Atom Wave: Engage!

Atom Wave

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Engage!




The United States is about to embark on a voyage that Captain James has already been on, and we have as a matter of fact. America is heading back to the moon in 2020, and with it much of our treasure and pride. It is a tragically misplaced once you consider it.
The frontier of space has long been a vastness of innovation, from the invention of GPS to the mastery of using solar cells for energy. Project Constellation is neither; at best it is a resurrection and modest upgrade of existing technology. It is a total betrayal of the American spirit, for a country that invented the transistor and modern electrical power. A project of this magnitude should include developing technologies, and not just for the benefit of the astronauts but the perfection of new technologies.
It is always wise to maximize efficiency, and the reuse of ancient technology will accomplish little towards that end. One of the reasons spaceflight is so expensive is that requires the expenditure of often large sophisticated rockets. The reuse of the shuttles already old boosters and tank in the new boosters will only continue the waste when newer more efficient rockets such as the Delta 4 could be upgraded for the mission.
In order to receive maximum returns from exploration, the scientific aspect should not be neglected. The journey back to the Moon and Mars should include more science than sample return and geologic exploration. It is the perfect opportunity to evaluate new instruments and propulsion systems such as the ion engine.
The Apollo Missions of 30 years ago are a magnificent accomplishment of the human species. Regrettably, it was also a political show that never produced equal scientific or technological return. The return back should produce better profits, then perhaps someday Captain James can order “Engage!”.

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