ESMO another example of why the Moon needs to be explored first

Monday, November 09, 2009

In my post Ten reasons to explore the Moon first instead of Mars I mentioned one of the reasons as being that the Moon is in a location where not only the United States, Russia and Europe can aid in exploring it but also many smaller nations as well. On top of that there is also an upcoming mission to the Moon that is being built by university students in Europe, called the European Student Moon Orbiter. The goals for the mission still seem to be a bit vague (mapping the surface for six months and "studying" it), but the fact that a group of students is able to aid in understanding and exploring the Moon is a prime example of the ease of going there versus other parts of the Solar System.

On a related note, I would like to see a type of standardized basic probe developed that can be used for simple flyby missions of close objects such as asteroids. Creating a probe with the same or nearly the same design as another is a good way to lower costs, and was recently used with the Venus Express mission, which resembled Mars Express but with some modifications and with the similarity of VE to ME it was able to be whipped up in just a few months. A standardized near-Earth asteroid flyby probe could easily be built ahead of time and then launched by a relatively cheap rocket to closely study asteroids that approach the Earth. An open source would be the best way to proceed with this as then any nation that wants to conduct a mission of their own would be able to create the same probe with relative ease.

An article from 2007 has a bit of info on open source and space exploration.


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