundamentally changing our understanding of the universe. The International Space Station (ISS) is finally being assembled and will provide world-class laboratories that operate 365 days a year, vastly accelerating research.
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Despite the many positive changes in our nation's space program, there have been problemsthe 1999 Mars mission failures led some to conclude that reform was perhaps being pushed too hard. Nonetheless, there have also been great accomplishments in the new programs. The recent results from the Mars Global Surveyor and the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous are two wonderful examples. The job of the new administration will be to build on the foundation created over the past nine years, moving our space program forward, taking the next important steps in the exploration and development of space.
A key issue for the new administration is the alignment of the International Space Station (ISS) and our nation's future goals in space. The main reason we have invested billions of dollars in the ISS is to learn how to keep humans healthy in space over long durations. Scientists will conduct research onboard the orbiting laboratory to understand the debilitating effects of weightlessness and develop countermeasures. With this knowledge, humans will be able to venture beyond the Moon to Mars and other distant bodies. Thus, the station is an essential stepping-stone for human exploration of our solar system.
But will humans venture beyond the Moon? When? Under current policy, this decision is deferred until after the ISS is assembled in 2005. To wait four years to plan our next steps in space is both unnecessary and unadvisable. Delaying the decision potentially threatens the ISS if something should go wrong during assemblya likely possibility. If the station is perceived to be without purpose, difficulties experienced during assembly may imperil the program and thus our nation's human exploration goals.
To prevent such misfortuneand to demonstrate bold visionThe Planetary Society urges the Bush Administration, as a cornerstone of its space policy, to announce a pathwaynot yet an approved projectthat leads to human exploration of space beyond Earth orbit, and eventually to the surface of Mars.
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Currently, there is no planned transition from robotic missions (which are currently exploring the red planet) to future human expeditions. The Planetary Society proposes to form a bridge between these programs and make possible the incremental, affordable, and inevitable human exploration of Mars. Announcing such a policy would generate tremendous excitement, yet necessarily leaves open details such as cost, commitment, and the date for an eventual human mission to Mars.
To provide the draw towards the ultimate destination for humans in the 21st Century, The Planetary Society proposes a program called Mars Outposts. It involves the selection of candidate outposts on Marshigh-intensity research sitesthat in the future would serve as potential landing areas for human expeditions. At these sites, continuous communications and navigational systems would be established to support robotic missions, such as advanced rovers to search for evidence of life and return samples to Earth for study. In the years ahead, the same equipment would be used to facilitate in-situ production and storage of propellant and breathable oxygen and other key technologies for human missions.
The Mars Outposts program would create the necessary, and needed, transition from robotic exploration to human exploration. Importantly, it connects through policy and programs, the International Space Station, robotic missions to Mars, and the eventual launch of human expeditions.
The outposts can be viewed as ''robotic Antarcticas'' on Mars, areas of intensive scientific study of Mars from Earth. At these sites, robotic probes would comprehensively explore the surrounding terrain. Using virtual reality, humans worldwide would be able to participate in the exploration of our sister planet. Imagine looking through the ''eyes'' of a robotic probe as it first ventures through a canyon or over the lip of a hill, or digging below the surface and discovering evidence of water and possible life.
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Just like the scientific station in Antarctica and the ISS the Mars Outposts would be built through international cooperation. In actuality, the outposts would be an extension of the ISS. And importantly, financial resources would be shared and allocated incrementally.
As the first step, The Planetary Society urges the Bush Administration to announce the Mars Outposts program and invite the participation of our international partners. Over the next four years, plans would be crafted and preliminary candidate sites selected. Space planetary programs would be further integrated with human space flight programs at NASA to cross-fertilize engineering and operations. Working with our international partners, we would develop missions to begin building the Mars Outposts that would eventually make possible human expeditions.
Exploration is the raison d'etre of our nation's space program. Public interest and support is repeatedly demonstrated by the new ventures to Mars, by the search for extraterrestrial life, understanding our origins and the sensing of the cosmos.
We are blessed to live at a time when we are able to not only dream about distant worlds, but to actually explore them. Mars is specialthe only place so far discovered with hints of extraterrestrial life, the only world we can imagine humans settling on in the foreseeable future.
