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Charles Bolden  (Source: nasa.gov)
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden doesn't see the point of another trip to the moon

There seems to be some differences in opinion around NASA concerning whether the goal of human space exploration should be to land on an asteroid or take another trip to the moon.

The Space Studies Board and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board held a meeting in Washington last week, where the topic of asteroid vs. moon took place.

Al Carnesale of UCLA said there wasn't much enthusiasm for an asteroid landing since its initial announcement. It's been almost three years since President Barack Obama officially released plans to land on an asteroid by 2025. 

“Since it was announced, there was less enthusiasm for it among the community broadly,” said Carnesale. “The more we learn about it, the more we hear about it, people seem less enthusiastic about it.”
 
“There’s a great deal of enthusiasm, almost everywhere, for the Moon. I think there might be, if no one has to swallow their pride and swallow their words, and you can change the asteroid mission a little bit… it might be possible to move towards something that might be more of a consensus.”

However, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden disagrees. He said that NASA will gladly participate if another nation agrees to lead a human lunar landing, but NASA will not plan one of its own. 

“They all have dreams of putting human on the Moon,” said Bolden. “I have told every head of agency of every partner agency that if you assume the lead in a human lunar mission, NASA will be a part of that. NASA wants to be a participant.”
 
“NASA will not take the lead on a human lunar mission. NASA is not going to the Moon with a human as a primary project probably in my lifetime. And the reason is, we can only do so many things.”

Bolden believes NASA should stick to the plan of sending humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars by 2030. 

“We intend to do that, and we think it can be done," said Bolden. 

Source: Space Politics



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RE: International Moon Base?
By Exirtis on 4/12/2013 12:54:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The problem is the amount of delta V it takes to land on the moon then launch again means that you don't actually gain that much even if you refuel there.

If you're thinking in terms of rocketry you may be correct. But because of the reduced gravity of the lunar environment a space-elevator becomes a legitimate option, since it's within the reach of current materials technology to cope with it.

With a functioning space elevator in place, escape velocity becomes irrelevant; electric motors running at a leisurely pace can supply all the delta V that's needed to hoist materials & equipment up & down the anchored cable.

There's at least one company, called Liftport, that is already actively engaged in research and planning for a moon-based space elevator (video & link at comment's end). More companies are likely to follow as the private aerospace industry matures, but they definitely will as soon as anyone reaches certain demonstrable milestones.

Even without a space elevator, however, various kinetic launching systems (utilizing maglev rails, for example) become more compelling possibilities without the obstacles of the Earth's deeper gravity well and comparatively crowded surface to overcome.

A Lifport lunar elevator video: http://youtu.be/PdFDBV03kiA
The space elevator page on their website (with lunar section): http://www.liftport.com/Main/tech.htm


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