The strange story of the Augustine Commission...
Seeptember 4, 2009

My personal opinion is that, no one should believe in the Augustine Commission, nor on its upcoming report for the reasons already explained in this ghostNASA article but, apart this point, I find the entire story of the commission looks very strange, since...

First of all, the commission, by itself, is a strange thing, because it looks like an external team of the "doctors" called to "explain" to a giant (NASA)"hospital" (already full of hundreds excellent doctors) "how to cure" its own "patient"(Contellation)".

Clearly, the fastest and right way, simply was to ask to the hundreds NASA engineers, scientists and experts, to harvest, hear and documenting all the available (internal or external, standard and alternative) concepts (each with costs estimation) for the human exploration and present them to the Office of Science and Technology, to have the best political decision about the NASA future.

Ask to ten non-NASA "experts"(doctors) to explain to NASA(hospital) HOW they must "cure its patient"(Contellation) is, exactly, like say that, the hundreds NASA engineers and scientists, have little or no value, or, that, these ten external "experts"(doctors) are superior to the hundreds NASA engineers, scientists and experts, something like, a "superteam for space exploration" made by... Superman, the Captain Kirk, Spock and Picard, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, the spirits of the, defunct, Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, Wernher von Braun... and... E.T. :)

But, if the Augustine Commission was designed to be a "super experts team", why we haven't seen in the HSF Committee, any of the TRUE (and all still alive, for what I know) EXPERTS of Apollo, space travels and lunar exploration, like... Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, Buzz Aldrin (that I've seen once in the public area but never was asked to him to talk...) John Young and Gene Kranz?

The second strange thing of the Augustine Commission is the number of its members, that's just of "ten" experts... if a big hospital (NASA) has in treat a new "patient" (Mr. Constellation) to which its hundreds doctors (the NASA engineers) are unable to do the correct diagnosis (ESAS plan) and give it the best treatment (Ares rockets) it could be logical that they call ONE "super expert" (like, e.g. an Nobel prize in medicine) or, perhaps TWO, to have a second opinion on the diagnosis, but not TEN external experts!

Or, from another point of view, if NASA and the US government, WANT to ABSOLUTELY SAVE the "life" of "Mr. Constellation", they did NOT call just TEN "doctors" (some of which retired) but 50, 80, 200 of the best "doctors" existing today, or, at least, one or more doctor(s) for each branch of the medicine to be sure to have the best diagnosis and the best treatment!

The third strange thing is, that, the ten ultra experts("Nobel prizes of medicine") of the HSF Committee did NOT know HOW to save("cure") "Mr. Constellation", so, they decide to ask to the engineers("doctors") of NASA("hospital") to propose a series of possible options("treatments") like the Shuttle-C and the Ares-1/5 ("medicine") but, they (the "ultra experts") ask that also to the aerospace companies (that are other NASA "doctors") and to bloggers, lobbies (like "Direct") students of medicine, wizards, familiars of Mr. Constellation, and the people who pass outside the hospital, to suggest them (to the "ultra experts") WHAT TO DO... so, all these non-doctors, wizards, and students, suggest them lots of crazy, absurd, expensive and not rational things (like the orbital refuel, the commercial-space, the RESIZED-Ares-5-called-Direct, etc.) then, the "ultra experts" hear them, take note and put everything in the HSF report!!!

But, the fourth strange (and most incredible) thing, is that they haven't done the first three things in three hours or three days or three weeks, but in over three months!!!

Lets go back to the "hospital/doctors/patient" example.... we have a giant hospital (NASA) with hundreds excellent doctors (engineers and scientists) and a patient (Mr. Constellation) in so serious condition that his familiars (the politics) call (not one or two, but) TEN "super doctors" (the Augustine Commission) believing (or hoping) that they (the Committee members) are SUPERIOR to all hospital's doctors (NASA engineers) then want from them the best answers, solutions and treatment (the HSF report) to save the "life" of Mr. Constellation.

Unfortunately, the ten "super doctors", aren't so informed and "expert" and, to try to save Mr. Constellation, they ask the hospital's doctors, many students of medicine and some non-doctors, to help them, giving useful info, data, options, suggestions, proposals and ideas, good to save the "patient", and, to do a so simple thing, they need three months of time!!!

Well, I'm sure that you may agree with me that the medicine is a much complex discipline and science, than, build a rocket... there are thousands diseases (and often a patient has two of more of them at the same time) needing very complex analysis, diagnosis and treatments with many medicine, surgery, radiations, etc. but, despite the complexity and the high number of variables and combinations just ONE or a few (average) doctors (not necessarily all Nobel Prizes...) reach the right diagnosis between "few minutes" to "few days" (but only when is necessary to wait the analysis results) then prescribe the best treatments to save the patient's life!

