Dec 4, 2006

NASA unveils Moon Strategy

Big story from NASA today:

NASA has unveiled plans for returning to the Moon! The mission plan is to start in 2020 with a four person crew, and grow from there. The main outpost will be a Lunar base, probably close to the south pole where there are many mining opportunities.

Do we want to incorporate this into the game? What dates are we thinking of for this occuring? 2015? 2020? 2030? 2040?


Jay Crossler said...

NASA also released a combined list of all "Lunar Objectives" from 1000 scientists workdwide:

The combined objectives

Phil Smith said...

Note the year has moved up already, from 2018 to 2020. We can expect this trend to continue.

Commercial activity, however, may make revisiting the Moon a reality sooner, perhaps around 2012 or so, but in terms of loop or a few orbits (using modified Soyuz or Shenzhou for paying clients and, of course, government funded astronauts).

In any event, the Moon rightly belongs on any list of "Next Steps to Space", and the ISS can be salvaged as a sort of waystation to points beyond. I often wonder if ISS will become the "Old Town" (or Down Town or Central Square) to a larger complex built around or near it. We must also not forget Lagrangian Libration Points, which will also be likely anchors for stations.

Many people are working on the Mars settlement problem for down the road, but we shouldn't forget Venus and Mercury. The former is more of a scientific destination limited to the atmosphere (when it comes to human missions), but the atmosphere might prove an interesting environment for floating facilities. Mercury is probably loaded with huge amounts of heavy metals, something which will be quite attractive for mining companies as construction takes place in the Inner Solar System later on.