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Russia To Establish Bases On the Moon 249

Posted by timothy
from the reopening-the-tang-mines dept.
ananyo writes "Vladimir Popovkin, the head of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, has said that Russia will pursue extensive, long-lived operations at the Moon's surface. 'We're not talking about repeating what mankind achieved 40 years ago,' Popovkin said, through a translator at the Global Space Exploration Conference in Washington DC. 'We're talking about establishing permanent bases.' The heads of the space agencies for Europe, Canada and Russia, along with senior representatives from the space agencies of India and Japan were in Washington DC talking about the benefits of international collaboration. JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency, also issued a clear pronouncement about targeting the Moon."
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Russia To Establish Bases On the Moon

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  • Re:Empty posturing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:02AM (#40086225)

    Yeah, the recent history (failed launches) by the Ruskies suggests they are suffering the same political/bureaucratic decay as NASA. In the early days the techies run the place because the suits haven't yet learned the buzzword to make people believe they understand enuf to run things. Same thing happens in private corporations. Organizations age just like people.

  • Re:Bullsh*t (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThunderBird89 (1293256) <(zalanmeggyesi) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:04AM (#40086261)

    That was one affair. Europe also lost spacecraft (Beagle Mars probe), and so did the US (Deep Space 2). Space exploration and rocketry is, by its very nature, a risky and failure-prone endeavour, hence the low and reluctant investment in the field.

  • Re:Empty posturing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by happy_place (632005) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:06AM (#40086279) Homepage
    I would hope we could all work together to create a moonbase, sort of like the international space station. If all the countries who can, race to the moon as individuals, I'd expect there be a turfwar over the few areas that might have more value to a colony (like fighting over polar ice). It'd be a sad thing to expand the worst of our nature to the moon and make the sands of that distant void red with blood.
  • questions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Morty (32057) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:07AM (#40086297) Journal

    It's perfectly natural for the head of a space agency to want to expand what his agency does.

    Follow-up questions:

    (1) Has the Russian government actually committed budget to the proposal?

    (2) What does Russia expect to accomplish with its moon base?

    Note that Russia has been talking about this for a while [digitaljournal.com].

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:09AM (#40086335)

    error prone

    Their space program hasn't lost a single man since the early 70's. Can NASA say that?

  • 3 areas of concern (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:11AM (#40086361)

    3 areas of concern as seen on the ISS

    1) If you go full international everything will take 10 times as long and cost 10 times as much. That does NOT mean you should go isolationist. If the Americans want to drop a lab literally next door, thats OK, even if they want to share power and air thats OK. But you have to be firm about each item being owned and responsible by precisely one nation (or at most a very small group) and you cannot make the whole project or even subprojects depend on that one nation's work. If the Germans want to land a really cool telescope and click it into position next to the base like a lego block, fine. But if you need a full UN treaty to launch some oxygen tanks then you're completely F'd as those guys are utterly ineffective.

    2) Permanent as in ongoing perpetual expansion like a stereotypical overseas military base, or permanent as in we've not decided when to abandon ship yet? The danger of not being in perpetual expansion mode is you'll probably end up like the ISS, in construction for 99% of its lifetime and the week after the last bolt is tightened, its time to deorbit and give up. Permanent as in we intend to expand or improve this base to the tune of $1B/yr in perpetuity is a pretty good idea. Project management with a defined yet nebulous end date after which its managerially abandonded is a great idea for making "a" disposable rocket engine. Its a terrible idea for an entire base, or a station, or even a vehicle program.

    3) Please don't do the space shuttle and ISS thing of promising everything to everyone for free and instantly, and then scaling back until its a miserable failure compared to its original goals. So the ISS could hold 24 crew. OK, lets build everything to the assumption that the hotel labor load will be 2 people working full time, thats less than 10% of the crew changing air filters and gaskets or unclogging toilets or whatever the hotel load is on a station. Whoops we're imploding the crew size to 6, now a minimum of 1/3 of the on-orbit time is spent maintaining the station. Whoops. Suddenly a station where most of the people do scientific research turns into an aerospace version of "this old house". Whoops.

  • Re:Yeah, okay. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:16AM (#40086415)

    Yeah, their space program is such a joke. All they did was put the first satellite in space, first orbit, first man and woman in space, first space station, first probes on Venus and Mars--in fact, pretty much every space "first" except man on the moon. And they're currently the only country in the world capable of even putting a man in orbit. Ha, ha, what a joke! Let's all laugh at them!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:20AM (#40086473)

    Obama? What's he got to do with it?

