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posted by CoolHand on Saturday March 19 2016, @08:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the walking-on-the-moon dept.

A NASA scientist suggests that building a base on the moon would be feasible within a $10 billion budget, in a special issue of New Space focusing on the feasibility of lunar colonization:

What if I told you there's no reason we couldn't set up a small base on the moon by 2022 without breaking the bank? The endeavor would cost about $10 billion, which is cheaper than one U.S. aircraft carrier. Some of the greatest scientists and professionals in the space business already have a plan. NASA's Chris McKay, an astrobiologist, wrote about it in a special issue of the New Space journal, published just a few weeks ago.

Before we get into the details, let's ask ourselves: Why the moon? Although scientists (and NASA) don't find it all that exciting, the moon is a great starting point for further exploration. Furthermore, building a lunar base would provide us with the real-world experience that may prove invaluable for future projects on other planets like Mars, which NASA plans to reach by 2030. The main reason the moon is not a part of NASA's plan is simply because of the agency's crimped budget.

NASA's leaders say they can afford only one or the other: the moon or Mars. If McKay and his colleagues are correct, though, the U.S. government might be able to pull off both trips. All it takes is a change of perspective and ingenuity. "The big takeaway," McKay says, "is that new technologies, some of which have nothing to do with space — such as self-driving cars and waste-recycling toilets — are going to be incredibly useful in space, and are driving down the cost of a moon base to the point where it might be easy to do." The document outlines a series of innovations — already existing and in development — that work together toward the common goal of building the first permanent lunar base.

[cont..]

Here are the articles in question, all of which are open access:

What Do We Do with the Moon? (open, DOI: 10.1089/space.2015.29003.gsh)

Toward a Low-Cost Lunar Settlement: Preface to the New Space Special Articles (open, DOI: 10.1089/space.2015.0039)

A Summary of the Economic Assessment and Systems Analysis of an Evolvable Lunar Architecture That Leverages Commercial Space Capabilities and Public–Private Partnerships (open, DOI: 10.1089/space.2015.0037)

Lunar Station: The Next Logical Step in Space Development
(open, DOI: 10.1089/space.2015.0031)

U.S. Government Funding of Major Space Goals: A Historical Perspective (open, DOI: 10.1089/space.2015.0036)

Site Selection for Lunar Industrialization, Economic Development, and Settlement (open, DOI: 10.1089/space.2015.0023)

Life Support for a Low-Cost Lunar Settlement: No Showstoppers (open, DOI: 10.1089/space.2015.0029)

Using the Agile Approach for Lunar Settlement (open, DOI: 10.1089/space.2015.0038)

Lunar-Based Self-Replicating Solar Factory (open, DOI: 10.1089/space.2015.0041)


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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by soylentsandor on Sunday March 20 2016, @09:26AM

    by soylentsandor (309) on Sunday March 20 2016, @09:26AM (#320706)

    How about we instead build a sustainable practice colony on earth?

    You mean something akin to Biosphere 2 [wikipedia.org] or maybe BIOS-3 [wikipedia.org] or Mars-500 [wikipedia.org]. Do we really need more of that?

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