Sunday, April 02, 2006

Goofy Moon Base

From Gregg Easterbrook at Slate:

"Yet it's unclear what astronauts would do at a moon base, other than survive until their return voyage. A moon base would not be useful for a future Mars expedition—quite the contrary, it would be an obstacle. Any Mars-bound mission would almost certainly depart directly from Earth orbit to the Red Planet; stopping at the moon would be counterproductive in terms of propulsion physics and so dramatically raises the price of Mars flight. "

I love the concept of manned space flight, and the idea of going to Mars in my lifetime is exciting, but probably not realistic. The manned moon base has always seemed like a weird idea though. There is very little of interest to us there at this point and time. The Apollo missions confirmed it's just a big rock, not cheese, and not particularly interesting as a destination for manned expeditions. The author is right when he says we should be looking toward terrestrial projects for the short term that will pay off in the long term and invest in more robotic space exploration missions to prepare for and look towards a worthwhile manned mission to Mars.

And the Shuttle needs a replacement if we are ever going to get to someplace like Mars.



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