New NASA Position to focus on Exploration of Moon, Mars, and Worlds Beyond

New NASA Position to focus on Exploration of Moon, Mars, and Worlds Beyond

NASA wants to focus on their Exploration Campaign as Steve Clarke got the post of the Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration.

The American Space Agency replaced its predecessor in 1958 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower established it for civilian-oriented applications in space science. From Apollo Missions to the International Space Station and from Space Shuttle Program to New Horizons Mission, it has played an instrumental role in all the space-related achievements of the United States. Currently, NASA is working in collaboration with SpaceX to colonize Mars with humans in order to make us a multi-planetary species. All in all, it has certainly seen a lot since its creation but that doesn’t seem to be enough as the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) of the agency announced their desire to keenly explore the moon, the red planet, and other parts of our solar system.

The administration of Donald Trump has clarified their intentions about space exploration, a number of times, as they want to make rigorous progress in this field. This announcement reflects just that as Steve Clarke, who was working as a Senior Policy Analyst with the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President, has been appointed as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration. He will be serving at a critical position where he will act as a bridge between the Mission Directorates of NASA, the external stakeholders, and the scientific community. This will allow them to develop an integrated approach for the Exploration Campaign of NASA. He is most suited for this job and Jim Bridenstine, the Administrator of NASA, acknowledged that as he said,

Steve returns to a position ideally suited for him and the agency as we return to the Moon. He’ll help integrate near-term and long-term lunar exploration with science missions and other destinations, including Mars.”

Clarke has an illustrious career that speaks for his abilities. Throughout his journey, he served in vital positions and his habit of delivering the best allowed him to succeed at each stage. For the first time around, he joined NASA as an Integration Engineer for Scientific Robotic Missions of NASA in 2000. He rose to the status of the Chief of the Mechanical Branch in the Launch Services Program in a timespan of only 3 years. In 2005, he was appointed the Chief of the Launch Vehicle Division of the Constellation Ground Operations Project. Four years later, he was appointed as the Deputy Director of the Ground Operations Project.

Before joining the Executive Office of the President, he was posted as the Director of the Heliophysics Division of the SMD. He also worked at the Joint Agency Satellite Division and the Exploration System Division.

In this stint, some of the massive tasks assigned to Clarke include formation and execution of an integrated strategy which will allow cross-agency interaction to yield maximum benefits. There is certainly room for quite a lot of flexibility as inter-agency and international participation will also be incorporated. Similarly, he will work with the technology development, scientific payload development, and research of the SMD to generate commercial partnerships that will be the key to the success of the Exploration Campaign of NASA. He will also be looking for any research and technology opportunity cross disciplines to ensure that no chance goes begging. According to reports, SMD-funded research and technology development will take care of these opportunities including the ones that are linked with manned or robotic missions.

One of his major duties is to arrange various commercial activities to ensure that the ‘Lunar Campaign’ gets enough financial support. According to a recent announcement, NASA wants to send manned missions to Moon before reaching out for Mars. Prior to these missions, they will be carrying out a series of Robotic Commercial Delivery Missions which will transport all the tools that are needed to prepare Lunar Surface for human footsteps. Once all the robotic work is complete, two mid-sized Lander Demonstration Missions will follow and the first of them is expected to launch in 2022. They are immensely important in the long run as they will prove to be the basis of the larger crewed missions. Partnerships on both public and private levels will be used to complete these lander missions.

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