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Moon NASA Space Science

Russia Talks Moon Base With NASA, ESA 197

milbournosphere writes "Russia and NASA are reportedly in talks to create a base on the Moon. They're looking to create either a facility on the Moon itself or a permanent space station in orbit around the moon. 'We don't want man to just step on the Moon,' agency chief Vladimir Popovkin said in an interview with Vesti FM radio station. 'Today, we know enough about it. We know that there is water in its polar areas,' he added. 'We are now discussing how to begin [the Moon's] exploration with NASA and the European Space Agency.'"
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Russia Talks Moon Base With NASA, ESA

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  • by inhuman_4 ( 1294516 ) on Monday January 23, 2012 @07:43PM (#38798845)

    Sounds like a good idea. Hopefully they can actually do something with this instead of endlessly talking about it, and sinking money into studys.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Monday January 23, 2012 @07:48PM (#38798895)

    We can do it, it's mostly a question of whether or not we want it badly enough to do it. Compared with some of the other things we've done lately it should be well within our capabilities. People have been to the moon.

    The challenge though is going to be primarily expense, getting the materials to the moon is a relatively well understood problem and most of them can, presumably, be unmanned missions. The real challenge is going to making the base habitable and protected from whatever might fall from the sky.

  • Re:Why the moon? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Monday January 23, 2012 @08:24PM (#38799317)

    To add to the other comments:

    1) it's a lot easier to build a habitat on an existing ball of rock, than to ship materials into place in orbit (or at a langrangian point) to create a self-sustaining structure and habitat. In fact, there's some theories there might be lava tubes where underground habitats can be built. Don't forget, radiation is a big problem in space; inside the Van Allen belts, it's not so much of a problem (LEO is within those belts, and the ISS is at LEO). But out at one of the L points, there's nothing to protect you. There's nothing to protect you on the surface of the moon either, but there's plenty of building material right there, and it probably wouldn't be that hard to build an undeground structure and use the surface as a radiation shield.

    2) it's already proven there's water on the moon. Water is a pretty important material for sustaining human life anywhere.

    3) Humans need gravity or else they develop health problems very quickly, including massive bone loss. The ISS astronauts work out constantly to combat this, and it's still not enough. The moon only has 1/6 Earth's gravity, and it's unknown what the long-term effects of this will be, but it's certainly better than 0g.

    Until we start build very large space stations with artificial gravity, the moon's gravity is probably a cost that's outweighed by the other benefits.

  • by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Monday January 23, 2012 @08:33PM (#38799449)

    I'm just waiting for China to announce a permanent moonbase.

    Then we'll suddenly be really fucking interested in going back real fucking fast.

    Until then, Russia can gum-flap all they want, there's no political ($$$) motivation to go back. Sure, it'll pay off, but not before the next election cycle, so who gives a rat's ass? I mean, yeah, everybody but the people holding the purse strings.

  • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Monday January 23, 2012 @08:45PM (#38799579)

    This is not about studies but a diplomatic arrangement. Noone could build a Moonbase without the consent of the other major powers.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman