This little article from CNN was shared with us by Mr. P.T., a regular reader here, and in his email, he asked a significant question, one that I'm going to pass along to you, along with my usual red-faced flush of high octane speculation. But first, the article:
As the article avers, the Orion spacecraft is a souped up version of the Apollo command module, and a lunar manned "fly-around" is planned for 2017, as the capsule is launched from the biggest chemical rocket ever to carry four astronauts on the mission.
The article also suggests something else:
"In the future, Orion will launch on NASA's new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System," the agency said. "More powerful than any rocket ever built, SLS will be capable of sending humans to deep space destinations such as an asteroid and eventually Mars."
With this, we are all supposed to be duly impressed.
But while the article does not say specifically that the Orion capsule will be the vehicle of choice for any planned missions to Mars or, even further out, to asteroids, the possibility is clearly being implied, and the engine of all of this stupendousipidy (if I may coin the word), is to be a Saturn V booster on steroids, the SLS.
Stop and think about that. Four men or women are to be crammed into this comparatively small capsule for what would amount to be an eight month flight to the red planet... or as Mr. P.T. put it to me in his email that shared this article, "how can such a tiny, re-created Apollo, crew module get humans to Mars on a long endurance flight?"
Indeed, such a long journey in such cramped quarters would have serious physiological affects, not the least being muscle atrophy in the zero gravity of space, and there are the psychological problems to be addressed.
So here comes my high octane speculation - or to be more precise, my way-beyond-high-octane-speculation, and into-orbit speculation - of the day: I rather suspect this is all, once again, window dressing folks. I am not, and have never been, a card-carrying member of the "Apollo was hoaxed" school. Rather, as I suggested in SS Brotherhood of the Bell, and as many other researchers have suggested, the rocketry was for show... and the show may have been to mask the possibility that there were hidden technologies in play that got us to the Moon, and more importantly, off of it once we got there, a possibility suggested to me by curious statements Dr. Von Braun made to Time magazine shortly after the Apollo 11 mission. Thus, I suspect were watching the creation of the "public spectacle" version of the show, while the real story lies in hidden technologies and capabilities, or, to put it bluntly, in a secret space program.
After all, if former Lockheed Skunk Works director Ben Rich can say - and mean it - that "we can now take ET home," then getting to Mars would seem to be child's play.
See you on the flip side...