[FPSPACE] Phobos First !!

dstdba dstdba at aim.com
Sun Apr 19 12:33:27 EDT 2015

I thought one purpose of year-long stays on ISS was to ascertain that a voyage
to the

vicinity of Mars and back would not require artificial gravity? A landing on
the surface

of Mars would be a different story, of course, due to the likely need for heavy


Science alone does not warrant an expensive manned visit to an asteroid. For
the sake

of preparing us for the deflection of one too close for comfort, we need to
know its

properties. Asteroids come in many sizes, shapes, and flavours. Therefore the

meaningful voyage is to one that actually needs deflection!


Were a NEA detection program set up with the objective to map the orbits of all

Earth Asteroids with diameters greater than 50m, the expected number of such

suggests that at least one of those found will be on a collision course with
Earth. There 

is a high probability that the effort of paying an early visit to such a object
would be cost-




Jens Kieffer-Olsen

Slagelse, Denmark


Fra: David Portree [ <mailto:dsfportree at hotmail.com>
mailto:dsfportree at hotmail.com] 
Sendt: 15. april 2015 01:37
Til: Chris Jones;  <mailto:fpspace at lists.friends-partners.org>
fpspace at lists.friends-partners.org
Emne: Re: [FPSPACE] Phobos First !!


I think these advisors are missing something important - that the asteroid
mission was selected in part because it would not split the community. We have
serious moon and Mars advocates, and they are at loggerheads, but not so much
serious asteroid advocates (speaking of piloted missions, here). Of course,
there are plenty of good reasons not to send humans to asteroids and ARM has
evolved into something ludicrous, but advice from a high-level group that just
assumes that Mars is widely accepted as the next goal for human spaceflight
cannot help but be polarizing.
We actually do need interim steps before we land humans on Mars, but going all
the way to Mars and inserting into orbit kind of misses the point. We need to
work out how much artificial gravity is enough, for one thing, which is why I
advocate for a variable-gravity space station as a next step after ISS. It's a
good transitional step because the variable-gravity station could serve as a
prototype for a piloted artificial-gravity interplanetary spacecraft.
Astronauts on board would study themselves during progressively longer stays
under lunar gravity, Mars gravity, and perhaps some level between Mars and
Earth gravity. 
Small bodies are turning out to be difficult places to work. Given the record
so far, there's good reason to suppose that ARM would not be able to retrieve a
boulder from an asteroid. Similarly, it seems likely that surprises will await
us on Phobos and Deimos. Osiris-REX and Hayabusa 2 might have some things to
teach us that could lead us to rethink how we would conduct robotic Phobos and
Deimos missions. Personally, I'd like to see an asteroid mission that bumps
around on the surface of kilometer-scale body and purposely stirs things up by
drilling, setting off explosives, shooting projectiles into the surface,
planting an anchor and trying to pull away, etc.
Always dreaming!

David S. F. Portree

 <mailto:dsfportree at hotmail.com> dsfportree at hotmail.com
 <mailto:dportree at usgs.gov> dportree at usgs.gov 

 <http://dsfpll.blogspot.com/> http://dsfpll.blogspot.com/


> Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2015 15:19:25 -0400
> From:  <mailto:clj at panix.com> clj at panix.com
> To:  <mailto:fpspace at lists.friends-partners.org>
fpspace at lists.friends-partners.org
> Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] Phobos First !!
> On 4/13/2015 7:46 AM, dstdba wrote:
> > In all probability Phobos is a captured asteroid, so no great deal
> > really.
> >
> > And certainly common sense dictates that the sequence of places in
> > the solar system for humans to visit is Moon, Martian moons, Mars.
> I've certainly heard the theory about Phobos and Deimos being captured
> asteroids, although it's somewhat hard to explain how they ended up in
> low-eccentricity near-equatorial orbits as a result. I also agree
> either or both Martian moons are a good precursor mission for humans to
> undertake prior to a Martian landing, but I don't reject out of hand
> visits to NEOs, though I'd rather see more robotic missions beforehand
> (including close flybys or orbits, landings, and potentially more sample
> returns).

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