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Wake-Up NASA! We Can Go Back To The Moon On The Cheap

Wake-Up NASA! We Can Go Back To The Moon On The Cheap

by Giulio PriscoJuly 21, 2015

On the anniversary of the first manned lunar landing in 1969, the National Space Society (NSS) and Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) announced their support for NASA’s funding of the recently released NexGen Space study, illustrating how to cut the cost of human space exploration by a factor of 10.

The study, titled “Economic Assessment and Systems Analysis of an Evolvable Lunar Architecture that Leverages Commercial Space Capabilities and Public-Private-Partnerships,” is freely available online. According tot he study’s results, public-private partnerships could return humans to the Moon for 90 percent less than the previously estimated $100 billion.

A Manned Lunar Outpost In 2021

Construction on the MoonIn a public-private partnership, the private industry partners share costs and risks (as opposed to milking a public funding agency for more and more free money), and therefore they are motivated to keep space programs on budget and on time.

The Verge notes that NASA is using public-private partnerships with companies like SpaceX, Orbital ATK, or the United Launch Alliance, for resupplying the International Space Station, and will eventually rely on public-private partnerships for crew transport as well.

Other space agencies such as the European Space Agency (ESA) make extensive use of public-private partnerships. Recently the newly appointed ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Woerner stated that ESA plans to return to the Moon and build a permanent outpost there, which shows how the Moon is becoming fashionable again.

“The Space Frontier Foundation supports and recommends public-private partnerships in all proposed human spaceflight programs in order to reduce costs and enable these missions that were previously unaffordable,” said the Space Frontier Foundation’s Chairman of the Board, Jeff Feige.

This is the way that America will settle the final frontier, save taxpayers money and usher in a new era of economic growth and STEM innovation.

“The NSS congratulates NASA for funding the team at NexGen that discovered how such cost reductions are possible,” said NSS Executive Committee Chair, Mark Hopkins.

A factor of ten reduction in cost changes everything.

NexGen assembled a team of former NASA executives and engineers who assessed the economic and technical viability of an “Evolvable Lunar Architecture” (ELA) that leverages commercial capabilities and services that are existing or likely to emerge in the near-term.

The study shows that, with public-private partnerships, NASA could land humans on the Moon in the next five to seven years, build a permanent base 10 to 12 years after that, and do it all within the existing budget for human spaceflight. Once a permanent lunar outpost is established, the astronauts could mine the Moon’s polar ice for hydrogen, which could fuel missions to Mars.

If NASA were to adopt the plan, a robotic return to the Moon could happen as soon as 2017 and a first manned mission to a lunar outpost, previously built by robots, in 2021. The study also proposes the formation of an International Lunar Authority, modeled after international organizations like CERN, to oversee developments on the Moon.

Charles Miller, NexGen president and the study’s principal investigator, hopes that the study will inspire future political decisions. “If the next president is just satisfied with what we’re doing in deep space and human spaceflight, then there’s no need for this,” he said.

Images from NASA and Wikimedia Commons.

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  • Robert Genito

    lol ya… moon landing… suuurreeee… there’s a good reason why it’s not happening….

  • Rabinovitch

    We should remember the words of John F. Kennedy every time we speak about Moon, Mars and so on:

    “…Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.” – January 20th, 1961, the inaugural address.

    “…Surely we should explore whether the scientists and astronauts of our two countries–indeed of all the world – cannot work together in the conquest of space, sending someday in this decade to the moon not the representatives of a single nation, but the representatives of all of our countries.” – September 20th 1963, Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations.

    Together we can do anything we can imagine (and even more). ‘Cause we all are the Mankind.

    • Giulio Prisco

      One could say that the vision was lost after Kennedy was killed. Others could say that space would have been abandoned anyway after Apollo served its purpose in the cold war. We all know that the budgets of many space programs are artificially inflated for, um, questionable reasons, and that isn’t sustainable. I am happy to see that faster and cheaper manned space missions to the Moon are at least possible, and discussed.

      • btcusury

        Another idea is that there was/is a parallel space program, the secret space program, operating within a dark budget (analogous to black/dark markets), which not only got to the moon but also to Mars, and may even have developed electrogravitational propulsion systems among many other technologies that are close to the idea of free energy… Check out for yourself what these many interesting researchers are saying:

  • Willieaames

    we never land on moon, its just some hollywood sci fi shit.

  • btcusury

    There are many, many reasons why there has been no serious exploration of the Moon (and Mars) since Apollo… most of us are just not paying attention to the information that is actually available… Want to be shocked, Giulio? Check *this* out: (I recommend Richard Dolan’s presentation first).

    • Giulio Prisco

      I think there are sensible explanations that don’t require conspiracy theories. However, the issue is how to go back to space and build an interplanetary civilization.

      • btcusury

        I’m surprised you’re using the term “conspiracy theories”… as if you are watching the MSM and accepting their “official” (“non-CT”) narrative as true by default. You seem quite sophisticated in your articles, so I’ll just reiterate this idea: most of us are simply not paying attention to all the sources of information that we would have to in order to figure out the larger picture of what’s actually going on. There are lots of secret agendas, whose principal tool is the knee-jerk dismissal of the idea of their existence with that particular term you used. The secret space program, operating within the idea of the dark budget, is just one of these major hidden agendas.