Mars Outposts will be the bridge to that possible fixturea bridge affordable in today's space program but carrying us to tomorrow's. We look to the new Administration for leadership, on that bridge to the future and invite you to join us in ''inspiring the people of Earth to explore other worlds and seek other life through research, education, and public participation.''(see footnote 7)
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NASA Reinvented & Reinvigorated
NASA's past nine years have been traumatic. . .and exhilarating.
Nine years ago, Daniel Goldin, a former top executive for TRW, was appointed Administrator of NASA. He was brought to Washington by President Bush to fix the ailing space agency, which had grown bureaucratic and wasteful. Cost overruns and schedule delays were epidemic. The Space Shuttle could not get off the ground and the space station, which had been redesigned numerous times, was facing cancellation by an increasingly hostile Congress.
Under Goldin's leadership, the moribund agency was reorganized and resized. Modern business management practices were introduced; decision-making was decentralized and programs streamlined. A new mission statement was crafted, top managers were replaced. Step by step, our nation's space program was modernized and revitalized.
One of the first orders of business for the Clinton Administration was the redesign of the space station, this time to include the participation of Russia, which had extensive experience in managing space stations. As an adjunct to the new partnership, the U.S. and Russia also agreed to exchange crewmembers on Mir and Space Shuttle missions.
During Clinton's first term in office, NASA readily accepted lower budgets. Cuts in the workforce and productivity gains more than compensated for lower spending levels. During the Bush Administration, funding for NASA had grown from $12.2 billion in 1988 to $16.9 billion in 1991a 55 percent increase (constant 2001 dollars). The rapid infusion of money provided a cushion for the series of financial cutbacks that followed.
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Leading the way in the revitalization of NASA was the space science program, often called the ''jewel of NASA,'' and the introduction of the ''faster, cheaper, better'' approach to planetary exploration. In Appendix 1, the resulting revitalization of space exploration in the 1990s is described. But with that revitalization came too much willingness to try new and ever more ambitious missions on continually reduced budgets. For eight straight years, during this revitalization, NASA's budget was cut. Something had to give.
NASA Stretched Too Thin
The Planetary Society warned in 1997 that planetary exploration missions were facing severe restraints and would be harmed if NASA's budget were not stabilized.
Throughout most of the 1990s, Administrator Goldin supported cuts in funding for the space agency. He announced he would request additional resources only when NASA could no longer absorb further rollbacks in funding. In 1998, he declared just that. He urged the Administration to boost spending. But unfortunately his pleadings fell on deaf ears. The cuts continued and financial pressures mounted. Every year from 1992 to 2000 NASA's budget was reduced.(see footnote 8) In 2000, spending was 18 percent less than when President Clinton entered office.
Gradually problems in missions began to surface. When something went wrong or a project manager came up against an unexpected technical problem, resources to fix the difficulties were unavailable. Corners were cut and NASA resorted to fratricide to keep programs afloat. As examples:
Page 143 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In early 1998, the Office of Space Flight was compelled to withdraw from the Mars 2001 Lander mission in which it had agreed to contribute $60 million for a suite of experiments. Responsibility for the research was handed to the Office of Space Science, but only $15 million in additional funding was made available to accomplish the tasks. Congress added $20 million more to the program's budget. But still it was less than what was needed for the experiments.
The Champollion mission, scheduled for launch in 2003, was canceled in 1999 to pay emergency expenses for the Chandra Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF) and the Hubble Space Telescope, which had to be temporarily shut down because of gyroscope failures. Champollion, led by Brian Muirhead, an acclaimed manager of the Mars Pathfinder mission, would have been the first spacecraft to land on a comet and collect critical data about these primordial bodies in our solar system. The mission also would have paved the way for advanced technology needed for a Mars Sample Return mission.
The Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander missions failed in December 1999 as they arrived at the Red Planet, in part, due to severe budget limitations and a lack of resiliency.
NASA cancelled the Mars 2001 Lander.
NASA ''stopped work'' on the Pluto/Kuiper Express mission in September 2000. The spacecraft was being developed to survey Pluto and its moon, Charon, then head into the Kuiper Belt, the vast region in the outer solar system filled with billions of icy bodies that range in size from boulders to hundreds of miles across. Pluto, a tiny icy world, is the only planet in our solar system not yet visited by a probe. The mission would provide important insight on how our solar system evolved. If Pluto/Kuiper Express is not launched in 2004 to take advantage of a gravity assist from Jupiter, a decade must pass before the next opportunity arises. By then, however, Pluto's atmosphere will be frozen. Pluto orbits the Sun every 240 years and is now moving further away, greatly hindering the collection of critical data.
