February’s Popular Mechanics article caught my eye and to my simultaneous delight and shame found a years old argument over weather there’s a better way to get space exploration back off the ground – or should I say out of LEO. Delighted to see an alternative idea that could actually be better than Ares and it didn’t come from within NASA. Ashamed that watching space exploration with some interest – had no idea this conversation was taking place and that so many were working on it.
The Jupiter Direct approach has some fundamental appeal. Apotentially lower development cost, safe and proven hardware and the added advantage of keeping hundreds employed in NASA contractors since it revolves around using the already produced shuttles external tank, with some modification. The Direct proposal website lays out the argument cleanly. Something I would be surprised if the Obama administration didn’t look into. Or direct NASA to conduct a full investigation of the proposal before the Ares I and V get too far along to feasibly consider switching to Jupiter Direct. What they need right now is a serious, rigorous independant review.