NASA Ames, day 2

August 17, 2006

The conference kicked off with a series of talks discussing the shape of space exploration from 3 perspectives.

Jeff Volosin, from the NASA exploration office, spoke of the themes and objectives of the Moon exploration strategy. In a nutshell it breaks down to this:

Themes: Why go to the moon?

Core:

  1. Stepping stone to Mars.
  2. Address questions about the Universe.
  3. Eventual settlement.

Crosscutting:

  1. Economic sphere expansion.
  2. Global partners.
  3. Inspire/educate public

Objectives:

What to do there?
ex. test human physiology at 1/6 g. Links back to theme of stepping stone to Mars.

Piero Messina, from the ESA Aurora project, spoke about the international cooperation inherent in space exploration.

International cooperation

  1. contractual obligations will help exploration objectives transend national adminstration/regime changes.
  2. Division of labour and redundancy
  3. gap filling

International Core Themes (Montreal meeting 2006)

  1. serve public policies
  2. new markets for private sector
  3. expand global partnerships
  4. address fundamental questions about the solar system

Jim Dator, profesor of future studies at Hawaii University, spoke of the possible futures that space exploration could take. We could end up as Icarus and “fly too high” never to return again. Or alternatively living in space may be a logical expansion and evolution.

In the afternoon we seperated into our working groups. The group that I am taking part in is called “Mars Settlement and Society”. Our first task was to go through a spreedsheet that was drawn up at a space agency conference in Montreal to lay out the objectives for the moon exploration missions. We examined the document and made suggestions relating to how the moon mission would link to eventual missions to Mars.

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