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NASA cancelled its innovative nanorover scheduled to fly to an asteroid on a Japanese mission in 2002 because of financial difficulties.
In years past, NASA could have absorbed unexpected expenses and would not have had to resort to the cancellation of other missions to find needed resources. But those days are gone. Now, when NASA needs an emergency infusion of funds, catastrophe looms. There is nowhere to turn but to terminate other projects that are being well managed. This wastes millions of dollars and undercuts the integrity of our space science program.
In the years ahead, this problem is expected to worsen, threatening critical planetary missions. To reduce the likelihood of future spacecraft failures, NASA is strengthening program management. But to accomplish this goal requires additional resources, which means current budgets must be adjusted. What was enough funding for a project in the past is no longer adequate.
A bit more money is needed to make sure things go right and mistakes are avoided. If additional resources are not forthcoming, some of the following outstanding missions may also face cancellation:
Europa OrbiterThe spacecraft will fly to Jupiter's moon Europa to measure the thickness of its icy surface and determine if there is an ocean below. If true, the moon may harbor past or present evidence of extraterrestrial life. The launch of the spacecraft was originally scheduled for 2004, but has been delayed at least until 2007 or 2008.
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Space Technology 3designed to validate new advanced technology to expand the capabilities of space interferometers.
Solar ProbeThe Solar Probe will be the first spacecraft ever to pass through the Sun's corona or atmosphere. By traveling near the Sun, scientists will be able to explore the fundamental processes that fuel the solar windhigh-energy particles and photons spewed into space. The mission, set to launch in 2007, has been targeted for cancellation by the Bush Administration.
MARSFuture plans to explore Mars over the next two decades are a disappointment. The low-risk plan could presage a return to old NASA thinking. Instead of aggressively pushing ahead, projects are stretched out and more costly. A sample return mission, which had been considered for 2005 or 2007, is delayed to 2014. Gone is the commitment to maintain a permanent presence on the surface of Mars. Also scratched is the earlier proposal to establish an orbital communications network to facilitate missions and boost the return of scientific data. The program should articulate a grand vision of the search for past or present life on Mars and to prepare for eventual human exploration.
Each mission cited above is exceptional. The data from the spacecraft and observatories will add substantially to our understanding of the universe. But given the current budget projections and NASA's need for better project management, something has to give. Either a modest rise in funding must be made available or one or more of these glorious missions will be terminated.
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The Next Four Years
In addition to addressing the shortfall in resources for space science, a primary concern for the new administration is the International Space Station. Dozens of flights must be precisely executed to complete the mission. Inevitably there will be problems, some potentially severe. It is critical for the new administration to guide the project to its completion, making sure that its main goallearning how to keep humans healthy in space for long durations to enable human expeditions beyond the Moonremains tied to the future goals of our nation's space program.
The ISS program will become increasing complex as components are added to the station's structure, and a full-time crew begins to pursue ''scientific, exploration, engineering and commercial activities.'' Sixteen countries are involved in the construction of the orbiting laboratorythe largest, international effort ever undertaken.
Only by conducting research in space can scientists fully understand how space affects human health and how to develop and validate countermeasures. As explained in the 1990 Augustine Report, ''A space station is needed specifically to establish effective strategies to prevent or mitigate the debilitating deconditioning effects on humans of long stays in low gravity fields, and to establish absolutely reliable and efficient life support systems for extended human stays in unforgiving, hostile environment.''
With the knowledge gained from research aboard the ISS, humans will be able to venture beyond the Moon to Mars and other distant bodies. Thus, the station is a steppingstone to the exploration of our solar system by human expeditions.
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But when will human missions begin? The main purpose of the ISSexplorationhas not been sufficiently integrated into potential human missions. To date, NASA has focused attention on building the space station and wants to wait until the ISS is completed to determine the next step in our nation's space program. Waiting years wastes valuable time. It is unnecessary and inadvisable to delay until after the station is assembled to announce the next important goal in human exploration.