    NASA's funding situation has been problematic for decades. W and the Republican led Congress flushed nearly $1T down the toilet from 2002 through 2008 in Iraq; NASA's funding is a fraction of that. Imagine what we might have done if that money had been given to NASA instead.

    Oh, you're trolling. Never mind. Go crawl back under your bridge.

  • by TC Wilcox (954812) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:42AM (#40086797)

    At one time, US used to be the lead in grand endeavors, but laziness, political infighting, and lack of true leadership has paralyzed the American will.

    I hope to live long enough to see America return

    As an American I wish the Russians luck and hope they actually do this and succeed. I hope that if they successfully do this it may motivate the powers-that-be over here to emphasize science a little more than they have been. And even if America doesn't take the hint and start emphasizing science again it would be a freaking moon base! :) That is neat no matter who is doing it.

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:07AM (#40087191)

    "I don't think people here are that gullible to believe that's Obama's fault given that the plan to kill the shuttle program pre-dated Obama"

    So you're saying he didn't have the executive authority to halt that plan? No, sorry, doesn't wash. As far as I'm concerned he's just continued the backwards looking short sighted policies of Bush in this regard.

    "If you wan't to blame Obama for something legitimate blame him for pushing NASA to become more dependent on the private space industry"

    That too.

  • by andydread (758754) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:33AM (#40087665)

    "I don't think people here are that gullible to believe that's Obama's fault given that the plan to kill the shuttle program pre-dated Obama"

    So you're saying he didn't have the executive authority to halt that plan? No, sorry, doesn't wash. As far as I'm concerned he's just continued the backwards looking short sighted policies of Bush in this regard.

    "If you wan't to blame Obama for something legitimate blame him for pushing NASA to become more dependent on the private space industry"

    That too.

    Halt it and do what? The aging shuttle fleet was ridiculously expensive to maintain and the economy was losing millions of jobs per quarter at the time when he came into office. Where is the money supposed to come from? Maybe you could cough up the funds no? The Airforce has their mini shuttle that is doing them well and for everything else the spaceX and others will be a whole lot cheaper and therefore the size of the federal government has been reduced. People have been screaming to reduce the size of the federal gubmint so now the massive scale of the launch program has been reduced and now people bitch that its reduced. just wow.

  • Re:Empty posturing (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:38AM (#40087759)

    If Obama (for some reason we blame NASA, but put the blame on your hero) didn't cut NASA we could be talking this as well. What I find a shame are those welfare scum who take money away from projects such as these because they refuse to work. The so called poor today are just lazy thugs.

  • Re:Empty posturing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sperbels (1008585) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:39AM (#40087789)

    If all the countries who can, race to the moon as individuals, I'd expect there be a turfwar over the few areas that might have more value to a colony (like fighting over polar ice). It'd be a sad thing to expand the worst of our nature to the moon and make the sands of that distant void red with blood.

    Doubtful. The moon is a pretty big place. If we did actually establish separate bases up there, it's more likely the groups would cooperate a bit on their own. They're off in the middle of nowhere trying to survive in a place that could kill you in a second. Deliberately damaging anyone's equipment could easily kill off everyone. Turf wars are something you'd expect when there's a lot more infrastructure in place and specialized "security" people present who will obey inane kill orders from their host country.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:49AM (#40087969)

    Obama? What's he got to do with it?
     
    The man has been in office for 3 years. How long does the honeymoon last? Or are you going to be blaming Bush 20 years from now with the Iraq war? Not to mention the only 2.5 years of that war count against Obama but he's spent more in 3 years than W did in 8... including the wars and the fallout from 9/11. When are you going to wake up? I'm not saying to vote Republican but I am saying that we need a new outlook on accountablity.

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:55AM (#40088069)

    "Halt it and do what? The aging shuttle fleet was ridiculously expensive to maintain"

    Any space system is highly expensive to maintain. With that price came flexibility. Name me any other system that could have brought a satellite DOWN from orbit not to mention allowing on the spot repairs.

    "Where is the money supposed to come from?"

    Oh I dunno, how about some of the billions still being spent in afghanistan. When is the US going to pull out again?

  • by Guspaz (556486) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:06AM (#40088233)

    Imagine what we might have done if that money had been given to NASA instead.

    Imagine what we might have done if that money had been given to private companies like SpaceX instead. We'd probably be busy fighting a war with the mars colony for their independence by now. The entire R&D program behind Falcon 9 cost less than a single shuttle launch. You'd still have enough money left over to launch two or three times.

    One of the big problems is that NASA can't effectively use what money they do get, because they don't actually build or design anything themselves. Congress, it seems, designs the rockets (the SLS seems to have been, anyhow), and private contractors rip NASA off to build them.

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