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The U.S. space organization still has big plans for the Earth's moon

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration will next month unveil a dynamic strategy of space exploration that includes possible plans for the Earth's moon.  The use of robotic devices and possible manned launches to the moon are some of the ideas that will be discussed.  The Space Resources Roundtable meeting, held at the Colorado School of Mines at the beginning of the month, discussed prospective uses of the moon.  Several prominent researchers have previously exclaimed that the moon is still an important stepping stone in future research.      

A speech by U.S. President George W. Bush outlines a plan that has NASA heading back to the moon and future missions to Mars.  Researchers are currently debating whether or not NASA needs to stop at the moon before heading to Mars -- some see a possible pit stop at the moon as an unnecessary detour that would simply use much needed resources.

The moon is a popular objective for international space organizations.  A Russian space corporation hopes to build a permanent lunar base while mining Helium-3, a rare non-radioactive isotope used in nuclear fusion research.  The Chinese space agency hopes to have its first man on the moon by the year 2024 -- four years after a Chinese craft is scheduled to land on the moon to collect soil samples.  Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) hopes to build a manned lunar base in 2030.

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The last land rush?
By The Boston Dangler on 11/20/06, Rating: 0
RE: The last land rush?
By customcoms on 11/20/2006 10:25:04 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, right. The cost is a f'ing MYTH. We are talking performance per watt per dollar here. NASA HAS THE SMALLEST BUDGET OF ANY FEDERALLY FUNDED agency in the United States and has easily provided the most benefits. The machine I am typing this on probably wouldn't exist in the same form RIGHT NOW without NASA demanding faster computers. The spin off technologies have done more for mankind as a whole than anything else. If we pumped the trillions spent on Iraq into NASA/ Burt Rutan like-company, we'd be on Mars already, with faster computers, significant advances in medicine, science and propulsion. All stuff that trickles down to us a few years later.

RE: The last land rush?
By copiedright on 11/20/2006 11:20:03 PM , Rating: 1
I do agree with the statement that Iraq's cost could be diverted to other parts of the economy. I do disagree with the statement that NASA's spin off technologies are worth the dollar spent. The Apollo missions were the most costly and over budget project IN HUMAN HISTORY! The fast rate of advancement for computers is attributed to commercial and industrial requirements for efficiency.

It is far easier and cheaper to go to the moon now, but to go to Mars, its an entire different ball game! 2 out of 3 probes sent to Mars don't get there. Burt Rutan's vehicle can't even orbit the earth let alone leave orbit and he has had 50 years of technology.

RE: The last land rush?
By MAIA on 11/21/2006 8:37:58 AM , Rating: 3
The Apollo missions were the most costly and over budget project IN HUMAN HISTORY!

The Apollo missions are so dead and buried. What matters now is the future. With a new vision and technology, they will surelly "worth the dollar spent".

The fast rate of advancement for computers is attributed to commercial and industrial requirements for efficiency.

This is wrong. The micro computer was developed because of a technical and logistic requirement, not commercial and industrial. Btw, it doesn't have to do with efficiency but with space, hence the technical and logistic requirement.

RE: The last land rush?
By masher2 on 11/21/2006 1:30:12 PM , Rating: 2
> "The Apollo missions were the most costly and over budget project IN HUMAN HISTORY! "

Is this a joke? The Apollo missions cost a grand total of $28B. At its height, the Vietnam War was costing $1B/day...and it ran for years on end. The US has spent over $1 TRILLION dollars on Israel alone, and trillions more on cumulative total foreign aid. I won't even count the number of domestic programs which easily exceed the cost of the Apollo missions.

RE: The last land rush?
By ElJefe69 on 11/21/2006 1:46:30 PM , Rating: 2
Wow. that's some cool knowledge there.

Yeah, I love NASA. It is the only area of our government besides like national parks services that I enjoy and find pleasant.

