In all geologic time, the responsibilities are on our generation ... including you ...

Clementine 1 - Mission to Near Earth Asteroid Geographos

The Clementine 1 probe is best known for being the probe which first discovered water at the Moon's poles.

Clementine 1 was a very low budget probe paid for by the U.S. Department of Defense's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) (previously known as the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), aka "Star Wars").

What is less known is that Clementine 1 headed off for a rendezvous with near-Earth asteroid 1620 Geographos, which makes a very close approach to Earth periodically.

Unfortunately, Clementine 1 failed en-route to Geographos. A software bug in its star tracking navigation system misled the probe to think it was improperly oriented. The software had insufficient fault tolerance in that the probe suddenly started spending a lot of fuel in endless reorientation attempts. The software should have put limits on how much fuel it could expend, at the very least. There are several mission critical "system fault tolerance" algorithms that should have been built in to prevent what happened. Instead, it just went on spending all its fuel, and by the time mission controllers on the ground were notified, it was out of fuel and could no longer rendezvous with Geographos.

A subsequent probe, Clementine 2, which would have visited multiple near Earth asteroids, was approved by Congress. Objectives included analyzing the dynamic strength of surface material, crater formation, dust cloud composition, stratification, thermal properties, and of course spectral data for composition and mechanical properties. Leading targets under consideration were asteroids 1987 OA, 1989 UR, and 1991 JX. Clementine 2 was a joint venture between the U.S. Air Force Space Warfare Center, Phillips Laboratory and NASA.

In 1997, when the controversial U.S. President's "line item veto" was first exercised, one of the first two things cut was the mere $20 million annual appropriation for Clementine 2, in a highly public political display of the line item veto being used to delete wasteful public spending for allegedly ridiculous projects. Of course, Clementine was at a cost equal to about one military aircraft, so we could continue to fight over Earth's limited resources. Tells you a lot about the selfish and nearsighted nature of human political mobs. Given the need for Near Earth Asteroids for space colonization in view of human extinction risks, this may eventually go down in history as a bigger event than the Lewinsky affair (another issue of human folly) as regards Clinton's image. For all his exceptional high intelligence, his basic stupidity will be the tall pole in the tent.

Since Clementine didn't do anything as regards asteroids, the main PERMANENT article on Clementine 1 is in the section on lunar probes. Clementine is famous for having been the first to discover water ice at the lunar poles, which has created strong interest in mining the lunar poles. There is also more interesting sociopolitical commentary on the Clementine mission in that section:

Clementine 1 and lunar water ice

External links: > Asteroids, Near Earth Objects (NEO) > Probes to Asteroids and NEOs > Clementine 1


PERMANENT needs a PHP / MySQL (actually, MariaDB) programmer. Are you a PHP / MySQL programmer interested in getting into space development as a career, or already working in space development? Or do you know somebody else who might be interested?

There is an ongoing process to update this website in 2019 with a target relaunch in 2020.
This website is actually very out of date. Much of the website text content was written in the 1980s to early 2000s, but that's a different matter. As regards PHP / MySQL, some offline databases go into the 2010s, as regards professional publications, engineers, companies, etc., and this is what we need programming help with. We are updating our databases on people, organizations, publications, and other things, for open source space development for all.

The current status is we have some working databases which we have been using internally for a long time for organizing professional publications, and to track people (authors, R&D people, other professionals, quality volunteers, journalists, etc.) and organizations. We want to put information online for the general public pending a security review of the programming code.

Step 1 is fixing some bugs in what we already have, the PHP code. It is functional, and been used a long time, but there are some bugs.
Step 2 will be improving the system. Some small improvements would help its usability.
Step 3 will be a security check for putting it online for the general public to be able to access and use, but with reasonable protection against hackers.
After Step 3, the main mission is accomplished, as regards PHP / MySQL, though of course we hope to keep people engaged and happy, and the sky's not the limit.

This is a volunteer, unpaid role at this point in time. A limited paid role would be considered on a tight budget, such as for at least bug fixing with some minor improvements, and/or a security review of our code before it goes online publicly. If you or one of your friends or associates may be interested, please send an email to spaceprogrammer at ... of course this domain.

Reasons to do something yourself:

  • It will help save life on our special planet -- be part of the solution in your generation.
  • It will create and secure a better future for your children and grandchildren.
  • It could be an interesting, cool, and a fun adventure for your life!

You can join us and volunteer to help out,

... or ...

If you're short on time, you can just donate:

The Permanent Space Development Foundation, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
If you would like to make a quick donation to our humanistic cause,
then please click on one of the buttons below (which go to PayPal).

... or by cryptocurrency (which is NOT tax deductible), you can donate into any of these wallets:





... or ...

Suggest this website to other people and organizations.

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Leave information about yourself in our people, companies, and organizations database.

If you are interested in hiring our expertise, anywhere in the world, please contact us.
We have people in the USA and Thailand, and can travel or consult by internet.
You can call anytime, 24/7, at +66-8-1135-7977

Text by Mark Prado, Copyright © 1983-2021, All Rights Reserved.
Many website artistic design elements by Sam Fraser, Copyright © 1999-2021, All Rights Reserved.

Except where specifically stated otherwise,
Copyright © 1983-2021 by Mark Evan Prado, All Rights Reserved


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