So, why an (hundreds times) simpler problem (with only a few dozen of possible options) had needed TEN "super doctors", the hearing of dozens "doctors" (and NON-doctors) and THREE monhts, to read the "analysis" data (some already available from years) to just try to find a "diagnosis"?

And now, after three months of supposed intense "work" you probably believe that the Augustine Commission could (finally) give you the "best diagnosis" to "save the life" of Mr. Constellation... unfortunately, your hope to have ONE (and THE BEST possible) "diagnosis" from TEN "ultra doctors" (after three months of "work") has no chances to become real, since, the "dream team" of "experts" is expected write a report with, not ONE or TWO, but up to SEVEN different options/diagnosis!!!

Also, NO ONE of these options (of which we already know something) can save the life of Mr. Constellation and, some of them, can also KILL now Mr. Constellation, without wait his natural death!!!

Last but not least, the choice of the option (the diagnosis) that must be adopted (and the consequent medical treatment) will be NOT made by NASA (the hospital) or by good engineers (the doctors) or by the TEN "super experts" (the "ultra super doctors") of the Augustine Commission, but by politics (the "familiars" of Mr. Constellation) that, since they haven't any knowledge nor experience of rocket science (medicine) could (probably) decide to adopt one of the WORSE option, from a list of WRONG options!!!

Just imagine the same story told to you in a medical drama TV serie... the big hospital of Grey's Anatomy (NASA) has a patient (Mr. Constellation) in serious health conditions, but, the hundreds excellent doctors and surgeons of this hospital (the NASA engineers and scientists) seem haven't done a good diagnosis (the ESAS plan) nor given the best medicine (Ares-1 and Ares-5) to the patient, so, his familiars (the politics) decide to ask the Dr. House and NINE of his best colleagues (the Augustine Commission) to accurately visit the patient and write a better diagnosis (the HSF report) and a better cure, then, after THREE MONTHS of analysis and discussions (and assuming the patient is still alive) the Dr. House, and his super colleagues (finally) say to the familiars (the politics) of the patient (Mr. Constellation) that, he is ill of diabetes... OR leukemia... OR of swine flu... OR need an heart transplant... OR has a Parkinson's disease... OR a breast cancer... OR a prostate cancer... also, ALL the SEVEN diagnosis made are WRONG and the TEN "Dr. House(s)" (the Augustine Commission) did NOT make a choice between these SEVEN (wrong) diagnoses, but ask the familiars (the politics) of the patient (Mr. Constellation) that aren't doctors, to pick one of their diagnoses and give him the best medicines!!!

We could make lots of critics to the NASA choice for Constellation... but, at least, NASA has made just ONE clear choice (Ares-1 and Ares-5) for the ESAS plan... NOT SEVEN!!!

The Augustine Commission Report could be a list of options of which I try to predict the content (in short) in my list of "just" FIFTEEN (clear, accurate, authentic, sure, no two ways about it, incontestable, indisputable, indubitable, irrefutable, no mistake, nailed down, uncontestable, unequivocable, surefire, undeniable, unshakable, unquestionable, uncontroversial) points...

1. retire the Shuttle in 2011... OR in 2014... OR not...

2. develop the Ares-1... OR another rocket... OR not...

3. swap to the Shuttle-C... OR to Direct... OR not...

4. make only the Ares-5... OR smaller... OR not...

5. adopt the orbital refuel now... OR in future... OR not...

6. rely on commercial space... OR in part... OR not...

7. burn the ISS in 2015... OR in 2020... OR not...

8. use the EELVs for cargo... OR for crew... OR not...

9. launch more robot and probes... OR less... OR not...

10. go back to the Moon... OR remain in LEO... OR not...

11. land on Mars soon... OR go only in Mars orbit... OR not...

12. cooperate with China... OR with ESA/Russia... OR not...

13. build and launch the Orion... OR the Dragon... OR not...

14. spend less money... OR more money... OR not...

15. and so on... OR different from this... OR not...

In other words, the Augustine Commission won't give any answer, but only start more questions.

 


Look better !!!  Direct is ONLY a slightly RESIZED Ares-5 !!!

Why China will WIN the new "commercial" Moon-race

The $5000 idea that can save SEVEN astronauts

What you can do with the $35 billion Ares-1 "price"
 


                                     


If you talk/discuss about this idea on forums, blogs, websites, magazines, newspapers
please acknowledge the source of the idea, putting a link to my article. Thank You.

Home
 


Copyright © Gaetano Marano - All rights reserved