Are Humans on the Way Back to the Moon?
Stop what you’re doing right now. Just put down the bag of Cheetos and the Mountain Dew and listen. Are you ready?
We’re going to back to the moon. Maybe. In about 10 years. But still!
Evidently, NASA has been quietly making plans for a manned outpost on the far side of the moon (Newt Gingrich doesn’t look so bananas now, does he?) by 2025. However, no plans have officially been announced because of, well, because of Mitt Romney.
According to Space.com:
The new plans have probably already been cleared with the Obama Administration but have been kept under wraps in case Republican candidate Mitt Romney won Tuesday night’s (Nov. 6) presidential election, said space policy expert John Logsdon, a professor emeritus at George Washington University.
So this is Obama’s America. Allow me to excuse myself for an epic fist-pumping session.
Way back in 2010, President Obama challenged NASA to send people to a near-Earth asteroid by 2025 and Mars by the mid-2030s. This means two things.
1. I need to get healthier so I can live to see this.
2. We need a new manned space vehicle. Oh wait! We’re working on it. NASA is developing a new rocket called the Space Launch System (SLS) and a people box (otherwise known as a crew capsule) called Orion. Those bad boys should be ready to launch by 2021.
What is truly amazing about all of this is that NASA thinks it can do this on its current budget of just under $18 billion. This amounts to under 0.50% of the federal budget. Compare this to what it was in the 1960s and 1970s during the Apollo program, about 2% of the federal budget. Luckily, there are folks out there who think that such a pittance is a travesty and are advocating for increased funding for space exploration.
New manned moon missions is just speculation at this point, but it’s looking good for us space-philes. Again, according to Space.com:
“We just recently delivered a comprehensive report to Congress outlining our destinations which makes clear that SLS will go way beyond low-Earth orbit to explore the expansive space around the Earth-moon system, near-Earth asteroids, the moon, and ultimately, Mars,” NASA deputy chief Lori Garver said at a conference in September.
Translation: No power in the ‘verse can stop us.
Image credit: NASA