NASA's Awesome to Increase With New Rocket

Uploaded by NASAtelevision on 09.03.2012

Most people have a bucket list. You know, a list of things that they would like to do
before they die. I, I have TWO buckets lists. I have one for myself, and one, for my species.
It’s a list of things I would like to see humanity do be before I die, or at least before
humanity dies. It's nice to think about the things you want
to do with your own life before you kick the can, like I want to go to the Grand Canyon,
I want to soak my butt in the geothermal hot spring in Iceland, I want Natalie Portman
and Emma Stone to simultaneously kiss me on the cheek. But people, I am just one lone,
tiny, solitary piece of humanity. Humanity, which is probably one of the most sophisticated
and amazing things we know about in the universe. Thinking only about my own little goals for
my own little self is certainly satisfying personally, but I feel like it’s a little
bit missing the bigger picture. In September, 2011, NASA announced the new
Space Launch System, a safer, more flexible, more capable next step in Humanity's greatest
journey. The men and women sitting on top of the SLS wont be traveling the same hum
drum journeys to and from the space station, instead they will once again be pushing the
boundaries of what humanity can accomplish together.
The SLS, which it is important to note will someday be named something cooler than that,
is the most powerful rocket ever designed, let alone built. Fully equipped, the SLS is
taller than the Statue of Liberty, could fit nine school busses inside, and has 286,000
lbs of cargo lift capacity. That is more than 23,000 puppy-sized elephants. I drive a Honda
Civic and it does okay, you know; carrying my butt down the road at seventy-five miles
per hour. The SLS has as much power as 1.6 million Honda Civics. Now it’s important
to note that the SLS is not in fact a spaceship, the SLS is the thing that gets the spaceship
to space. The space ship is the brand new 20,000 pound 4 seater Orion multipurpose crew
vehicle. Which you may have noticed does not have wings. Actually, the Orion can’t have
wings. Coming in from deep space it will be moving 9000 miles per hour faster than the
space shuttle ever did. Speeds that would literally tear the space shuttle to pieces.
But with four times the mass and more than two times the interior volume of the Apollo
capsule, this is not your daddy's space ship. It's been 40 years since we've had a spacecraft
capable of taking humans beyond near earth orbit, and now we're finally going to have
that spacecraft again. It looks like I may actually get to cross off some of the visitation
locations from my bucket list for humanity. Including The Moon - We know a lot about the
moon because we've been there before and we've brought back samples and walked around on
the surface and even played a little golf. But the number of mysteries that the moon
contains has only increased since Apollo. We've discovered that the moon is seismically
active, and we have no idea why or how. We're almost certain that there are stores of frozen
water, the lack of an atmosphere on the moon has preserved pretty much everything that's
ever happened there, including all the meteors that have fallen. So when we are studying
the moon we are actually looking back in time toward the creation of our solar system. The
secrets that all of those meteorites strewn across the surface of the moon can hold – I
WANT IT! Asteroids!  Between Mars and Jupiter, there's
a vast "belt" of objects that we call the asteroid belt. And generally asteroids are
what we think of them as which is sort of non-descript lumps of rock that we don’t
know very much about. But also hanging out in the asteroid belt is Ceres, a dwarf planet
that is six hundred miles wide and spherical in shape possibly even containing a sub-terranean
ocean of liquid water. There are unmanned probes now patrolling around the asteroid
belt and one of them will be getting to Ceres in 2015 but we're never really going to know
as much as we could know unless we got people on that rock!
MARS! - It's the juiciest scientific fruit in the solar system, a third the size of Earth,
atmosphere, a twenty four point something hour long day. For the first time in the history
of humanity, SLS will bring it within reach. The amount that there is to learn about our
planet, about our solar system, about the history of life, and the universe. Manned
missions to deep space are no simple matter. It took astronauts about three days to get
to the moon, to get to Mars is like seven months.
These missions are difficult, they're dangerous, they're expensive, so we proceed into our
solar system with caution. But before the announcement of the SLS and the Orion, I was
beginning to think that I would never see the day when Humanity would set foot on another
planet, ready to find the answers to the questions that we already have, and even more exciting,
discover all those new questions. I am no longer worried about that. If I can
live a sort of manageable amount of time for a guy my age, I should one day see it.
And maybe that person taking that first step it could be some young nerd watching this
video right now and if you’re out there, remember me, and wave “hi” and I'll be
sitting at home, REALLY HAPPY, because I got to cross off another thing on our bucket list.