Those who ponder where the most promising areas of study and possible travel inside of our solar system tend to fight amongst themselves in ways that would make Trump and Hillary blush. That is because there is very little money for projects to be had. When just one project can cost billions and everyone in the field has a more valid reason than the other guy in the same field, one can see how battles rage about funding. Some want to see Americans land on Mars while others show data that some of the moons of Jupiter have a much better chance of life currently residing there.
While not everyone got their favorite space cause funded by the news about NASA today, those who are chanting “MOON” and those chanting “MARS” are going to be thrilled. That is because Congress has passed the NASA bill, which sees $19.5 billion being spent on such endeavors in 2017. This INCLUDES a manned mission to Mars, as well as to the moon, Europa. Jupiter, our systems biggest known planet, has 67 moons, but it is believed that Europa has water under its surface. Also, between the massive pull of Jupiter and what is thought to be various processes that generate heat within the moon, it is a great candidate for life.
Many on The History Channel have wondered what “may come swimming up to say ‘hello’” on such a moon. While bacteria life may exist on Venus and Mars might have had life at some point, Europa could actually have something like fish, sharks, etc. now. If nothing else, it is a great candidate for bacteria life since there are far more kinds of those organisms in settings like Europa than there are on Mars or Venus.
This is the fist time in six and a half years that Congress has approved a NASA spending bill, something that Donald Trump had said that he would do, thus keeping another promise. The bill says that NASA should work towards the “long-term goal of human missions near or on the surface of Mars in the 2030s.” This certainly is a bit behind what China and Russia are planning, and far behind what most Americans wanted, but it is better than what the country previously had, which was nothing.
One of the hits taken by NASA was their plans to move a space asteroid into lunar orbit as part of Orion’s travel to Mars by 2020. Unfortunately, NASA has seen costs soar far above projections and Congress isn’t willing to keep faith alive for the project. Of the plan, Congress stated that “the technological and scientific goals… have not been demonstrated.”
Also stated was that whoever Trump chooses for NASA Administrator, likely a man by the name of Robert Lightfoot, is to see if a manned Mars mission is “in the strategic interests of the US.” This doesn’t make sense though. Right now the county is being bested by the Chinese, the Russians and losing out on enormous amounts of knowledge by not doing a Mars mission. Therefore, the statement seems rather flat and pointless.
However the most exciting aspect is that of Europa. For starters, NASA has seen video evidence that Europa has plumes, which not only show water presence, but also an easy place to test. If NASA does not have to drill into the surface due to these plumes, then millions (if not billions) of dollars can be saved. Many think that if this had been known prior, robotic missions to the moon would have occurred quite some time ago. Congress has said that the robotic exploration of Europa “should be supported.” This means that, unlike the doomed asteroid mission, the planned Europa Multiple Flyby Mission will not be suffering funding cuts.
This mission would fly by the moon several dozen times in the 2020’s, according to IFL Science. It would be gathering data to analyze what level of habitability is present on the moon. The bill does not mention the far more exciting lander on Europa mission, but the words “should be supported” would imply that it was taken into account. Considering the plume and water discovery is what made Europa bolt to the top of the NASA list, this only makes sense.
IFL Science also reports that Congress wants to see NASA “continue funding key projects like Orion, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and the Commercial Crew Program (which funds SpaceX, Boeing, and other companies).” This is one of the only times that Congress has ever made a decision that saves money and puts it to best use in many years. By doing this, the shared knowledge between those agencies will further speed up the process of the exploration and expansion of humanity.
Trump has taken some heat for removing Earth Science from the NASA bill. However, that is in large part because NASA tends to spend the money on global warming hoax science. NASA has found that the planet has not warmed in 19 years and they still claim that the warming science is real and man-made. The goal of giving NASA $19.5 billion dollars is not to study known fake science with it. NASA’s own data shows it to be a fraud.
The other reason is that the greatest mysteries to explore on Earth are the vast caverns and empty spaces thought to be in the North Pole. Unfortunately since nations are holding the area hostage from exploration due to concerns of war, Earth Science there is pretty much halted. With the world as it is today, is Russia or America going to trust the other to go exploring in the great North anytime soon?
The news today should excite in the minds and spirits of everyone a certain magic. Not since JFK set the challenge for Americans to conquer the Earth’s moon voyage has it been a more wonderful time to be alive. There are things that can be done from a technological standpoint now that would not have been imagined in the science fiction of the time of the Earth-moon landings. This will be what is used as both Mars and the distant moon of Jupiter get a visit from someone (or something sent) from us here on Earth, the third large stone from the sun.