Robotic probes and human exploration tend to be viewed as separate goals. Conventional wisdom assumes robotic missions will be conducted for a period of time, then human expeditions will somehow take over. This view is flawed. Robotic probes and other robotic technologies are but tools and their contribution will not suddenly stop when humans step on the surface of Mars.
At issue is understanding the tasks that can best be accomplished by robotic technologies and those tasks best performed by humans. There are a myriad of questions to be answered as we explore Mars with an eye toward human missions in the future. What operations on Mars can be handled autonomously? What tasks are best accomplished by humans using robotic tools?
The better we can understand the opportunities and limitations of robotic technologies, the better we will be able to mount a successful human expedition to Mars. To prepare for the future, the process of connecting robotic and human exploration of Mars can and should begin today.
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The Planetary Society urges the Bush Administration, as a cornerstone of its space policy, to announce a program, called Mars Outposts, to establish research sites on Mars. In the near term, the outposts would focus and enhance robotic exploration. Eventually, they would serve as potential landing areas for human expeditions. (This proposal assumes it is premature to commit to a date, cost, or other program specifics for a human Mars mission.)
At the Mars Outposts, continuous communications and navigational systems would be established to support robotic missions, such as rovers, balloons, and sample returns. Scientific instruments positioned at the sites will monitor radiation, dust and winds, creating an historical record so scientists can predict local weather patterns. In the years ahead, the same robotic systems would be used to facilitate the in-situ production and storage of propellant and breathable oxygen, paving the way for human missions. A comprehensive understanding of the surrounding terrain will be available to scientists to determine the specific tasks that should be undertaken by a human expedition.
Establishing the Mars Outposts creates a bridge between robotic and human exploration. Importantly, it connects through policy and programs the International Space Station, the robotic exploration Mars, and eventual human expeditions.
The outposts allow scientists and engineers to develop the ''complex human/machine symbiosis of the future.'' Using virtual reality, the public would be able to directly experience the thrill of exploring a new world. Imagine looking through the ''eyes'' of a robotic probe as it ventures for the first time through a canyon or over the lip of a hill, or digging below the surface and discovering evidence of water and possible life.
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Developing the robotic tools to explore Mars will stretch our imaginations and lead advanced technologies to assist the private sector.
Just as the space station is an international endeavor, so too will be the human exploration of Mars. The robotic outposts create the pathway. They provide the structure for the shared, robotic exploration of Mars, leading to human presence. Just as the nations of the world collaborate in scientific research on Antarctica, so can we join together to build the Mars Outposts.
To mount a human mission to Mars at this time is a very expensive proposition. Creating the Mars Outposts can be accomplished incrementally, with limited resources. The initial step involves an announcement of the Mars Outposts program and inviting the participation of our international partners. Over the next four to eight years, we would select the potential landing sites and determine how they can best facilitate scientific exploration. Missions would be mounted to place large, robust rovers and landers at the sites and establish continuous communications.
Over time, the sites will become familiar places, inspiring the world and a generation of students, as well as focus research for scientists. The next several years should not be wasted thinking about our future; we should be making our future. We cannot afford to delay until after the ISS is completed to plot our next step in space.
With the Mars Outposts program, the new administration can demonstrate its vision and make history by setting the path that will enhance science and lead to the eventual exploration of Mars.
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As a nation, it is important that we balance our past, current, and future obligations. We honor past obligations, for instance, by providing assistance to veterans. We meet current obligations by offering a helping hand to those in need such as supporting low-income housing and school lunch programs. And we invest in the future to ensure opportunities for our children.
Investing in NASA expands our knowledge of where we came from and who we are. It pushes the bounds of technology, which is transferred to private industry to create jobs. It stirs the imagination of our youth and encourages them to seek an education in science and mathematics.
We cannot afford to choose the easiest path and shortchange America's long-term outlook. To keep NASA healthy and continue the golden age of discovery, The Planetary Society offers the following recommendations:
Establish the Mars Outposts program to create a synergy between the robotic exploration of Mars to eventual human expeditions. The program is the next logical step in space. Importantly, it connects the raison d'etre of the International Space Station with our nation's human exploration goals.
