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Apr 06 2015

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Aha…where there’s smoke, there’s likely fire

I reported last week that NASA head Charlie Bolden made some very curious statements on his trip to Russia. One of the more curious statements was a commitment to work with Russia to return to the Moon.

I was confused, both because that ran contra to President Obama’s public statements (Moon: Been there, done that. Mars: exciting!), and because there’s no line item in NASA’s current budget for any kind of manned mission to the Moon.

Now I read in SpacePolicy.com that NASA Disputes Chronicle Report That NASA Is Reassessing Lunar Surface Plans. It references this article from the Houston Chronicle which states

Gerstenmaier, a widely respected engineer who has overseen NASA’s human spaceflight program since 2005, appears to be steering the agency back toward a program that would more fully utilize the moon.

The influential National Research Council strongly encouraged such a shift last summer in a report on human spaceflight, urging Obama and NASA to reconsider their lack of interest in the lunar surface.

“It was clear to the committee from its independent analysis of several pathways that a return to extended surface operations on the moon would make substantial contributions to a strategy ultimately aimed at landing people on Mars,” the report stated.

I, for one, am completely on-board with this approach. Going to and developing the Moon make so much sense logistically, politically, scientifically, etc. THAT should be NASA’s focus — not only putting humans back on the Moon, but establishing the Cis-Lunar infrastructure (bases, communications constellations, surveying constellations, orbital stations, ect) to enable commercial ventures to also establish a foothold on the Moon.

I believe that, before long, NASA will put their focus squarely on the Moon again. In many ways, the Moon is a much harsher and challenging environment than Mars. If you can establish a permanent human presence on the Moon, then aside from the long trip itself to Mars, establishing a Mars colony will be pretty straightforward.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/04/06/aha-where-theres-smoke-theres-likely-fire/

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