an interview “There is no SpaceX without NASA,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate director of the US Space Agency’s Science Mission Directorate. record This week, Falcon 9 lies in the background at Cape Canaveral.
Zurbuchen wasn’t combative – as did SpaceX chief Elon Musk He confessed Mutual debt between the two organizations the same.
The official pointed to a SpaceX vehicle and turret being rapidly constructed for SpaceX’s Starship, a rocket that could be hit into orbit by NASA’s SLS rocket, although multiple Expedition scrubs Make that very doubtful for now.
The SLS is designed for the Artemis Mission to Americans, which aims to return people to the Moon sometime this decade using private and government spacecraft. It is hoped that NASA’s SLS system will transport astronauts from Earth to lunar orbit, where SpaceX will land them on the surface.
“This place right here, it tells the story of what happens when the government does something really ambitious, but it also supports the commercial ecosystem,” Zurbuchen said of the launch pads on the Florida coast.
However, the inescapable question creeps in: What is the point of Artemis? With commercial space companies driving people off this planet, and robot missions outside the world making extraordinary discoveries, why would we go to all that effort—not least billions and billions of dollars—to bring back shoes on the moon in all places?
“We make Artemis for three reasons,” Zurbuchen said. “There is, without doubt, a reason to do science…the second reason is a reason to inspire, and the third reason is to demonstrate national and international leadership.”
He said that the Apollo missions clearly achieved at least the second and third points, as Neil Armstrong placed the American flag in the lunar trough and left footprints on the surface. Well, that’s reason enough for the US to do the same again.
Zurbuchen then argued that it’s beneficial to have astronauts in space, even on the moon, because humans are more flexible than robots, noting that the roaming Mars probe spent nearly a week at a standstill while engineers evaluate some Small debris was discovered on his equipment. It had to be stopped and instructed what to do next, and the results studied, before the work could continue.
“That’s because we’re talking to a robot,” Zurbuchen said. “The man there would spend a minute on this and learn the same thing.”
Zurbuchen joined the agency in 2016, when he was project The construction of the Artemis SLS rocket was in full swing. He quickly praised the international team that managed to move the monster from the drawing board to the launch pad.
He’s also eyeing a future that features flights to Mars using technology derived from SLS, which wasn’t too far off at the time of this interview.
Zurbuchen was eager to talk about the virtue of missions underway or in the near future, including the first results from the James Webb Space Telescope or what might be discovered by the upcoming return to Mars mission, which will also be conducted with the European Space Agency. “Our European partners are our most trusted partners in all the work we do,” he said.
Will NASA help these European colleagues and themselves? I stopped Exomars rover software?
“We have had discussions with [the] The Europeans said, and the ball is now really with the Europeans. We want them to find out what they want to do and we are ready.
“We have a team working on this, but our good European friends really need to take some time. European decision-making involves a lot of countries, and what we don’t want to do is influence in any way on that. It’s really up to them.” ®