Destination: Moon or Asteroid? - MyMoon

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DESTINATION: MOON OR ASTEROID?

New blog posting by the Institute's Dr. Paul Spudis. This is the first blog in a three part series about the next destination for humans: revisit the Moon or make our first trip to an asteroid?

Part I: Operational Considerations

The current controversy over the direction of our national space program has many dimensions but most of the discourse has focused on the means (government vs. commercial launch vehicles) not the ends (destinations and activities). Near-Earth objects (NEO, i.e., asteroids) became the next destination for human exploration as an alternative to the Moon when the Augustine committee advocated a “flexible path” in their 2009 report. The reason for going to an asteroid instead of the Moon was that it costs too much money to develop a lunar lander whereas asteroids, having extremely low surface gravity, don’t require one. The administration embraced and supported this change in direction and since then, the agency has been studying possible NEO missions and how to conduct them. Read more.

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