Science

MPs want to accelerate asteroid search and want more Mars helicopters

नासा का <em>Simplicity</em> The Mars helicopter is seen here in a closeup taken by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras on the Perseverance rover.”/><figcaption class=

in great shape , of nasa Simplicity The Mars helicopter is seen here in a closeup taken by Mustcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras on the Perseverance rover.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

This week, the US House of Representatives will release a detailed blueprint of its budget for commerce, justice, science and related agencies, including information about NASA’s budget. The House has proposed providing $25.446 billion for NASA for fiscal year 2023, which is $1.4 billion more than what NASA received this year, but $527 million less than the amount the agency sought.

Prior to its release, Ars obtained a copy of the 208-page budget blueprint, which represents an early salvo in the process of funding the federal government. The Senate will still have to release its budget blueprint later this summer, and then the House and Senate will have to reconcile their budgets. That may not happen until fall or winter, after the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, 2022. (Update: The document has now been released).

However, the preliminary document nevertheless provides some understanding of lawmaker preferences. And in general, House budget writers appear to be largely supportive of NASA’s activities this decade, including the Artemis program to land humans on the Moon.

artemis

The House will provide $7.32 billion for “Deep Space Exploration Systems,” which includes full funding of the amount requested by NASA for the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System rocket, ground system and Human Landing System.

“In the coming months, NASA will launch Artemis I and usher in a new era in human space exploration, and the committee provides critical resources to ensure this new chapter is a success,” the document said.

When NASA selected SpaceX in April 2021 as the sole provider of the lunar lander with its Starship vehicle, known as the Human Landing System (HLS), lawmakers were not happy. In response to this criticism, NASA said it would select an additional competitor to build a lander if Congress appropriates more funding. Now, the House will provide $1.486 billion, the amount NASA has sought for the coming fiscal year.

“The Committee appreciates NASA’s efforts to ensure competition among potential providers for future continuous HLS services capability and expects that NASA, through the Sustainable Lunar Development Program, will have additional contracts in the Artemis program after Will commit significant resources to develop multiple HLS systems for use. Awarded,” the document said.

science change

The document makes more significant revisions to some of NASA’s science programs, including NEO Surveyor, a mission to detect near-Earth asteroids. Earlier this year, during a House Science Committee hearing on planetary defense, lawmakers voiced their displeasure over NASA’s decision to delay the launch of NEO Surveyor to at least 2028 for budgetary reasons. The mission will use infrared instruments to detect asteroids that pass near Earth and may one day collide with the planet.

House wants to provide $94.9 million for NEO Surveyor in 2023, $55 million more than NASA requested.

“While NASA has expressed concerns about a lack of funding for near-Earth object monitoring in prior years, the committee is concerned with the agency’s proposal to delay the high priority of the Planetary Science Decadal Survey until 2028,” budget document stated in. “The committee directs NASA to provide a timeline for the NEO Surveyor launch prior to 2028, as part of its fiscal year 2024 budget request.”

The House committee also had suggestions about Mars sample return plans for NASA, a complex series of three separate missions that would end with the return of samples from Martian rocks to Earth in about a decade.

Lawmakers expressed concern about the rising cost of the multi-billion dollar mission NASA is undertaking with the European Space Agency. However, the committee also suggested that the space agency consider using “more than one”. Simplicity-class Mars helicopter as part of its mission architecture. These helicopters, the document says, “can increase redundancy and ensure that NASA has the ability to return samples by enhancing the Ingenuity helicopter design to add sample retrieval capability.”

Simplicity Moving on to the Mars Persistence rover, which has been a resounding success on the surface of Mars. However, it is not clear how NASA can add multiple helicopters to its Mars sample return plans without increasing complexity and cost.

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