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First Canadian on the moon: Ambitious space plan could mean Canuck moonwalker


 

MONTREAL – Canada could be sending its first astronaut to the moon under an ambitious long-term plan being developed by a group of space agencies around the world.

A return to the moon within the next two decades is part of the recently updated Global Exploration Roadmap — a far-reaching plan developed by more than a dozen space agencies.

Canada is among the 14 space agencies participating in the International Space Exploration Coordination Group, which first started developing the strategy in 2007. The first roadmap was released in 2011 and the latest update was made public last week.

An early phase of the plan would put a new space station into orbit around the moon, and use it as a staging point to ferry astronauts back and forth.

It’s part of a roadmap that lays out human and robotic missions in the solar system over the next 25 years, with the other components including a moon settlement and a proposal by NASA to capture a near-Earth asteroid.

Jean-Claude Piedboeuf, the director of space-exploration development at the Canadian Space Agency, says there’s an agreement among space agencies that returning to the moon is a stepping stone to a more distant target: Mars.

There would be human missions in the lunar vicinity and on its surface until 2030, at which point sights would be set on the red planet.

“You need to master how to land on a planet — and the moon can be a test bed for that and how to live on the surface for a long time,” said Piedboeuf, who noted that Canada is chairing the ISECG this year.

The CSA official suggested astronauts could again be moon-bound in about 15 years. It would be the first human visit to the shining orb since 1972, when NASA astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmidt spent 75 hours there.

This time, there could well be Canadian visitors.

Their specialty: robotics.

“We’re proposing a vision where Canada could have an astronaut, effectively a Canadian who will be in lunar space, either in orbit or on the moon and could operate a Canadian rover in the same way that Canadians operate a Canadarm on the space station,” Piedboeuf said.

“We can foresee in the future doing the same type of thing on the moon, with the Canadian industry building a rover — and a Canadian astronaut could be the operator of this rover.”

The first stop on the pathway to Mars — the International Space Station — will continue to be manned until at least 2020.

Canada is working to get one of its two active astronauts, David Saint-Jacques or Jeremy Hansen, to visit the space station between 2016 and 2019.

“For the next 10 years, we can expect that human space flight will still be in an Earth orbit,” Piedboeuf told The Canadian Press.

“But then, starting maybe in 2025 — that’s really a guess because there’s a lot of work — then we can start thinking about human orbit around the moon and basically doing some activity there, then starting back on the surface of the moon.”

The plan would see a small human settlement established on the moon. Astronauts could use it to mine lunar resources while also learning how to survive away from Earth.

The scenario proposes the use of a “Deep Space Habitat,” which would serve as a staging post. The habitat, a sort of mini-space station, could be placed at a so-called Lagrange point near the moon.

Lagrange points are locations where gravity balances itself out and where a space station could theoretically be stationary.

“We think that around the beginning of the ’20s,” Piedboeuf said, “we will have the capacity to send humans into lunar space.”

Piedboeuf pointed out that Canada has been working with NASA and other space agencies to develop the next generation of rovers, which would go to the moon and Mars.

“In terms of human exploration, we are building the building blocks, the capability that we need to support human exploration,” he said.

The recent retirement of the U.S. shuttle program was a critical moment — the end of one era, and the start of the next one described in the Global Exploration Roadmap.

Now the Americans and Russians are developing long-range rockets and space capsules, like NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which will be used to send astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit.

But it’s unclear whether the way to Mars will actually be led by national space agencies — like NASA, the CSA, the European Space Agency, and the Russian, Japanese, Indian and South Korean agencies.

Private ventures are planning to get there first.

The Inspiration Mars Foundation, an American non-profit organization founded by multimillionaire Dennis Tito, wants to launch a flyby mission to Mars involving a male-female couple in January 2018. Tito paid about $20 million to visit the International Space Station in 2001 aboard a Russian spacecraft.

The flyby mission might even use an inflatable habitat that was developed by a Canadian company based in Chilliwack, B.C., to house the couple on their long journey.

Maxim De Jong, the president of B.C.’s Thin Red Line Aerospace, noted in an interview that Tito has already said publicly that he will use a Canadian company to provide the structure.

But De Jong is still waiting to sign a deal.

“We’re not formally under contract at this time,” De Jong said.

“We’ve had preliminary discussions and hope to have something a little more formal in place soon.”