Enhance cooperation between NASA's Office of Space Flight and the Office of Space Science. Bridging the two divisions is critical for many reasons. It cross-fertilizes engineering and operations to learn how best to design missions that are faster, cheaper, and better. It establishes a foundation for future cooperation on robotic missions to Mars. Future human exploration will be closely tied to scientific goals and by working together now, mission planning can be enhanced. Finally, engineers will be able to better understand the capabilities of both human and robotic explorationthe raison d'etre of NASA and our nation's space program.
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One of the most important decisions of the new administration is the appointment of the NASA Administrator. To sustain the reforms and build upon the successes of the ''new NASA,'' it is essential that the administrator has substantial managerial experience, can effectively communicate, and has a passion for space exploration.
Establish an emergency fund at NASA for unexpected expenses, such as the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope. Because programs are very tightly budgeted, there is nowhere to turn but to cannibalize other missions if additional resources are needed. Shutting down well-managed programs for this purpose is wasteful and undercuts our nation's Space Science program.
The Planetary Society strongly supports NASA's out year funding proposals, which increase support to space science.
Enhance Mars exploration by creating a Mars Discovery Program. In addition to expanding the scientific exploration of Mars, the program would seek to expand the field of expertise necessary to mount planetary missions by utilizing our nation's premier universities. One of the root causes for the recent Mars spacecraft failures is the shortage of available expertise. The number of planetary exploration missions is expected to increase in the years ahead as costs decline. The NEAR mission was successfully managed by The John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. The Mars Discovery Program would expand exploration opportunities to include other universities, while enhancing the scientific exploration of Mars.
Reaffirm our nation's goal to have a permanent presence on Mars. In 1996, President Clinton announced the United States, as part of a National Space Policy, would ''undertake a sustained program to support a robotic presence on the surface of Mars by year 2000 for the purposes of scientific research, exploration and technology development.'' After the Mars missions failures, NASA backed away from this goal. The U.S. should not be dependent upon a single mission to sustain a robotic presence on Mars and should expand space launches to ensure our presence on the surface of Mars.
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Space Science Renaissance
At the beginning of the 1990s, the agency was launching only a couple, large-scale planetary missions each decade. The average time to complete a mission was eight years and the average cost $590 million. The infrequency of missions, in part, was a result of the low priority the space agency placed on robotic planetary exploration in the 1980s and limited resources, which were repeatedly diverted to other priorities, leading to cost increases and delays.
Because opportunities to explore our solar system were infrequent, scientists were eager to equip each spacecraft with a large suite of instruments, realizing the next opportunity to gather data might be decades away. The many scientific instruments added complexity, weight, and cost to the design of the spacecraft. Because the probes were so expensive and complex, engineers included multiple redundancy systems to minimize the risk of failure. To coordinate the elaborate designs and construction required extensive reviews, extending timetables and adding further expense. To transport the large payload to space required a bigger, more costly launch vehicle.
The missions were so large and pricey, our nation's reputation was put at stake. Engineers, not surprisingly, were hesitant to employ newer, riskier technologies to improve performance and reduce costs. Because engineers resisted using riskier, advanced technologies, fewer innovations were generated, thus reducing the flow of advanced technology to private industry that helps to keep our nation competitive. If a major mission failed, many years were necessary to recover the science.
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The sparsity of missions led to a sparsity in data for analysis by academia. (Most discoveries are made through analysis of the data.) The lack of new data limited opportunities for graduate students, which in turn limited the growth of knowledge and development of planetary science.
What to do? NASA took a page from private industry and applied some of their philosophy to the space science program, introducing the concept of ''faster, better, cheaper'' missions.
By reducing a mission's scope, costs are reduced. Instead of launching just a few major missions each decade, several smaller spacecraft can be launched annually. The smaller payloads can be lofted to space using smaller, less costly launch vehicles. Because expenses are reduced and there are numerous missions, our nation's reputation is not placed at risk. Engineers are less constrained in using advanced technologies to lower costs and increase scientific data.
Designing multiple, lower-cost probes accelerates the development of new technologies that are transferred to private industry. Lessons learned on one mission can be quickly applied to others. If a project failswhich is inevitable given the unforgiving, harsh environment of spacethe science can be quickly recovered.
