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Are Humans on the Way Back to the Moon?

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.

Related posts:

2013 NASA Budget Gutted

About 18 Quatrillion Things NASA Has Given Us

Curiosity Kills It, Lands on Mars

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Image credit: NASA

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128 comments

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8:30AM PST on Jan 12, 2013

Thank you Mindy, for Sharing this!

7:42AM PST on Dec 1, 2012

I did some research and wrote a speech for class after reading this article. You inspired me, thank you!

1:20AM PST on Nov 22, 2012

I hope so and make sure all Liberal Loons are the first to board!

10:03PM PST on Nov 20, 2012

thank-you.

10:23AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

We need to control climate change well enough to save our farms from global warming more than we need to engage in space travel to explore our solar system. This is so big that both controlling climate change as much as feasible and adapting to the part of climate change that we can't control are likely to be HUGELY expensive. However failing to do whatever combination of controlling climate change and adapting to it turns out to be most economically feasible will mean losing our farms to global warming and having 90% of the world's humans die of war, pestilence, and famine. I feel that a huge pile of debt from trying to solve the problem will be a lesser evil than killing 90% of the world's humans.

9:01AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

Sounds like a plan Warren O. :)

7:46AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

I wonder if they will let a 46 year old pothead go. I can test the effects of marijuana in Space.

5:12AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

Going back to the moon is a waste of time and resourced. There is so much more to the universe, they should be using the money on that instead of the moon.

1:07AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

Hi Eric :)

I may be able to help with your confusion: The shuttles' maintenance was a nightmare. For example, the engines had to be completely disassembled, checked, and put back together for each mission. Part of the problem was that they were scaled down from their original intended capabilities (due, I think, to restrictions from the launch-platform) and that left the engine working too close to maximum capacity to trust for a second mission without such thorough maintenance-checks. It was found, a long time ago, that due to maintenance-issues, the reusable shuttles were actually less cost-effective per mission and less practical than disposables. The planned new shuttles faced the same problem. Hopefully in the future more efficient and powerful engines, and more durable materials and engineering, will let us go back to the reusable model with all of its advantages.

If anybody has questions about space-physics, I would be happy to answer them if I can.

9:27PM PST on Nov 18, 2012

Jean N. -Maybe in your great big world, although somewhat disconnected from reality, you've heard the statement - when you point a finger at some-one else you have three pointing back at yourself.
The term 'box' is used to express a situation of limitations, [of thought, of perceptions, attitudes, etc]. But if you want to play dumb merely as an excuse to use for trying to criticize a person, that's on you.
The conversation here is about traveling to planets. What does your airy-fairy statement about 'dreaming of the stars' have to do with the hell that space travel is?
Also, did I say somewhere that the dollars are going to Mars? Do you have a reading disorder of some type? Of course the dollars stay 'here'. But they could be put to much, much greater use then trying to put a few human beings on in-hospital planets. [And again what for?]
Another reality check - the Sun is a star. I appreciate how it's position to the earth serves all of us so well, in so many ways. I don't need to dream about. The earth is magnificent, and anyone who has ever traveled into space, were so, so grateful to get back here. Even after only a short time in space. This Earth, this 'world' that I live in and on, is not small to me at all. [and yes I know what you implied - all I can say to your ugly comment - is speak for yourself].

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