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Old 12-04-2006, 09:00 PM   #1
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NASA Announces Moon Colony Plans

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NASA Announces Moon Colony Plans

By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 4, 2006; 5:06 PM

NASA unveiled plans today to set up a small and ultimately self-sustaining settlement of astronauts on the South Pole of the moon sometime around 2020, the first step in an ambitious plan to resume manned exploration of the solar system.

The long-awaited proposal envisions initial stays of a week by four-person crews, and then gradually longer visits until power and other supplies are in place to make a permanent presence possible.

The effort was presented as an unprecedented mission to learn about the moon and places beyond, as well as an integral part of a plan to send astronauts to Mars. Under the NASA plan, the moon settlement will be a way station for crews headed to Mars, and would provide not only safe haven but also hydrogen and oxygen to make needed water and rocket fuel.

If the project goes ahead as planned, it would return humans to the moon for the first time since 1972.

According to NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale, the agency met with hundreds of scientists, potential international partners and space businesses over the past year to discuss the options -- whether the plan should be based around sorties to the moon or around an outpost and later settlement. The conclusion, she said, was that an outpost was the best for science and in preparation for exploration further into space.

Dale said that once the idea of an outpost was endorsed the team debated where it should be established, with a focus on either the lunar North or South Pole. "Conditions at the South Pole appear to be more moderate and safer," she said. The South Pole in particular is constantly bathed in light and would be an ideal place to easily collect solar power.

Lunar exploration chief Scott Horowitz said that the polar sites were scientifically "exciting because we don't know as much about the lunar poles as we know about Mars."

While the rockets and space capsule that will take astronauts back to the moon will be exclusively American, Dale said that the lunar mission envisioned and needed the cooperation of other nations. As part of the planning process, she said, NASA officials met with representatives from the European Space Agency and the space agencies of Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, England, India, Italy, Russian, South Korea and the Ukraine. Dale said she will be traveling extensively next year to these nations and others to see how they might want to participate.

In 2004, resident Bush announced his Vision for Exploration and plans to send astronauts back to the moon and later to Mars. Congress almost unanimously embraced the general plan last year, but questions remain about its funding. NASA is counting on redirecting billions of dollars from the space shuttle and international space station programs as a way to fund development of a new space ship, but some critics complain that the agency is already reducing its science programs to pay for the moon/Mars plan.

It seems appropriate that NASA is now aiming for the lunar South Pole because agency Administrator Michael Griffin is fond of telling people that one model for lunar exploration and development is what has happened on Antarctica. While the Earth's South Pole was first visited in the early 20th century, it wasn't until the 1950s that researchers returned and decades later before they had established permanent, year-round settlements.
Hopefully it will actually be an international effort, I'm not a fan of an American moon colony. But a step on the way to mars - cool.
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Old 12-04-2006, 09:06 PM   #2
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Mars have better weather
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Old 12-04-2006, 09:18 PM   #3
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WE LANDED ON THE MOON???!!!
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Old 12-04-2006, 09:25 PM   #4
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Originally posted by randhail
WE LANDED ON THE MOON???!!!


who knows TV says so, it has to be true
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Old 12-04-2006, 10:11 PM   #5
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Finally!!!Maybe we can all stop killing each other now!...Does the moon have Oil?
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Old 12-04-2006, 10:20 PM   #6
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Finally!!!Maybe we can all stop killing each other now!...Does the moon have Oil?
Maybe we can start a war and take it
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Old 12-04-2006, 11:49 PM   #7
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Much like the ISS this seems doomed to failure, the only way NASA is going to get bases to the moon is on a private freighter.
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Old 12-05-2006, 12:08 AM   #8
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Originally posted by Caroni


Maybe we can start a war and take it
Maybe the UN will tell us to leave the martians alone. Under rule gx9predator#@$
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Old 12-05-2006, 12:37 AM   #9
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omg we haven't even been to the moon once. didnt u see that documentary? The flag was waving n shit and theres no air in space n shit. and the shadows are wrong in the pics and theres no stars in some pics like wtf.
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Old 12-05-2006, 05:16 AM   #10
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My inner science geek says "Cool!"
My inner humanitarian says "The money could be better used elsewhere."
My inner cynical pragmatist says "Yeah, this planet sucks. Let's start a new one."

The flag waving was inertia from when it was stuck in the ground... stars might not show up in the background if the foreground is brightly lit (ie, pale grey moon surface in full sun with no atmosphere to absorb light)... and I haven't seen these allegedly dodgy shadows so I can't explain that one away.
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Alisaura
My inner science geek says "Cool!"
My inner humanitarian says "The money could be better used elsewhere."
My inner cynical pragmatist says "Yeah, this planet sucks. Let's start a new one."

The flag waving was inertia from when it was stuck in the ground... stars might not show up in the background if the foreground is brightly lit (ie, pale grey moon surface in full sun with no atmosphere to absorb light)... and I haven't seen these allegedly dodgy shadows so I can't explain that one away.
I thought you could infer from the incoherent language that I was joking, I was just speaking from the point of view of a total moron who saw the conspiracy documentaries

Anyway, whilst this news certainly is exciting, I'd love to know exactly what they aim to achieve by setting up a base there besides the obvious 'cool factor.' Same with Mars. The only benefits I could see out of settling on the moon/mars is to lessen the congestion on earth, but do we really need to?
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:43 AM   #12
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^So that when there's a nuclear Holocaust here there's people who will survive it and a place for them to live?

/exagerated pessimism
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Old 12-05-2006, 08:43 AM   #13
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Originally posted by Varitek
^So that when there's a nuclear Holocaust here there's people who will survive it and a place for them to live?

/exagerated pessimism
If you listened to Ayreon's Universal Migrator albums, you'd know that's doomed to fail as the colonists die out.
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Old 12-05-2006, 08:56 AM   #14
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Originally posted by randhail
WE LANDED ON THE MOON???!!!
no way! that's great!
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:58 PM   #15
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I read today that they will land on the southern pole so they can do some mining..Hmm
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