Lunar Surface Operations
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Scientific Data and Site Selection

We're not terribly concerned about trying to spot our initial base right on top of the mother lode of water or minerals. The amount of the lunar surface which has been explored is almost trivial; a polar site is no guarantee of resources (or any site for that matter). The first outpost will have to an exploration camp, from which we can venture out to search for the resources and scientific data we're looking for. We'll have a full plate on the first landing without investing all our crew's time in searching for water in the shadowed craters. We might be better off in the long run to maintain some interest by saving such mysteries for later visits to the moon.

Apollo failed in this regard. Since the motivation for Apollo was purely political -- to the point that any scientific objectives were seriously begrudged by the program managers and the astronauts -- they were unable to explain why one mission was different from another. We can fix that. For example, once we have our base operating, we can land a pressurized rover to use for excursions to the south pole, or to likely candidates for lava tubes or dust fields rich in volatiles.

We have come up with several ways to relocate the lunar base later, if it's necessary. We're not yet convinced it will be. The purpose of the first base is to bootstrap the wonders to come.

Lunar Surface Operations

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