I do not think people understand why we make money. We dont make money to invest. That would be retarded. We make money to enjoy life and to explore God's creation. NASA is all about that in so many novel ways. I would love to pay for that.

RE: The last land rush?
By copiedright on 11/21/2006 7:18:31 PM , Rating: 2
The Apollo project is known worldwide as the project that went over budget by the largest margin EVER! Its cost, like space most space exploration (excluding telecommunications) is a black hole for money.

There have hundreds into space.
There have been a dozen on the moon.
But there have only been two at the bottom of the ocean.

Money has been spent going the wrong way!

RE: The last land rush?
By masher2 on 11/21/2006 8:09:40 PM , Rating: 1
> "The Apollo project is known worldwide as the project that went over budget by the largest margin EVER! Money has been spent going the wrong way! "

Another 'factoid' that is quite false. And its a project that has paid for itself countless times, in spinoff technologies. Just the system of weather satellites has saved more than the cost of Apollo, in avoiding damage from hurricanes and other severe storms...not to mention saving countless lives. And that's just *one* of the thousands of technologies which Gemini/Apollo spawned.

RE: The last land rush?
By Ringold on 11/21/2006 9:28:26 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad you pointed that out!

I think it's been chance by a large degree, but any time I've had an economics professor try to think up an example of R&D money well spent (increased productivity) and in the context of government the first word out of their mouth (after a pause) always tends to be NASA.

In the broadest possible terms, if money had to be spent on any one agency or field in order to reduce the long-term odds of a serious recession and lead to future growth, I'd have to say NASA is the place to be dumping money. NASA touches on every aspect of modern technology.

RE: The last land rush?
By copiedright on 11/22/2006 5:19:11 AM , Rating: 2
Actually if history has taught us anything...

Its that high-tech only profits the well educated and established part of society.
It has been proven that the place to dump money to prevent a recession are areas such as building and construction and low paid military!

RE: The last land rush?
By copiedright on 11/22/2006 5:15:00 AM , Rating: 2
Get your space facts straight!

Orbits had been achieved before Apollo!
Apollo is not the project that got man into space, Apollo was getting a man to the moon!

Weather satellites were already around before Apollo.
Computers were around before Apollo.
All Apollo did was have those machines, that man had already made, big enough to break orbit.

RE: The last land rush?
By masher2 on 11/22/2006 10:34:26 AM , Rating: 1
> Get your space facts straight! Weather satellites were already around before Apollo...

Oh yes, we had "weather satellites" before Apollo. We had TIROS, which could transmit one low res photograph every hour, which could not be pointed to look at specific portions of the globe, and indeed wound up facing away from the earth for half of every orbit, making it useless, which wasn't able to transmit for a quarter of the time it *was* facing the earth, due to range issues with telemetry, and which lasted a grand total of 78 DAYS in orbit.

It was a proof of concept only. The technology used to build, launch, control, and communicate with modern useful weather satellites came from Gemini/Apollo.

Here's a few other areas in which NASA-sponsored research created or contributed:

Solar Energy
Fire Retardant foams and other materials
Microlaser, used in telecommunication and many other areas.
Wireless communication
Doppler radar
Medical Imaging
Laser Angioplasty
Ultrasound scanning
Magnetic liquids and magnetic bearing systems
Radiation Insulation
Advanced lubricants
Windshear prediction at commercial airports
Air quality monitors
Water and air purification systems
Virtual-reality training for pilots
Laser surveying
Heat Pumps
Portable thermoelectric coolers
Composite materials, used for everything from better auto brakes, lighter more fuel-efficient cars, improved jet engines, tennis shoes, sports and crash helmets, and thousands of other applications.

And thats just the tip of the iceberg.

Moon stop off silly?
By probedb on 11/21/2006 5:09:36 AM , Rating: 2
Can't remember which comedian over here made the point but I think they were saying that stopping at the moon on the way to Mars is like stopping at the bottom of your garden on the way from Sheffield to London (apologies US chums that means nothing to you in distance terms ;) ).

