Too much raw material
That describes my writing day today. I am gonna have to take a day off and parallelize the audio->editing process before I accidentally re-use more tapes.
Heard a rumor yesterday that Greg Bear
maintaines a house near mine, where he putters in the garden (same as me) and works on his next book. (same as me, 'cept that he's 30 books ahead). He has a blog now!
His books EON
and Eternity were great influences on me as I spent the late 80s and early 90s boning up on the near earth asteroids...
Speaking of raw material... the MUSES-C mission originally featured a cool nano-rover
but that was canceled in 2000 due to budgetary constraints. Sigh. I take some comfort that the Japanese did manage to launch a scaled down craft, and it is due for a swing-by of earth in May
- on it's way to ITOKAWA
I have been trying to get an interview about the mission plan fromBall Aerospace
for NEOX version 1
and especially NEOX version 2
(featuring an "Deep impact" style impactor) f - a certain "R.P. Reinert, R.W. Dissly, and S. Mitchell" ...for ages... as they presented at the last AAS meeting:
[41.11] Cost-Effective NEO Characterization Using Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP)
R.W. Dissly, R. Reinert, S. Mitchell (Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.)
We present a cost-effective multiple NEO rendezvous mission design optimized around the capabilities of Ball?s 200-kg NEOX Solar Electric Propelled microsatellite.
The NEOX spacecraft is 3-axis stabilized with better-than 1 milliradian pointing accuracy to serve as an excellent imaging platform; its DSN compatible telecommunications subsystem can support a 6.4-kbps downlink rate at 3 AU earth range. The spacecraft mass is <200kg at launch to allow launch as a cost-effective secondary payload. It uses proven SEP technology to provide 12km/s of Delta-V, which enables multiple rendezvous? in a single mission.
Cost-effectiveness is optimized by launch as a secondary payload (e.g., Ariane-5 ASAP) or as a multiple manifest on a single dedicated launch vehicle (e.g., 4 on a Delta-II 2925). Following separation from the LV, we describe a candidate mission profile that minimizes cost by using the spacecraft?s 12km/s of SEP Delta-V to allow orbiting up to 4 separate NEO?s. Orbiting as opposed to flying by augments the mission?s science return by providing the NEO mass and by allowing multiple phase angle imaging.
The NEOX Spacecraft has the capability to support a 20kg payload drawing 100W average during SEP cruise, with >1kW available during the NEO orbital phase when the SEP thrusters are not powered. We will present a candidate payload suite that includes a visible/NIR imager, a laser altimeter, and a set of small, self-righting surface probes that can be used to assess the geophysical state of the object surface and near-surface environments. The surface probe payload notionally includes a set of cameras for imaging the body surface at mm-scale resolution, an accelerometer package to measure surface mechanical properties upon probe impact, a Langmuir probe to measure the electrostatic gradient immediately above the object surface, and an explosive charge that can be remotely detonated at the end of the surface mission to excavate an artificial crater that can be remotely observed from the orbiting spacecraft.
I've emailed Ball so I can get more details - no response. I've googled - no answers - I swear I saw the proposed mission plan on the web... can't find it....
Anybody know these guys? I've got a project that might help enhance their quest....
I guess I'll have to wait until the next AAS meeting.
It's been a rocky day. I have got a couple meetings tomorrow morning. Can't sleep. Gah. I keep having nightmares about 10 million wasted shuttle launches
while 2003 YT1
, 2001 US16
, and 2000 JS16
slip quietly by.
2003 YT1 especially interests me - it's a "fast rotator"
, meaning that it is solid enough to rotate at a speed probably in excess of it's surface gravity - or, its exceptionally massy - either way means that it is an excellent candidate for mining... and/or a tether based launch system... It comes within .78 AU on April 30th.
and 2001US16 comes within .028 AU on May 8th. .028 AU, kiddies, is only 11 times further than the moon....
passes by at a mere... agh... I can't say it.
Wave a fist at these rocks as they pass by with me. All that mass... so near, and yet so far.
If you really want grumpy, see all the other free rides to the solar system we've missed this year
. Or all the missions scrapped since we decided to create an international sucking sound
I gotta get some sleep.
Here's the list of the closest real estate on the hoof
ID Date Distance-AU Lunar-dist
2003 WP7 2003 Dec 04 06:55 0.0183 7
2003 WY25 2003 Dec 11 23:36 0.0248 10
2001 SY269 2004 Mar. 18.32 0.02676 10
2001 US16 2004 May 8.23 0.02860 11
(25143) 2004 June 26.83 0.01290 6
1999 MN 2004 July 11.06 0.01737 8
(4179) Toutatis 2004 Sept.29.57 0.01036 5
Night. I think I will haul the air mattress out to my front porch, with sleeping bag, and try to come to terms with mars and venus. Damn, damn, damn
- I missed the Space Access
conference, too. I will try to take heart, as I try to sleep tonight, that others can get as grumpy about space policy as I can
Moon, Mars, & Beyond, as we pointed out last Update, depends utterly on
major reform and restructuring of NASA for any chance of success. Attempting to pursue MM&B without fundamentally changing the agency that brought us Shuttle, Station, and X-33 won't fly, for a number of reasons: Old NASA would not be able to do the job at anywhere near a sustainable budget. Congress would (rightly) not trust Old NASA to so deliver, and thus wouldn't fund the program. And absent reform, we and many others would actively push Congress not to fund the program.
That said, we are making a leap of faith: In light of the strong indications we see that this Administration is making a real attempt to reform NASA back into national usefulness and resume the outward expansion interrupted post-Apollo, Space Access Society supports the full NASA MM&B funding request this year. We urge our colleagues to do likewise.
The key phrase is "this year". We also see strong indications that the old NASA establishment won't go away without a fight. We expect that it won't be obvious who's winning the reform battle till long after this summer's budget process is done. (One example: The major push already underway to hastily commit to a new Shuttle-Derived heavy-lift launch vehicle as the basis for MM&B. This strikes us as a not-very-stealthy NASA Old Guard Perpetual Control & Full Employment program.)
We reserve the right to reverse our support for MM&B funding next year or thereafter if we see the NASA reform process failing and business as usual winning out. Make no mistake, if this thing looks like turning into another billions-down-a-rathole boondoggle, we'll work to kill it.
Amen. After the veneer of reform fades, pass me a quarter billion for 16 asteroid missions please? The payoff is somewhere between a billion and umpteen trillion dollars a year, in about 12 years, for the remaining life of our species. Sure wish I could interest a VC in that, but I guess I'll go back to hacking VOIP and wireless technologies into cafe's and the beach... for now.
I have to misquote PJ ORoarke here: "Giving money and attention to NASA is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."