NASA says it will set up polar moon camp
Dec 4 2006
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NASA said it will establish an international base camp on one of the moon's poles, permanently staffing it by 2024, four years after astronauts land there.
It is a sweeping departure from the Apollo moon missions of the 1960s and represents a new phase of space exploration after space shuttles are retired in 2010.
In 2004, the year after the shuttle Columbia accident that killed seven astronauts, President Bush announced a plan to return astronauts to the moon by 2020, and a later mission to Mars. The 16-year-long venture to the moon will take twice as long as NASA's first trip there took in planning.
Last year, NASA said it would cost $104 billion just to get back to the moon for its first trip, but on Monday NASA officials declined to estimate the larger costs of a permanent lunar program.
The estimated time frame for NASA's lunar plans are:
-2009 — a first test of one of the lunar spaceships.
-2014 — the first manned test flight of the Orion crew exploration vehicle, but no moon landing.
-2020 — the first flight of the four-astronaut crew to the moon.
For four years, the lunar base won't be built up enough for long visits, so astronauts will only spend a week at a time. But after that, NASA envisions people living on the moon for six-month stints.
NASA's vision for the moon is more than just American astronauts — it includes space travelers from other countries and even commercial interests, if possible.
Having other countries sign onto the project would save NASA money, although the United States will design the moon vehicles, NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale said. And while NASA welcomed its current partners on the international space station — Russia, Europe and Japan — the agency was cagey about its most enigmatic space rival, China, which has made noises about going to the moon.
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin was dispatched to China earlier this year, but so far discussions with China are only about earth science and space junk, Dale said. She said including China in lunar plans is "not one of our charges."
"The 16-year-long venture to the moon will take twice as long as NASA's first trip there took in planning." - ???
The How and Why of Returning to the Moon
NASA планирует к 2024 году построить базу на Луне
Национальное аэрокосмическое агентство США (NASA) в понедельник объявило о планах строительства на поверхности Луны международной станции. Предполагается, что наземная база появится на одном из полюсов спутника Земли в 2024 году, через четыре года после того, как на Луну второй раз в истории высадятся астронавты.