Index Home About Blog
From: Henry Spencer <>
Subject: Re: Mars rover to the moon?
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 1996 15:36:23 GMT

In article <> (Jim Kingdon) writes:
>...They tried doing this by basing Mars Observer on a
>comsat bus, but it didn't end up saving any money over a custom

Well, be fair.  For one thing, MO was meant to be the first of a series,
so it was accepted that there would be substantial one-time costs that
should be charged to the series, not just to the first mission.  For
another, it's questionable whether JPL really tried hard to minimize
changes to the comsat bus -- any such approach looks uneconomical if you
don't use a firm hand in trimming down the lists of desirable changes.
(People who are used to custom-building everything do not adapt easily
to using a standard design, which is always suboptimal for any specific

>> NASA doesn't have an organized plan to resume exploration of the Moon,
>It isn't clear that they should have an organized plan.  Personally, I
>like the Discovery approach--let people propose missions, and choose
>the ones which seem to have the most return...

This leads to exactly what we've got now:  a disorganized mess in which
successes are not followed up and failures are not rectified.  This is
fine if your objective is full employment for the planetary-science 
community, not so good if your objective is exploring space.
Space will not be opened by always                 |       Henry Spencer
leaving it to another generation.   --Bill Gaubatz |

Index Home About Blog