Artemis — Goddess of the Moon

Someone said that the Apollo missions should have been named Artemis because Apollo is the God of the Sun and his sister, Artemis/Diana, is the Goddess of the Moon. That makes sense in today’s woke society, but I think it would have been laughable back in the 60’s. Since any new Moon missions will include both men and women, this more correct mission name becomes essential.

But will Artemis actually happen?

I like that it gets things done faster, and requires more participation by Commercial launchers to pull it off, but there is a cost. NASA says that it will need an additional $1.6B to make this accelerated, “boots-in-the-regolith-by 2024” mission happen and they tossed around a plan for altering their existing Lunar Orbiting Platform/Gateway plan to make it all possible. What bugs me is that the accelerated plan looks more like the Apollo “flags and footprint” missions and is similarly incompatible with a unsustainable Moon presence.

The House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee balked, of course, but truthfully, 1,600,000,000 U.S. dollars in this context is almost pocket change.

Things that cost a billion bucks…

  • Buckingham Palace
  • 2 AirBus A380 airliners
  • 1 very, very cheap NBA Basketball or Major League Baseball team (notice that no pro Football teams can be had for such a miniscule price).
  • Miley Cyrus…well, not the singer herself, but actually the Hanna Montana movie and TV franchise.

Donald Trump wants to dip money out of the Pell Grant budget to provide this funding. That idea doesn’t look quite so horrible and insensitive when one digs deeper and sees the amount of accumulating surplus in that particular part of the budget. However…

  • It steps well outside the intended purposes of that surplus…which might be no more than just politicians wanting to appear to be more sensitive than their opponents by throwing extra money at warm-fuzzy things even if those dollars serve no tangible additional advancement to anything.
  • Trump’s accelerated Moon program is seen by some (including myself) as a political visibility and personal vanity project with a negative impact to both useful space exploration plans and NASA’s recently stated goal of going to the Moon to stay.
  • As I stated here last month, this accelerated Moon landing plan seriously endangers Congress’ precious Space Launch System since the SLS cost and schedule simply can’t keep up. Artemis forces NASA to seek and find alternatives…and thus demonstrate just how much of a useless, self-licking ice cream cone SLS really is.
  • NASA generally, and Moon exploration specifically, are already seen by many as a waste of money, especially when compared to college funding for the next generation.
  • There is nothing anyone will be able to do to persuade anyone in the leadership of the current U.S. House of Representatives to move a finger to make this President look better for 2020 or 2024. He’ll need clear majorities in both legislative Houses for that, which pushes that extra money down the calendar to 2022…if ever…and too late to be helpful.
  • I have as much chance of jumping my 2014 Chevy Silverado to the Moon by 2024 as this (or next) year’s disfunctional U.S. Federal government has of passing a new budget anyway.

This whole issue has not yet quite reached the notice of the T.V. talking heads (except the part about President Trump wanting to raid the Pell Grant budget). Even when it does, the wealth of benefits of crewed Moon exploration will likely not be discussed, nor will the fact that NASA already has a progressing Lunar exploration program as a technology development and testing step for them and Commercial Space to sending astronauts and colonists to Mars. It takes visionaries like you to go and find places like this website to get the whole scoop. 😉

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~ by Bill Housley on May 17, 2019.

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