Multiple missions each year create a bounty of higher education opportunities, which attracts science and engineering students. More data is available for analysis, leading to more graduate degrees and greater knowledge of the cosmos. More missions create more opportunities for our educational institutions, which help keep them the best in the world. Many missions also inspire younger students to learn math and science, ensuring our nation's future technological leadership.
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The first program that put into motion the faster, cheaper, better model for managing planetary missions was the Discovery Program. Its stated goal is to ensure ''a continuous stream of new planetary science data and more frequent access to space.'' Funds are annually earmarked for the program; projects are selected based on competition and peer review. Each mission is limited to $150 million (1992 dollars) and must be completed in three years.
The first project approved in the Discovery Program was the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission. The probe was launched in late 1997 to study the asteroid Eros, a 20 by 5 mile rocky body. The probe successfully reached its destination and scientific instruments are currently gathering data on the asteroid's composition, structure, mass, and magnetic field. Eros is just one of many such bodies that swarm around our planet and have profoundly influenced the formation and evolution of our solar system. Improving our knowledge of these bodies will provide important clues to scientists on how our solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago.
The second Discovery Program project was the very successful Mars Pathfinder mission, which landed on the Red Planet on July 4, 1997. After a long hiatus, it reignited the public's passion to explore our sister planet.
Mars Surveyor Program
With great expectations, NASA launched the Mars Observer spacecraft in 1992. Nearly two decades had passed since the twin Viking craft successfully landed on the surface of Mars to search for signs of life. As the Mars Observer prepared to enter orbit around the Red Planet, it suffered a catastrophic failure and the $1 billion probe fell silent.
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Rather than recover the science by building another large, expensive spacecraft, the Mars Surveyor Program was created. NASA pledged over the course of the following decade to send two ''faster, cheaper, better'' probes to Mars every 26 months (when the planets come into alignment).
The first mission in the new program, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), was launched in November 1996. The orbiter reached the planet and successfully mapped its surface, mineral distribution, and the water content in the soil. Recent images from MGS suggest there may be current sources of water at or near the surface of the planet.
A month after the MGS launch, NASA lofted the Pathfinder spacecraft to Mars. The probe, protected by a cocoon of airbags, bounced onto the Martian surface on July 4, 1997. Like pedals on a flower, the craft opened up and the first-ever rover to visit another planet, Sojourner, rambled onto the dusty, rust-colored terrain. The excitement of being in the driver's seat and exploring our neighboring world captured the world's attention. A record-setting number of people followed the progress of the intrepid rover as it scooted from rock to rock, collecting data. Daily news stories filled the front pages of papers and television newscasts. The mission once again demonstrated the public's voracious interest and support for planetary exploration.
The Mars Surveyor Program experienced a dramatic shift after NASA announced that a Martian asteroid recovered in Antarctica contained possible evidence of fossil life. The disclosure dramatically raised the importance of Mars as a target for study and focused attention on the search for life. NASA altered the scope of future missions and began planning a sample return mission to launch in 2005 or 2007.
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In 1998, NASA lofted two more spacecraft to Mars. The Mars Climate Orbiter was designed to collect additional data about the planet's surface and climate, and the Mars Polar Lander was equipped with a robotic arm to dig below the surface in search for frozen water.
The budget for the two spacecraft equaled that of the single Mars Global Surveyor. NASA's goal was to build two probes half the weight of MGS and at half the cost. NASA also included two small, prototype penetrators on the Polar Lander mothership that would break away during decent and spear into the Martian ground to collect subsurface data. The penetrators were part of NASA's New Millennium Program, designed to develop and validate advanced technologies for future space missions.
From the beginning, the two Mars missions were hard pressed for time and money. But confidence ran high that the limitations could be overcome. As we now know, the two craft faced too many challenges and mistakes were made. The Climate Orbiter burned up as it entered orbit around Mars, a result of a navigational error. Computations were made using U.S. units instead of metric units. The Polar Lander probably crashed into the Martian surface when its engines prematurely shut off due to a software flaw. The fate of two penetrators is unknown.
As a result of the mission failures, NASA canceled a lander scheduled for launch to Mars in 2001. Now only one missionthe Mars Odyssey orbiterwill fly to Mars next year. In 2003, NASA is scheduled to send twin large rovers to search for water.