Thin Red Line designed and built the hulls for two inflatable habitats, known as Genesis One and Genesis Two, for U.S.-based Bigelow Aerospace.

They were launched in 2006 and 2007 and are still orbiting the Earth.

The inflatable habitat is made with Kevlar, which is used in bullet-proof vests and which also provides shielding from radiation — which is one of the main dangers for astronauts in space.

The International Space Station will also test an inflatable module that will be attached to the orbiting lab in 2015.

And then there’s the Mars One project, the brainchild of Dutch entrepreneur Bas Landorp.

The plan is to send to send a few willing pioneers on a one-way trip in 2023, with no guarantee they will ever return to Earth.

The $6-billion project will use existing technology and be funded through sponsors and private investors. The goal is to establish a permanent settlement on the red planet.

Thousands of individuals of all ages and from around the world, including many Canadians, have applied by posting videos online explaining why they want to make what’s been described as a suicide mission.

The plan includes creating a reality TV show.


 
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First Canadian on the moon: Ambitious space plan could mean Canuck moonwalker

  1. Time to leave the nursery.

    At long last….a worthy goal

    • And …..I would add….a goal worthy of us.

  2. You need in situ rocket fuel manufacturing first, at least to get on and off the Moon. With VASIMR you might bypass the Moon altogether. But with the iin situ rocket fuel you can get platinum group metals under impact craters; you can mine them and bring them to space or Earth. One day I’ll find a planetoid that has diamond rains far away from The Sun, and I’ll bring Danielle Smith there :)
    I figured out why Winnipeg had so many Victoria Cross recipients in WWI (and two), and why BC was off the charts in WWII. Both provinces had 2x the national average; Quebec 1/2. Wpg enjoyed a boom after getting a rail hub in 1885 that lasted 3 decades. Wpg experienced a gain in quality-of-life and had something to fight for. BC elected an FDR Premier during the Great Depression; people again flocked from everywhere to Vancouver for jobs/hopes-of-jobs. By going post-modern 7 decades before the rest of North America, Vancouver was much better comparitively than everywhere else in Western Canada, than everywhere but Japan and Germany. In the cases of Wpg and Vancouver, correct Liberal economics were reinforced. The social credit economic theory rests on market forces even to the point of runaway climate change. It ignores that economics is about choosing goals, goals that butress quality-of-life now and in the future. Presumably social credit thought could be modified to encompass only products that butress quality-of-living, but why not just work from the other end with a more developed hisotry of Scottish Enlightenment and the rich Liberal Dynasty (J.Trudeau got to overhear growing up).
    The key is people experienced the tough times; this gave them something to fight for and in the example of Vancouver, an appreciation of efficient economics. Rich people that don’t slum will never learn things; will be Mediterranean. For selecting leaders, it is necessary to be a little self-made. Cutting your teeth in a tar sands company doesn’t cut it when it comes to fighting for the species.

    • 4 decades before the Great Society and similiazr in Canada. lol, Univeristy is slashing enrollment at $105 oil barrel prices. The rich suburbs in Edm and Cgy will give the world 5000 TV channels and chose your own adventure TV shows and movies.
      It is very easy for Edmonton and Cgy to replay the successes of Vancouver and Wpg; though prolly Toronto and Hamilton have the best ethics now. Oil can become recyclable thermoplastic products that rely on higher education and manufacturing. They are just too stupid. Too spoiled. Too distracted by toys. Toys for children.

      • All of this requires raising PSTs or GSTs, and funding University in situ soils R+D, and microsatellite payloads. The successful universities will aggragate some research parks, at which point corporate subsidies can be given. The Liberals have Marc Garneau. MDA spins of medical robots and space robotics; is a worthy subsidy recipient if the link can be demonstrated. In any event despite the Cgy aerospace hub, we will never get there with this small brained gvmt. NASA and Russia’s space agencies were cold war era subsidized industries stolen from Nazi rocket industries and WWII-era computer gvmt R+D.

    • Ramble much?

    • Vancouver became a major port after the Panama Canal opened, I think. This is very similiar to Wpg becoming a rail hub. I’m not entirely sure why this is important. They had an element of being planned cities like those built in 17th century Scotland. Ideally you want your leaders in charge of surveillence amneties to be brave too. The cold naturally makes one hardy. Probably a similiar situation occured right after Ontario and Quebec grew at the start of the 19th century. In Scotalnd they knew they had something better than continental Europe. Same with late 1930s BC. Same with 1885-1915 (at least) Wpg.
      Canada took machine gun nests with a bayonet charge, and didn’t retreat from a chemical weapon attack despite no masks invented yet. I’d like to know why; I’ve figured out about 2/3 of it. You could recreate this in the future with drugs or have our political leaders have brain implants.

