Can NASA Do the Moon OR Mars Without Losing the Other Constituency?
Here is the challenge and the contradiction. Both the Moon and Mars constituencies are intensely passionate about going to their chosen celestial body. Nearly everyone in each camp sees it as a zero-sum game, e.g.:
If we try to go to Mars now, we will never go back to the Moon in my lifetime, versus
If we stop to go back to the Moon for the next xx years, we will never send humans to Mars in my lifetime.
Well, I have already accepted that I do not expect to see humans on Mars in my lifetime. http://spacearchitect.org/category/newsletter/interview/ Furthermore, I do not see NASA or any other space agency or organization being capable YET of sending humans to Mars in a safe and sustainable way. That far-reaching objective will not be feasible or possible until we acquire decades of experience of humans living on the Moon. It will require that we test all the technology, systems, and subsystems exhaustively on the Moon before sending them to Mars to support human crews.
Sorry if that may sound pessimistic to some Riot readers, but to me, it is highly optimistic. Here is the
official or at least newly minted NASA position: https://aerospaceamerica.aiaa.org/nasa-chief-pledges-to-remember-mars-while-shooting-for-moon/
So my question is: can NASA maintain the support of both the Moon and Mars constituencies while pursuing the path that Bridenstine tries to articulate? Who would
Forget Mars anyway?