NASA Abandons Moonbase Plans

Illustration for article titled NASA Abandons Moonbase Plans

The possibility of a real-life Space: 1999 has gotten even further away. Not only are we ten years too late, but NASA is reconsidering plans to build an outpost on the moon, due to budget.

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The announcement of the change came as NASA's acting administrator Chris Scolese spoke to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies of the House Committee on Appropriations about the agency's proposed 2010 budget yesterday:

We were looking at an outpost on the moon, as the basis for that [budget] estimate and that one is being revisited... It will probably be less than an outpost on the moon, but where it fits between sorties, single trips, to the moon to various parts and an outpost is really going to be dependent on the studies that we're going to be doing.

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And what kind of studies are under consideration? Scolese was happy to tease:

[W]hat I would like to see from NASA over time is an architecture that…will give us flexibility for taking humans beyond low-Earth orbit and allowing us to have options for what we can do at the moon as well as other destinations…[like] Mars or an asteroid.

While I'm upset at the loss of a moon outpost, if it means we're sending people to Mars instead, that is definitely good news.

NASA may abandon plans for moon base [New Scientist]

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DISCUSSION

If we can't even get funding to set up on the moon, what do you think are the chances we'll have the funding to accomplish the far more difficult task of making it all the way to Mars and back? Not to mention that it would mean far more untested long-duration-stay technologies if we can't use a lunar program as a proving ground.