I guess it'd be more due to not needing the whole huge escape velocity required, it'll be less on the moon?

Oh well, it'd be nice to finally realise that we need to expand into space so we can ruin other planets just like we did with the Earth ;)

RE: Moon stop off silly?
By therealnickdanger on 11/21/2006 8:53:31 AM , Rating: 2
Oh well, it'd be nice to finally realise that we need to expand into space so we can ruin other planets just like we did with the Earth ;)

Who ruined Earth? It seems to be doing just fine...

RE: Moon stop off silly?
By Dfere on 11/21/2006 1:08:31 PM , Rating: 1
How did "we" ruin it? You buying a "green" car every two years (without uhh LEATHER! seats, of course)? You playing Oblivion for six hours with a coal fired power plant pumping juice into your home?

Don't speak for we, don't speak for me, speak for you.

RE: Moon stop off silly?
By typo101 on 11/21/2006 9:28:24 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure he did not mean to imply YOU have ruined the earth.

I tend to agree with him because it seems by simply overbreeding (nevermind today's society's wasteful nature) has set the earth on track to become uninhabitable one day. I'm not going to attempt to give a timeline because that would be talking out of my ass, more so than the previous statement that is. ;)

Then again I think no matter what we do our species will go the way of the dinosaur unless we get ourselves off this planet. Thats why I like to see funding go into space technology. Also, its just plain cool.

However, I do think the US has enough on its plate right now. And I would prefer to see Bush stay focused on finishing what he started instead of some space "bread and circus".

I would also like to note that military R&D is also well known to produce very useful eveyday technology, but I would prefer it if we didn't focus on how to kill people better.

RE: Moon stop off silly?
By angryhippy on 11/22/2006 2:06:51 PM , Rating: 2
It seems unlikely that we will make the earth uninhabitable, unless we accidentally create a black hole, or ignite the atmosphere. Life on earth has survived much worse things than human pollution such as giant meteorites and super volcanoes. Humans are far more adaptable than any other animal anywhere near our size too. It would take a lot to wipe us out. Though maybe a super virus/bacteria could do it.

However I think we can make the planet a living hell with far less biodiversity and people who have to survive by eating rats, cockroaches and hardy weeds/crop plants. :-) I personally like the variety of creature we currently have and would rather see most of them survive of course. I just think environmentalists underestimate how tough and adaptable life is though. I do agree overpopulation is a serious problem though, our standard of living could be a lot higher with 1 billion versus 6 billion. I'm not sure how to reduce it in a humane fashion though. :-(

I think space travel is worth the money as long as a relatively small portion of our Federal budget is spent on it. God knows the US wastes tons of money on the military. Every war since WW 2 was a complete waste of money and life in my opinion.

Anyway I'm mostly talking out of my ass, but that's my 2¢. :-)

RE: Moon stop off silly?
By masher2 on 11/21/2006 1:33:59 PM , Rating: 2
> "Can't remember which comedian over here made the point but I think they were saying that stopping at the moon on the way to Mars is like stopping at the bottom of your garden on the way from Sheffield to London "

Hardly surprising that a comedian doesn't understand astrophyics. In terms of navigating interplanetary (not interstellar) space, "distance" is not defined geometrically, but in terms of delta-V. From that perspective, once you're on the moon, you're well over halfway to Mars.

RE: Moon stop off silly?
By Madzombie on 11/21/2006 3:02:17 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps an analogy to counter that would be "stopping at the bottom of the garden to get in your car, so you can go faster and actually get there sooner than if you just kept going on foot".

All together now...
By yxalitis on 11/20/2006 10:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
If only the planet could unite, join forces, share technology, and get to the moon and Mars as one, united planet!

RE: All together now...
By nyte on 11/21/2006 6:01:38 AM , Rating: 2
then we'd destroy eachother when we're on Mars.

