Space Exploration: Getting a Handle on Why?

by Gordon R. Woodcock, Boeing Space and Defense Group, Huntsville, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space IV

Abstract:

The two prominent economic issues facing the U.S. today are competitiveness and the huge federal deficit. Economics being the counter-intuitive science that it is, a reasonable exploration program (say, $5 billion or less annually)would probably decrease the deficit rather than increase it, and some of the technologies developed would benefit competitiveness. However, that was not the perception and it's all 'water under the bridge'. Those two believe, as I do, that a well-conceived exploration program would benefit the U.S. and the world, need to revisit the entire question of the rationale for exploration and what kind of program would bet suit this rationale. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to this process. I offer in this paper to hardware concepts or mission profiles, but a discussion of reasons and purposes making up the rationale and an example of a Mars program (it's more than exploration) aimed at satisfying the rationale. One could do a similar thing for the Moon.



Subject Headings: Space exploration | Federal government | Water management | Bridges | Moon | Economic factors | Human factors | Terrain models | United States

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