  3. Interesting. The original Kennedy goal of landing a man on Mars by 1990 was absolutely achievable, and failed because of distractions and an obsession over the International Space Station, and because of cold feet on the part of NASA. Time to dream a little bit and inspire peoples’ imaginations again. Lip-synching Youtube videos from the International Space Station can only keep the kids interested for so long. Let’s aim for Mars.

    • Ramble was to demonstrate why Canada can’t fund new industries: In the Great Depression people either went left or right politically, founding CCF and Social Credit. AB went RW incorrectly believing less federal gvmt was the correct response to too little GD federal gvmt. AB has the oil you just sink a hole to get to. We can’t have other industries now because of debt.
      We didn’t get to Mars because cosmic rays kill humans without a thick shield. We got robots cheap in the last decade but you can’t shrink people and their metabolisms. This isn’t Twitter. This is rocket science. And rockonomics, man.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_threat_from_cosmic_rays
      The astronauts would be die en route under the Kennedy design.
      With in situ rocket propellant produced on the Moon, you could lift lunar regolith and use it to surround your craft. There are other solutions, all of them learned since the 1960s. This is rocket science not brain surgery.

      • Existing funding of CSA is $250M/yr, and this will have to be increased to fund this. IDK if it is a data error but the MDA income statements I read say no R+D since 2008 (they sold a space division a while back).
        http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/canadarm/ngc.asp
        I don’t care what nationality to cosmonaut is, but the tech should be Canadian or someone post-modern. The ISS was the CanadaArm customer; astronaut could not do any space R+D until the Canada Arm increased assebmly/construction productivity. Without the ISS and whatever Russia builds next that can hopefully centrifuge some different gravity fields, ideally for humans, we can’t get people safely on the Moon.
        “Mother Moon, Mistress of The Sun, sing: I got u. I got u….cuz u don’t deserve me, but I deserve u!!”
        This robotics tech will help make a WMD and possibly tyranny sensor network, happen sooner. Only 38% of Canadians are idiots vs 48% of Americans.

        • Fly me to the moon,
          Let’s me play among the stars,
          I want to see what spring is like,
          On Jupiter and mars.

          • Canada completed the temporary Mars weather station mission. CBC was broadcast the forecast for a month or two. Mars has water which may be useful for propellant. The Moon maybe a few Olympic swimming pools only. But the Moon has less weathered platinum metals. It would be nice if they were in reverse order as an iron propellant Lunar rocket fuel manufacturing method might not be efficient.

  4. http://www.space.com/22520-incredible-technology-mars-astronauts-suspended-animation.html
    This technology will have medical benefit. NASA uses here a $100k NIAC (advanced concepts) grant to fund it. Just like the Canada Arm is related to telesurgery and robotic surgery robots, much NASA research would port to medical science. Aggressive cancer could be delayed with hibernation. I view a carrot and goal of society is curing diseases and extending longevity. Here you could suspend terminally ill people until a cure and hopefully a reanimation technology is found. I would suggest Canada increase top tier tax rates on petro and finance enough (or a carbon tax and a transactions tax) to give CSA a $2B boost to fund space technologies that have medical spinoffs. I also suggest working with Russia on developing a next generation Space Station as they are planning; ensuring it has a centrifuge large enough or at least the ability to add this on later, of having a human in the centrifuge as a guinea pig to similate different gravity fields. The Moon is 0.16 Earth G. We were supposed to have a wheat centrifuge on the ISS, but was recancelled post Columbia. The commenter here is incorrect about Mars and the ISS. Ad Astra is a tiny company founded by a former ISS astronaut and it is the developer of the most realistic engine design that could get humans there and get robots quickly to the Solar System: VASIMR. What we tax oil and finance to fund now will make future space and potentially healthcare, cheaper. The GOP and socredit spent so many decades lobbying to be richer they never learned how to use their new found wealth to make the world a better place. At low tax rates they are bad human beings. Except for Danielle, stuck in The Sun’s G. One day we will be married.

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