Monday, February 04, 2008

Finally, a real lunar program

i didn't realize how long it had been since my last post, sorry everyone! I had a great Christmas/New Years/Solstice holidays here in Huntsville and then we took a couple weeks off in January for an actual (well-deserved) vacation.

OK, so today there is big big news in the lunar arena. The President's 2009 budget request for NASA came out and there were many briefings to attend about it (may I just opine, Shana Dale is a really good presenter). The news isn't bad, but certainly NASA didn't get anything more. It's basically keeping up with inflation.

One interesting thing is that Associate Administrator for Science, Alan Stern, is making good on his desire to see a series of lunar science missions. Though it may seem patterned after NASA's wildly successful Mars Exploration Program, the lunar program is considerable smaller, both in resources and capabilities. But with LRO and LCROSS next year, the Discovery mission GRAIL in 2011, a new Ames/Goddard smallsat (LADEE - Lunar Atmospheres and Dust and something with two e's) piggybacked onto the GRAIL launch, and 2 new lunar microlanders to be launched by 2014, we arguably have a lunar exploration program going. And of course, every program needs a management office. It so happens that the Lunar program office will be based here at MSFC!

We're still working to digest what it all means, but I am excited to be here right now!

Oh, er, and the rovers are still going too :)

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