You've read about
NASA's plan to use new post-shuttle launch vehicles to return to the moon
But what, exactly, is the US planning to do
on the moon? What would a semi-permanent moonbase look like? And why return at all? NASA's announced answers to these questions remain vague. But last year eleven sets of responses to these questions were offered to NASA in the development proposals submitted to NASA by eleven Aerospace concerns
, each of which suggested different designs, missions, and philosophies for NASA's return to the moon. Some common themes:
"Provide nationally assured access to orbital locations for the placement of observation systems" and "assured access to space for development of force projection systems and movements of logistics." (pdf link, p. 5)
"Commercialize space products and services" (pdf link, p.6)
Keeping the public inspired with "regularly placed program milestones." (pdf link, p.7)
It's interesting to compare the details of these proposals. But taken together, they raise a broader question: does NASA's fear that the public will lose interest in this commercializing, militarizing, moon venture reflect an awareness that that the vision
has finally been lost?
posted by washburn
on Sep 22, 2005 -
is a skill pretty much taken for granted now, but it wasn't
. Accurate maps were once prized state secrets, laborious efforts that cost a fortune and took years (or even decades) to complete.
How things have changed. (Yours now, $110
) It took almost 500 years to map North America, but it's only taken one tenth of that to map just everything else. In the last 50 years, we've been able to create acurate atlases of two planets
and one moon
(with a second
in the works). Actually, we've done a lot more than that
. We're actually running out of things to map.
posted by absalom
on Jan 27, 2005 -