Page 157 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSecond Golden Age of Discovery
In the early years of America's space program, Mariner, Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft swept past the planets, giving the world its first close-up views of our solar system. From 19621977, nearly 20 planetary missions were launched. The data returned to Earth fundamentally changed our understanding of the solar system. The reconnaissance missions tantalized our imagination and opened our eyes to the wondrous diversity in our solar neighborhood.
As a result of the restructuring of the space science program, NASA is in the midst of a second golden age of discovery. Multiple missions are now being launched every year.
Some of these missions belong to the Origins Program, a program created by NASA in 1997 in response to the possibility of fossil life on Mars and recent discoveries of planets orbiting other star systems. The goal of the program is to answer the fundamental question: Is life in the universe unique or ubiquitous? This is one of the most profound questions of our time. Carl Sagan, the founder of The Planetary Society, eloquently addressed the issue:
''There was a time before life, when Earth was barren and utterly desolate. Our world is now overflowing with life. How did it come about? How, in the absence of life, were carbon-based organic molecules made? How did the first living things arise? How did life evolve to produce beings as elaborate and complex as we, able to explore the mystery of our own origins?''
To help answer this question, NASA is designing space-based observatories to allow scientists to potentially detect blue planets in other solar systems. NASA, as mentioned above, is sending probes to search for life on Mars. NASA is also preparing a mission to the Jovian moon Europa, which is a major candidate in the search for extraterrestrial life. Underneath the moon's icy surface may be a massive salty ocean, kept liquid by the heat generated from Jupiter's enormous gravitation fields. The Europa Orbiter will map the mysterious world, determine the thickness of the surface ice, and confirm if an ocean exits below.
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Europa became a high priority target for exploration as a result of the data collected by Galileo, a spacecraft authorized in 1977, but not launched to Jupiter until 1989. After a six-year journey, the craft entered orbit around the giant gaseous planet. A probe on the mothership was dispatched into the Jovian atmosphere to learn about the mysterious world beneath its swirling clouds. Although Galileo was built to last only 23 months, it is now on its 5th year and continues to operatenot unlike the hugely successful Voyager spacecraftgenerating data beyond our wildest expectation.
Additional missions in the second golden age of discovery include:
Lunar ProspectorThe Lunar Prospector is the third Discovery Program mission. The simple, low-cost spacecraft completed six mapping missions to help scientists answer questions about the Moon's composition, origin and evolution. The $59 million probe, launched in 1997, performed as advertised, demonstrating the value of the faster, cheaper, better approach to spacecraft development.
Hubble Space TelescopeMonth after month, the Hubble Space Telescope continues to make breathtaking discoveries. For example: in a region of the sky thought to be void of matter, the telescope recorded thousands of early galaxies. Scientists, after eight years of measurements using the HST, have been able to calculate the value for how fast the universe is expanding. As a result of this data, scientists now believe the universe is about 12 billion years old.
CassiniThe launch of the Cassini probe in late 1997 marks the end of the era of very large, expensive spacecraft. The probe will journey through space for seven years, then arrive at Saturn in 2004 to explore its numerous rings, moons and atmosphere. The Cassini spacecraft will deploy a probe built by the European Space Agency to explore Titan, the planet's largest moon, which has a thick, organically rich atmosphere that may represent a model for the chemical evolution of life.
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Deep Space IThe barrel-shaped craft was built to test a dozen new technologies, including ion propulsion, self-navigation, a miniature camera and spectrometer, low power electronics, advanced solar arrays, and scientific instruments to study charged particles in space. Launched in October 1998, the craft achieved all its objectives and is now headed toward a rendezvous with a comet Borrelly in September 2001.
StardustStardust, the fourth Discovery Program mission, launched in early 1999, will collect samples of dust from the comet Wild-2 and return them to Earth in 2006.
ChandraThe X-ray observatory, launched in July 1999, is providing startling new data on black holes, which is forcing a reexamination of how galaxies may have evolved. The space observatory is exploring the outer boundaries of the expanding universe, promising dramatic new revelations.
NASA's long-term goal is to establish a ''virtual presence throughout the solar system, and probe deeper into the mysteries of the Universe and life on Earth and beyond.'' In addition to expanding our knowledge, the robotic missions are opening the way for human exploration, especially to Mars.
