To Boldly Go – But Not Come Home

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Would you volunteer for a long-term space mission, multi-generational, one where you will not return?

Yea, I would.

Did you know that NASA is currently “bound” by the Kennedy Directive which requires all astronauts be brought home from space.

“…Since Kennedy’s speech, the US has lost 17 astronauts. Three perished in a fire during early testing for the Apollo programme and 14 died in the wreckage of the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia. In 1970, Nasa engineers saved three astronauts when Apollo 13 malfunctioned 200,000 miles from Earth. But no US astronaut has ever suffered the slow oxygen starvation and freeze that would doom a spacecraft lost beyond the Earth’s orbit.

Nasa is currently bound by Kennedy’s directive to bring its astronauts home, Olson said. But the other nations rapidly developing space programmes may shed the constraint, as could the commercial companies that may supplant national efforts. “Space is no longer for power and prestige; it’s truly for economic benefit,” the Apollo 11 flight director Eugene Kranz said. “The technology that emerges from high-risk, high-profile, extremely difficult missions is the technology that will keep the economic engine of our nation continuing to go through the years.”…”

The only way to explore beyond the inner solar system is to build long-term missions.  To go to the nearest star, one would need to be on a multi-generational “ark”.

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