February 23, 2012

Space, Part Two

How space exploration will change in the next 50 years.

Shelby: Visiting asteroids, sending humans to Mars, and exploring deeper into space.

While visiting the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, I got to see some of NASA’s future projects, and even test some of them out myself!

Should we drive into the moon crater?

Lucien Junkin: Sure!

Shelby: This Space Exploration Vehicle, or SEV, was built to drive over surfaces like the moon and Mars.

Lucien: We like to think of it as the off-roading space RV.

Shelby: Like an ATV for the moon!

Lucien: Exactly.

Shelby: Lucien Junkin tells me that putting robots in space is a big focus for NASA, sending everything from robotic manipulators — like the ones on this SEV — to full-blown robonauts into orbit. Lucian’s goal is to have a multi-purpose vehicle ready to launch in five years.

Lucian: So, if we wanted to go to the moon and Mars, we are able to do that within the decade. If we want to go someplace else — which right now we are looking at asteroids — then we’ll go there.

Shelby: By sending humans to explore asteroids, scientists believe we could learn how to deflect them and avoid disaster in the future.

And NASA’s not through with Mars either. It wants to send humans there by the mid-2030s.

“While I was proud to fly on the space shuttle, tomorrow’s explorers will now dream of one day walking on Mars!”

Shelby: But many fear that without funding, that day may never come.

Lucien: America, throughout its history, has had generations and generations of explorers. Just like we explored the West and we’ve developed the West. And now, we had a generation that has explored the moon, and gave us the moon. And now, it’s up to our generation and future generations as to what we do out in space.

Shelby: Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.


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