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posted by janrinok on Friday April 20 2018, @06:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the refried-space-beans dept.

NASA is going back to the Moon, perhaps permanently, as seen in a new road map (image):

Four months after President Trump directed NASA to return to the Moon, the agency has presented a road map to meet the goals outlined in Space Policy Directive-1. The updated plan shifts focus from the previous "Journey to Mars" campaign back to the Moon, and—eventually—to the Red Planet.

"The Moon will play an important role in expanding human presence deeper into the solar system," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA, in a release issued by the agency.

While the revamped plan may share the same destination as the Apollo program, NASA said it will approach the return in a more measured and sustainable manner. Unlike humanity's first trip to the Moon, the journey back will incorporate both commercial and international partners.

To achieve this, NASA has outlined four strategic goals:

  • Transition low-Earth orbit (LEO) human spaceflight activities to commercial operators.
  • Expand long-duration spaceflight activities to include lunar orbit.
  • Facilitate long-term robotic lunar exploration.
  • Use human exploration of the Moon as groundwork for eventual human missions to Mars and beyond.

This may be the best outcome for the space program. Let NASA focus on the Moon with an eye towards permanently stationing robots and humans there, and let SpaceX or someone else take the credit for a 2020s/early-2030s manned Mars landing. Then work on a permanent presence on Mars using cheaper rocket launches, faster propulsion technologies, better radiation shielding, hardier space potatoes, etc.

Previously: President Trump Signs Space Policy Directive 1

Related:


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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Thexalon on Friday April 20 2018, @09:41PM (2 children)

    by Thexalon (636) on Friday April 20 2018, @09:41PM (#669819)

    The real reason to return to the moon is to establish a penal colony which can later be taken over by libertarians and revolt against Earth rule.

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
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  • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Friday April 20 2018, @11:13PM

    by requerdanos (5997) on Friday April 20 2018, @11:13PM (#669845) Journal

    When the Tycho Uprising began in 2062, the universal right to read soon became one of its central aims.

    - source [wtdhpl.info]

  • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Monday April 23 2018, @08:52PM

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Monday April 23 2018, @08:52PM (#670881) Journal

    Better work harder on AI then. We need the HOLMES IV to be ready. Oh, Bog!

    --
    This sig for rent.