Over the last few years there has been a buzz over at NASA about getting people to Mars. One of the steps in their overall plan is called the Asteroid Robotic Redirect Mission (ARRM). This mission looks at a Near Earth Object and shifting it to cislunar space, the space between the Earth and the Moon.
The mission itself is exciting to follow. Moving an object into cislunar space has never been done before. Moving anything inside our solar system hasn’t been done before and NASA has currently set up four companies to work on design studies for the robotic spacecraft. The companies selected are Boeing Phantom Works, Lockhead Martin Space Systems, Orbital ATK, and Space Systems/Loral. These companies are working in the first phase of the project as part of a way to see whether we can create a spacecraft that can do everything that NASA is supposed to demonstrate.
The ARRM has plans to preform a few tasks. The basis of the mission will be to demonstrate a 20-fold increase in deep space solar-electric propulsion and be able to move large payloads. The ARRM will also move a boulder up to 20 tons and redirect it an orbit around the moon that we can send crews to at a later time. Upon sending a crew, the ARRM will also work as part of an integrated team to show the viability of crewed and robotic operations in deep space.
It’s an exciting time for space exploration as we will be able to witness things happen for the first time in the next few decades. There have been a few things that have happened in the last few decades with the use of the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station, however, no time has felt as exciting to me as it is now. It feels like a sort of science fiction as we see steps, not only from NASA but from some commercial companies, that push the human race towards another planet.
What missions are you excited for? What do you think about the Journey to Mars? Do you think we spend too much money on space funding and should redirect it somewhere else? I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Credit due to NASA for information in this article.