RE: All together now...
By Sahrin on 11/21/2006 11:00:11 AM , Rating: 2
I was going to say:

"Unite as a planet, together, and go to Mars...

...And then declare war on the Martians."

RE: All together now...
By Ringold on 11/21/2006 9:31:21 PM , Rating: 2
Better to destroy everyone else here then and get it over with. :)

RE: All together now...
By Dfere on 11/21/2006 1:03:56 PM , Rating: 2
"And thus, with the help of the Vulcans, was the Federation born."

By bbomb on 11/21/2006 3:33:53 PM , Rating: 2
So we will have no moon by 2050 after we mine it into oblivion?

RE: .
By masher2 on 11/21/2006 4:13:25 PM , Rating: 1
Is this a joke?

RE: .
By Wwhat on 11/23/2006 7:08:52 PM , Rating: 2
Seems more like an expression of general cynicism, and who can blame him.

typo >.<
By nyte on 11/21/2006 6:00:50 AM , Rating: 1
"...a rare isotope non-radioactive isotope..."

shouldn't that just be "a rare non-radioactive isotope"

By GhandiInstinct on 11/20/06, Rating: -1
RE: um
By littlebitstrouds on 11/21/2006 4:54:06 AM , Rating: 3
Bush has never been good with numbers, the US is trillions of dollars in debt

Careful, Bush didn't put that Trillion of dollars there, the Presidents before him did. I highly doubt with any sense of mind would you expect one President to fix the debt.

RE: um
By DaBigChief on 11/21/06, Rating: 0
RE: um
By therealnickdanger on 11/21/2006 9:02:22 AM , Rating: 2
I think people are confused about budgets as they are in real life and as they are discussed in the media. Before the mud-slinging continues, I suggest people look at the following information:

RE: um
By marvdmartian on 11/21/2006 9:12:26 AM , Rating: 3
YOU do your research. While W might have put another trillion dollars of debt on the economy, he is not responsible for the entire debt, like was pointed out above.

You're confusing an annual budget surplus with the country not being in debt. And Clinton didn't really cause any surplus, he just played with the numbers (and had Alan Greenspan do it too), to make it look good. Remember, Clinton was the president who, when the USPS (the ONLY government entity allowed to make a profit) had a 4 BILLION dollar surplus, and wanted to use it to upgrade their facilities and transportation, lost HALF of that money to Clinton's desire to "balance" the budget elsewhere.
Remember, it's usually about smoke and mirrors, and sleight of hand.....and you were watching the wrong hand all the time Clinton was pulling rabbits out of his hat!

RE: um
By ZmaxDP on 11/21/2006 9:14:50 AM , Rating: 1
LOL - a surplus?

You're a funny guy. The yearly budget had a surplus because they collected more taxes then they had spent that year. We're talking billions of dollars. Yay! A nice little drop in the bucket of the TRILLIONS of dollars the US is, was, and will be in debt for many many years. Don't forget, Bush had a budget surplus as well at least once this term. They funneled that money into Iraq, and a few other programs of non-military nature. I don't know what Clinton did with his budget surplus, but I don't think much of it went to the national debt either. You see, the government doesn't use logical accounting rules (in my opinion). I own a house, which I am very in debt on. Let's say 100 grand just for fun. I made 40K this year, my wife made 20K. We spent most of it on bills, house payments, etc... Now, at the end of the year, we figure we have a few hundred dollars we can afford to spend on presents for friends and family. The US Government would call that few hundred dollars a surplus. (And, like we're doing, spend it on things). We're still very in debt, but wow, a surplus! Yay! A very simplistic analogy, but close enough for the purposes. (Not to be confused with dolphins)

Do your research.

RE: um
By rushfan2006 on 11/21/2006 1:02:07 PM , Rating: 3
Just some comments relating to a few of the previous posts...