As an example of the outpouring of public support for space exploration, in 1997 more than a half million people from around the world forwarded postcards with their signatures to JPL, which had offered to include their digitized names on a CD that would be attached to the Cassini spacecraft. The tremendous response was unanticipated. Organized by The Planetary Society, hundreds of young studentsincluding members of the Challengers Boys and Girls Club in South Central Los Angelesvolunteered to assist JPL in scanning, digitizing and transferring the names to a CD. (See Appendix for other similar public expressions of support for planetary explorations.)
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We are a curious nation; we want to learn about our solar system and in doing so we will learn much about ourselves. NASA's raison d'etre is the exploration of the unknown. The resources invested in exploration are but a small fraction of our national wealth. But like a family's expenditures for schoolbooks and education, the rewards for society and future generations are immeasurable.
THE PLANETARY SOCIETY
The Planetary Society has spearheaded numerous innovative opportunities for the general public to participate in the exploration of the solar system and the search for extraterrestrial life.
Conducting such exploration has traditionally been the province of scientists and engineers. Yet the rationale for spending public resources for exploration involves a greater societal interest that does not rest solely on science.
Among the more notable opportunities for the public's participation in our nation's space program are:
The Mars MicrophoneThe first privately funded instrument to be sent to another world (was onboard the Mars Polar Lander);
Page 161 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Red Rover Goes to MarsThe first commercial/education partnership on a planetary mission;
Visions of MarsA CD containing works of science fiction about Mars, designed to be placed on the Red Planet as the first library to serve future human explorers;
MAPEXA Microelectronics And Photonics Experiment to measure the level of radiation on Mars in preparation for human explorers, and contains an electron-beam lithograph of the names of all members of The Planetary Society;
Participated in the naming of the spacecraft Magellan and Sojourner;
Student-designed nanoexperiments to fly on a Mars lander;
SETI@homeA software tool that allows millions of people to contribute to research and data processing in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
Such projects/events as above presage the day when planetary exploration will be truly a global, mass public enterprise, with people in their homes and schools in direct communicationand even controlof robotic devices on other worlds.
The Planetary Society advocates the exploration of Mars, with robotic missions leading to eventual human exploration. The Society has sponsored numerous projects connected with Mars exploration, including field tests of a Russian built rover, designing the guide rope system for a Mars Balloon, and the development of the Mars Microphone, which was an instrument on the Mars Polar Lander.
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The Society has also sponsored the Mars Declaration calling for an international space goal of human Mars exploration.
Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)
The Planetary Society is the sponsor of one of the most innovative SETI projects on earth, SETI@home which utilizes the combined computing power of over 2 million personal computers to sift through data gathered in a radiotelescope SETI search. The Society has sponsored numerous SETI programs for nearly two decades, including radio telescope searches Project BETA in Massachusetts and META in Argentina; and optical SETI searches in both Massachusetts and northern California.
The Planetary Society
Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman founded the Society in 1980 to advance the exploration of the solar system and to continue the search for extraterrestrial life. With 100,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society is the largest and most influential space interest group in the world.
The Society supports research and test programs, student projects, hands-on involvement for the public in space exploration, and special events.
The Planetary Society, 65 North Catalina Avenue, Pasadena, California;
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(Footnote 1 return)
The Report of the National Commission on SpacePioneering the Space Frontier
(Footnote 2 return)
A Space Frontier Agenda, testimony before The House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, October 1, 1998. Rick N. Tumlinson, President, The Space Frontier Foundation
(Footnote 3 return)
Space Frontier Foundation Oct. 5, 2000 press release
(Footnote 4 return)
America at the ThresholdReport of the Synthesis Group on America's Space Exploration Initiative, 1991
(Footnote 5 return)
NSS Testimony by Pat Dasch, Submitted to Written Record for House Science Committee October 1, 1998 hearing on ''NASA at 40: What kind of space agency does America need for the 21st Century?''
(Footnote 6 return)
3rd annual Global Satellite Industry Indicators Survey, Satellite Industry Association (SIA) and the Future Corporation (June 2000)
(Footnote 7 return)
The Planetary Society's mission statement.
(Footnote 8 return)
NASA's FY 2001 budget is $14.285 billion$683 million above the FY 2000 spending level. Some $300 million in earmarks is included in the Appropriations bill that funds NASA and, as a result, boosts spending by about $110 million (constant 2001 dollars).