[FPSPACE] Phobos First !!

jeoberg at comcast.net jeoberg at comcast.net
Mon Apr 20 23:59:43 EDT 2015

Good plan, John, and you know I've been following the proposals for a lo-o-o-o-ong time. 

As things stand now, how soon could you initiate a repeat 12-month mission to focus on what you learn this time? 

How much longer in LEO would any downstream follow-on missions have to be to be worth the effort? 


----- Original Message -----

From: "John B. Charles (JSC-SA211)" <john.b.charles at nasa.gov> 
To: "dstdba" <dstdba at aim.com> 
Cc: fpspace at lists.friends-partners.org 
Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2015 3:23:48 PM 
Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] Phobos First !! 

Speaking as one of the people who planned the current one year (almost) mission, I can say that it is primarily intended to test whether we are as smart as we think we are based on what we learned from 15 years of 6-month (plus or minus) ISS expeditions. Previous Russian experience shows that there are no "brick walls" out to 14 months. I don't think we will see them even on 30-month Mars missions. But crewmember effectiveness and efficiency will need to be protected by treatments and "countermeasures" now in development and testing on ISS. So, we are evaluating them with this longer mission, hoping to find any "oops" and "uh oh" sooner rather than later. 

John Charles 
Houston, Texas 

On Apr 19, 2015, at 11:44, dstdba < dstdba at aim.com > wrote: 

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 work. 

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 only 

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 Near 

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

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 ] 
Sendt: 15. april 2015 01:37 
Til: Chris Jones; 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 

dsfportree at hotmail.com 
dportree at usgs.gov 


h ttp://spaceflighthistory.blogspot.com/ 

> Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2015 15:19:25 -0400 
> From: clj at panix.com 
> To: 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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