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Back To the Moon — In Four Years 292

braindrainbahrain writes "Gene Grush, a former division chief at NASA Johnson, has written a series of articles on how the U.S. can return to the Moon in four years. He says not only can we land there, but we can actually build a base on the Moon as well. How is this feasible? A public/private partnership between NASA and a private space company. Quoting: 'The biggest obstacle is the lack of a rocket, called a super heavy launch vehicle, to lift it off the planet. NASA is working on one, called the Space Launch System, but the agency is constrained by its budget and the likelihood of it flying in that time frame is slim. But there’s an interim solution: SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, which will have its maiden flight this year and can supposedly launch up to 53 metric tons into orbit.'

'[I]f NASA makes lowering launch costs its highest priority, escaping the bonds that hold us to Earth will be financially feasible. We don’t do this by controlling the design so much as the frequency -- we are the customer, after all.' 'The development of a lunar base could be a catalyst for lowering our launch cost to space and accelerating the development of automation and robotics. ... If America doesn’t step up to the plate, China’s ambitions for the moon may establish it as the “go-to” nation for space exploration. Many nations of the world privately say they want the moon to be the next step in space exploration -- but they can’t get there on their own. They need a technically savvy and resourceful country to lead.'"
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Back To the Moon — In Four Years

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  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Friday March 21, 2014 @11:04AM (#46543409)

    The moon is a symbol, but there's no *practical* reason to go there, establish a base, a colony, or a really good restaurant. Near earth orbital stations, in contrast, might be developed profitably for power stations, zero G manufacturing of exotic materials, ubiquitous satellite-based internet, and so on.

    The focus on the moon and Mars is just cold war era, retro silliness. We have limited resources to throw at space. This is the time to throw them at something that will give us some return.

  • Assuming there's a good reason to do

    A moon base means learning how to survive without a magnetosphere.

    You are now aware that we are over 500000 years OVERDUE for our magnetosphere to falter, disappear, and be rebuilt in the opposing polarity. Saving the fucking world should be enough reason for any sentient race to seek self sustaining off-world colonization. In fact, if ending the assured threat of extinction by making sure all your eggs aren't in one basket isn't your #1 priority as a species, then are you really sentient, or just a bunch of damn dirty apes?

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:41PM (#46544399)

    The US military budget is huge. Plus they can't be attacked, for they have nuclear weapons. If China invades and come close to looking like they might win, no more major Chinese cities.

    A huge slash in military spending won't threaten the US directly. It will lessen their force projection abilities - their power to invade somewhere like Afganistan and Iraq. The threat of the US doing that is enough to keep some countries in line - it's the reason Israel hasn't been invaded, and why North Korea hasn't done more than sabre-rattling against the south. Consider it the 'Pax Americana' - the various oppressive dictators of the world know they are free to oppress their own people, but start invading their neighbors and there will be an American bomb* coming through the palace roof. Except for Russia, for obvious reasons.

    *With 'Made in China' written on it.

You will never amount to much. -- Munich Schoolmaster, to Albert Einstein, age 10