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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday July 05 2017, @04:11AM   Printer-friendly
from the shoot-for-the-moon dept.

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

As Japan becomes the latest country or private entity planning to send a person to the moon, takes a look at some of the most ambitious plans for a future manned lunar mission.

Whichever country or corporation returns a human to our celestial neighbor will be the first to do so since NASA's Apollo missions concluded in the early 70s. In fact, whoever ventures to the moon will be the first to go beyond low-Earth orbit since 1972.

Space exploration has generally been the preserve of nation states and their taxpayer-funded space agencies. More recently though, private companies, most notably Elon Musk's SpaceX, have been leading the way in the aerospace sector.

Billionaire Musk recently laid out his plans to colonize Mars. For some, however, a return to the moon would provide good preparation for the months-long trek to the Red Planet.

Here, takes a look at some of the frontrunners in lunar mission planning.

Source: RT

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Wednesday July 05 2017, @01:51PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 05 2017, @01:51PM (#535172) Journal

    This generation is looking to be the first to actually earn less, on average, than their parents' generation.

    Let us note two things. First, the actual generation that ran into those problems were the younger baby boomers who had to deal with the economic mess of the 1970s, higher living costs (being the last of the boomer surge to buy into any housing market, for example), and depleted pension funds (for example, they'll probably be the first people to get less out of Social Security, adjusted for inflation and time value, that they put in). Sounds familiar?

    Second, why are we going to pieces over this? The world wasn't guaranteed to be perfect. Setbacks like this (global labor competition over the past half century) are inevitable. We can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond. US response has been poor. More people seem to worry about rich people getting too much rather than having jobs, for example.

    Third, we have this call in your post for some big, strong authority figure to lead us by the hand to some great pyramid-building project. You could just do it instead. One of the interesting things about space exploration and many other fields, is that it's becoming a lot easier for small groups to do big projects. Wikipedia and Linux, for example, weren't started by some big government project. They were started by people who just did things that grew into amazingly useful tools.

    The problem with pyramids built by government power is that eventually the government support goes away and the pyramids crumble. That's what happened with the Apollo program. We don't have a serious presence on the Moon now because the big government project didn't create one then. Similarly, having thousands of people on Mars isn't going to be useful, if they can't support themselves once government becomes disinterested and funding goes elsewhere.

    Let us also note that we have yet to see any political leaders, world-wide who would have the vision (and political capital) to do things like colonize Mars.

    Also, I think we need to consider that the divisiveness can't be dealt with by such projects. Apollo didn't help the US in the long run. My view is that the driver is ultimately public funding. In the greater society, there are plenty of opportunities for mutually beneficial activities such as trade or friendship. But public funding is only obtained by taking from someone else, both taxpayers and any other potential consumers of public funding. That leads to society-wide conflicts which otherwise wouldn't exist (I believe 2/3 of the whining about baby boomers to give a prominent generational conflict example is due to the imminent curtailment of social safety net benefits for generations past them and government domestic policy disagreement). Public funding is being proposed here as a short cut, but it will create more conflict in the process.

    Finally, let us consider that many of the alleged benefits of Martian colonization could be done on Earth (such as more STEM education and research). Perhaps we ought to just do them rather than requires some expensive project that is at best peripheral to the things we supposedly really want to do, but can't be bothered to support.

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