Why have we not gone back to the Moon? The state of the space program in this country really upsets me. In fact, the two greatest things to happen to human space exploration in the past 15 years are the launch of China’s space program and the launch of Microsoft’s space program (read: Paul Allen) It seems that NASA is only concerned about moving human exploration along when its beuracratic mojo is threatened. Don’t talk to me about ISS because it has been greatly stunted. To me, it seems like a glamour project at this point.
The space shuttle is a nightmare. The Shuttle’s horrible safety record does wonders for its perception to gen-pop. People feel unsafe and uncertain about space. And its inefficiency makes Congress feel uneasy. According to this Kennedy Space Center FAQ, each Shuttle mission costs $450 million. Way more that what was originally intended, and way more than it should be. Think of all the forward progress we’d have if it was simply CHEAPER TO GET INTO SPACE. And it is possible. Burt Rutan taught us that. Why is the Shuttle still in service? And more importantly, why are we just beginning to design it’s replacement?
I give you five good reasons to go back to the Moon and establish a science outpost on the far side of it:
1: It’s shielded from radio noise. You can contruct an enormous radio telescope there and peer farther into space than ever before.
2: 1/6 less gravity. Makes an excellent launch platform to Mars and the outer planets. Conserves fuel. Uses less energy. Build bigger and better ships.
3: Mining. The moon is choke full of Helium3. What’s Helium3? Only the stuff that makes nuclear fusion possible.
4: Been there already. We know how to get there. Constructing a base on the moon first will be “relatively” easy. It’ll be a test best for tech to be used on Mars. And should an accident or catastrophy happen, you’re within days of a rescue, not months.
5: Human Nature. It is our nature to explore and discover and wander. Its not that we should go back to the moon. We HAVE to.