September 16th, 2005

Mad Scientist

`Cuz I'm a rocket man! ;-)

I'm not sure how I feel about this, and I'd like to get the opinion of any and all rocket geeks out there. NASA has unveiled a new plan to return to the moon that's giving me deja vu. It seems to me to be a re-work of Apollo with only 2 significant changes:

1) The crew module and main vehicle launched separately, then do an Earth orbit rendezvous.
2) The whole damn thing is cobbled together out of surplus shuttle parts, thereby keeping Morton ThiokolATK and the other NASA contractors happy. Way to put the mission over politics, guys! :-( I'd be curious to compare the thrust/weight ratios, specific impulse, lifting capacity, etc. between the SRBs and Saturn 5. Anyone have any idea which is more capable?

I dunno. I'm not a big fan of going back to the moon anyway- at least not as a supposed stepping stone to Mars. Even if there is water ice to be had there, you still can't fully "live off the land", and the techniques that'll work best on the moon are only somewhat related to what would work best on Mars.

As a commercial venture I fully support lunar exploration/exploitation, but at this point it seems that having NASA concentrate their efforts on a return there is an unnecessary distraction (both mentally and financially) from what they *should* be focussing on.

These are just my off-the-cuff reactions. Anyone else's thoughts?
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