President Barack Obama has issued his orders to NASA: specifically, “”By 2025, we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first-ever crewed missions beyond the moon into deep space. We’ll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history.”
Sure, it’s a goal, but is it Commander’s Intent? You bet it is.
First, it’s concrete – you can visualize it, an asteroid in space, beyond the moon, perhaps presenting an extinction level event. It helps that some of us probably remember Bruce Willis and Ben Aflleck sorting out that killer asteroid in Armageddon.
Second, it contains the specific tangible elements of a mission statement:
- Who – NASA and the USA
- What – manned space flight
- When – by 2025
- Where – “deep space”, beyond the moon
- Why – to land on an asteroid as a precursor step to Mars
- How – well, that’s the part they hired NASA for, isn’t it?
Lofty goal, no vague generalities – not bad at all. If I worked at NASA, I’d be both excited and a little concerned – after all, there’s a lot to do before the first space boots touch rock.
Next stop, a small rock hurtling through space. Your flight leaves in 15 years and some travel restrictions may apply.