Alternate Lunar Development Plans
Section 5.6.
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The Moon and the Future of NASA

This summary is based on discussion and viewgraphs from Paul Spudis, of the Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, in the summer of 2001. The plan was apparently under more detailed development by a group at Johnson Space Center at this time.

The first part of the presentation, reprised at the end, is on the motivation: a return to the Moon as a revitalization of NASA, giving it a mission for the public to be excited about, without huge new expenses. This in the context of Shuttle/ISS missions losing their luster, and the small political constituency for purely robotic space missions. The Moon's advantages are being by far the closest space destination with significant resources to exploit, its great scientific potential, and the advantage of having a place to learn to live and work in space. And it would provide great new infrastructure for the US, and enhance our national security...

The essential pieces of the plan are:

Why the south pole? There's the likely presence of water ice, the mountain peaks with little or no night, the near-constant temperature in sunlit areas, the astronomically interesting continuous access to the southern celestial hemisphere, and the geophysically interesting presence of the largest known impact basin (2600 km) in the solar system.

What would the crew do? The first mission would establish a "man-tended" lunar facility with initial astronomical and geological equipment; each mission subsequently would build up the infrastructure. The ultimate aim is a permanent human presence, with exploitation of local resources.

How could this be done for little or no additional cost? The architecture is as follows:

Doing this would motivate, excite, and energize us all!

summary prepared by Arthur Smith, November 23, 2001

Alternate Lunar Development Plans

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