1) Like it was pointed out, I'll echo it here because it was one of the points I was gonna make anyway before someone beat me to it....a budget surplus doesn't mean the country is out of debt. Our country (US) have been trying to pay down a multi-trillion dollar debt for decades now, so blaming any single president -- even in the last 30 years is just silly. Let alone Clinton or Bush.

2) The USPS is a managed federal agency of the US, however its run like a public organization in that it derives no funding at all from tax dollars. Not a single cent. It fully sustains its operations by the sales of its goods and services (just like a regular "public sector" company does). That is why they are "allowed" to make a profit.

3) I don't recall the war in Iraq costing trillions, someone posted that and perhaps they weren't trying to be serious and just exaggerating instead. Current the War in Iraq has costed us just over $300 billion I believe. While space exploration is very imporant and I agree NASA could use a bigger budget, we can't strip from our military.....the situation in the middle east is critical and btw...I'm not even talking about Iraq.

RE: um
By ElJefe69 on 11/21/2006 1:49:31 PM , Rating: 1
Bush has further sunk down into horrendous debt. The war and his stance on allowing big corps to suck the cash out of america internationally has nailed the coffin shut.

RE: um
By rushfan2006 on 11/21/2006 2:16:59 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not that into politics...politics makes people loopy, think irrationally and get very very ugly. Just turns me off completely. I think most of all people are just so biased for their political party they support its really not about facts -- its just about mud slinging and EGOnomics ;).

That all said...You could say the debt was rang up by Bush, you could say the debt was run up by Clinton -- unless there is obvious and reliable doesn't mean much to me at all and I could care less.

The real hinderance in this country is so many people, millions in fact, seem to care more about "image" and "ego" -- who is right, who is wrong and less about just getting the shit done.

Kind of like I remember my dad's attitude towards me and my brothers getting our chores done......he'd say along the lines of "Look...I don't care if you like each other right now, I don't care how you get it done...but that (insert chore name here) better be done by (insert deadline here)".

Same thing with government...I don't give a shit who caused the national debt - what's in the past is the past....I do care about it being "fixed". I don't care why our borders our pourous and illegals are crossing in the droves every day.....I do care about a solution.

basically if I were "Supreme Commander" of the United States....the first thing I'd tell everyone in our government is "STFU" and "stop the ends now...".

RE: um
By Shadowself on 11/21/2006 3:24:01 PM , Rating: 2
After adjusting for inflation
-- and doing the debt growth on a daily basis (thus negating some Presidents in office for longer than others)
-- and lumping Kennedy/Johnson together and Nixon/Ford together...

The rate at which each administration has INCREASED the debt has been

Truman....................$ 16,839,000.00
Isenhower.................$ 11,376,000.00
Kennedy/Johnson...........$ 23,800,000.00
Nixon/Ford................$ 72,799,000.00
Carter....................$ 92,999,000.00
George H W Bush...........$272,066,000.00
George W Bush.............$239,808,000.00

These are dollars per day that the country had gone further into debt during each administration averaged over that administration's time in office.

While Clinton clearly did NOT lower the debt over the duration of his administration, while Clinton was in office the debt grew more slowly than any time since Carter -- even after adjusting for inflation.

The numbers are what they are. The source of the data is the U.S. Treasury debt and inflation figures from January 1945 to today.

RE: um
By AxemanFU on 11/21/2006 5:03:01 PM , Rating: 2
There are lies, there are damn lies, and there are statistics..

I'm glad you adjusted for inflation, but did you bother to adjust for % of GNP or GDP? These numbers are still absolute numbers even adjusted for inflation only in context with the overall size of the American economy at the time they are figured. This means absolute numbers are irrelevant. The debt needs to be shown in proportion to our ability to pay as a nation, or our GDP, really. Over all, debt as a %GDP has been decreasing for decades, so our national ability to float our debt is always improving. It's when the Debt/GDP starts significantly increasing that things start looking bleak.

RE: um
By Wwhat on 11/23/2006 7:10:27 PM , Rating: 2

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