The planned manned trip to Mars should be temporarily abandoned and manned exploration of the Moon should be restarted and intensified.
1. The Mars Manned Mission is very important but it is risky, extremely expensive, and may take decades to complete.
2. A return to exploration of the Moon could occur very quickly, would be much less expensive than a Mars mission and there are many scientific objectives that can be accomplished on the Moon. Obviously, manned exploration of the Moon would be far less dangerous than manned trips to Mars
3. A research center should be constructed on the Moon. It would include a working research station, a rocket launch pad, and living quarters. The research station and living quarters would be protected from meteorite strikes and Sun/cosmic radiation
4. If the Main research center is constructed on the Earth side of the Moon, then a research substation should be constructed on the opposite side of the Moon which is free of radio signals from Earth. The substation would be valuable for monitoring possible cosmic signals arriving on the radio-free side of the Moon.
5. Several areas of Moon research could include (A) extensive examination of the Moon's surface ability to return tons of Moon minerals to Earth for research (and to be sold for commercial purposes), (B) examination of ice deposits that have been recently observed on the Moon, (C) industrial and agricultural experiments and (D) provision for astronaut training.
6. The examination of the Moon's surface (discussed above) would be made with land vehicles and, if appropriate, by spacecraft.
7. Other possible uses of a Moon station would include providing expensive tourist service to the thousands of well-heeled folks that would pay big bucks to visit the Moon. The tourist service would likely be accomplished by a partnership between NASA and private firms but why not?
A manned trip to Mars will take decades to accomplish and will involve safety risks that our leaders may hesitate to take. Why not start with a rejuvenated Moon mission and further develop our space capabilities before committing to a Manned Mars mission?
Last Updated 4/22/17
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