Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Future space missions



An orbiting space factory, a self-directed deep-space exploration robot, a fully automated earth resources and environment monitor, and a lunar base that could grow through the self-replication of many of its elements were examined in a space technology assessment workshop which looked at the next 25 years. The joint NASA/American Society of Engineering Education workshop, held this summer at the University of Santa Clara in California, selected and defined challenging space missions that would identify critical technology needs for future research and development. The workshop offered possible representative future missions rather than specific proposals.

A highly versatile ‘intelligent’ satellite information system for most types of earth survey was suggested. Previous systems have produced huge masses of data because they record everything they see. The proposed information system would select and interpret data coming from its sensors to provide results tailored to specific needs.