The glacial pace of NASA’s human spaceflight program –even with the glaciers melting– may possibly see human beings leave Earth’s gravitational field in 2025. Possibly.
The missing piece of the puzzle is a radiation sanctuary massive enough to protect a crew from a major solar event on such a journey.
A fairly massive shelter, probably made of RFX1, will have to be available for any deep space mission. But why chase down a boulder? A mission to orbit the moon is a much more worthwhile project.
Why do we have a space station orbiting the Earth instead of the Moon? The answer is money of course. Such a station would not have the protection of the Van Allen belts and would require heavy shielding. The vehicle to insert such a heavily shielded station into lunar orbit and resupply it existed in the form of the cargo version of the space shuttle– called Sidemount.
Sidemount was never funded, and a vast amount of money– over 100 billion dollars– spent on the ISS was essentially wasted on tin cans going in endless circles at very high altitude. It does have a nice window though.
Low Earth Orbit is a dead end.
We now have the opportunity to launch a station to orbit the Moon in a relatively short time frame using the Delta IV vehicle. But again, the political football that is human space flight is the first to be cut– while cold war monstrosities like the V-22 Osprey and F-35 Stealth Fighter suck up billions and deliver wonder weapons that do not work.
Why are we trapped and going in circles– going nowhere? Along with the trillion dollar war, billions of dollars are.….missing. Nobody even knows where those billions went.
I know one thing; there went our space program.