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We have now completed three weeks in my annual February birthday fund-raising campaign for this website, Behind the Black. Overall, this campaign continues to be a relatively weak one. Hopefully there will be a burst of support to change this in the last week.


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NASA releases new overall objectives for exploration of solar system

NASA today released a new roadmap for its goal of exploring the Moon, Mars, and the rest of the solar system, with the goal of providing an overarching strategy for everything it hopes to accomplish.

The resulting revised 63 final objectives reflect a matured strategy for NASA and its partners to develop a blueprint for sustained human presence and exploration throughout the solar system. They cover four broad areas: science; transportation and habitation; lunar and Martian infrastructure; and operations. The agency also added a set of recurring tenets to address common themes across objectives.

You can read the full document here [pdf].

The most astonishing thing about this roadmap is its utter lack of any mention of race or gender, especially when one considers how obsessed the Biden administration and its minions in federal bureaucracy have been over such things. The goals are entirely focused on exactly what they should be focused on, exploration and research, with the goal of partnering with as many private and governmental entities as possible to get it done in the most efficient way.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • James Street

    I wonder if those are in any particular order. The first few are pure science… such as the history of the sun and solar system. I’d rather see priority given to objectives that enable Americans to monetize space.

    Regarding LI-1L and MI-1M one of the last things Trump did in office was an Executive Order for a small portable nuclear reactor for the military and space use, and for emergency power after natural disasters. I see Biden is off shoring it to be built in Romania in a $200 billion program.

  • Edward

    James Street wrote: “I’d rather see priority given to objectives that enable Americans to monetize space.

    Recurring Tenet RT-9 states: “Commerce and Space Development: foster the expansion of the economic sphere beyond Earth orbit to support U.S. industry and innovation.” I think that development of the space economy for U.S. industry probably supports this kind of objective. However, it is not a specific goal or objective. RT-2 states: “Industry Collaboration: partner with U.S. industry to achieve common goals and objectives.” A goal of industry would be to monetize space. However, lacking a NASA goal or objective, it may not count as a common goal or objective.

    But — does NASA need to set this as a goal or objective? Wouldn’t commercial companies naturally do all that they can to monetize space without help (or interference) from NASA, and wouldn’t these companies do a better job independently than they could do with NASA, as the government, being there to help? “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.”

    For half a century, NASA only got in the way. The only industry that flourished during that time was the geostationary communications industry, and it did so because NASA left them to their own devices. Without NASA supervision, telecommunications companies did extremely well. Now that NASA is reducing supervision of other commercial space commerce, several other space industries are starting and doing fairly well.

    However, supervision from other government entities (e.g. FAA and FCC) are hampering some of the space companies, possibly for good reasons, but I doubt it. I suspect that government agencies are getting over-involved for the same reason that NOAA had declared that it was the only entity that could take pictures of the Earth, so SpaceX stopped, for a time, broadcasting launches from video on Falcon’s second stage.

    Humans created government for three purposes: 1) protect us from all enemies, foreign and domestic, 2) peaceably resolve disputes as a disinterested third party, and 3) stay out of our way. For half a century, NASA did none of these three, and American space industry suffered terribly, but these days NASA is working toward the third purpose and is beginning to get out of our way.

    Thus, I am skeptical of business partnering with government. It may sound like a good idea, but as a partner the government will want to have a say in the goals, objectives, and methods.

    So perhaps Recurring Tenet RT-2 should have been: Be a customer for the growing space industry.

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