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Mars : on the path or in the way?

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dc.contributor.author Sherwood, Brent
dc.date.accessioned 2013-02-07T21:01:58Z
dc.date.available 2013-02-07T21:01:58Z
dc.date.issued 2012-05-22
dc.identifier.citation IAF Global Exploration Conference, Washington, D. C. , May 22, 2012, en_US
dc.identifier.clearanceno 12-1970
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2014/42696
dc.description.abstract Explore Mars may not be the highest and best use of government-‐ funded human space flight. However, Explore Mars is pervasively accepted as the ultimate goal for human space flight. This meme has become refractory within the human space flight community despite dramatic contextual changes since Apollo: human space flight is no longer central to commonly-‐held national priorities, NASA’s fraction of the federal budget has diminished 8 fold, over 60 enabling technology challenges have been identified, and the stunning achievements of robotic Mars exploration have accelerated. The Explore Mars vision has not kept pace with these changes. An unprecedented budgetary commitment would have to be sustained for an unprecedented number of decades to achieve the Explore Mars goal. Further, the goal’s justification as uniquely able to definitively determine Mars habitability is brittle, and not driving current planning in any case; yet NASA owns the choice of this goal and has authority to change it. Three alternative goals for government investment in human space flight meet NASA’s own expressed rationale at least as well as Explore Mars, some with far greater capacity to regain the cultural centrality of human space flight and to grow by attracting private capital. At a minimum the human space flight advocacy community should address the pragmatics of choosing such a vulnerable goal. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship NASA/JPL en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Pasadena, CA : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2012. en_US
dc.subject Mars exploration en_US
dc.subject human space flight en_US
dc.subject space solar power en_US
dc.subject complex project costs en_US
dc.subject project planning en_US
dc.subject project cost estimating en_US
dc.title Mars : on the path or in the way? en_US
dc.type Preprint en_US
dc.subject.NASATaxonomy Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration en_US


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