NASA wants a permanent Moonbase -- good idea?

NASA is planning to build a Moonbase at one of the Moon’s poles (located there for uninterrupted sunlight for solar power). It will be permanently staffed by 2024.

Expensive, pointless boondoggle, or stepping-stone to the Solar System? Whaddaya think?

Eh. I’m as much of a space cadet as anyone… but the last thing this country needs right now is another hugely expensive government project. What would be the practical purpose? Would it be able to at least gather some data or perform some sort of useful research, outside of “how can we set up a moon base”?

The article you link only mentions this as a mission:

“It also enables global partnerships, allows for maturation of in situ resource utilization, and results in a path that is much quicker in terms of future exploration,” Dale said at a press conference.


I’m just not seeing what purpose this would accomplish. Sure, it could lead to more manned exploration, but what could that practically accomplish in the long run that unmanned probes couldn’t, for far cheaper and less risk?

The only practical reason for such a mission that I could think of would be to help set up and maintain a moon based observatory, and even then I’d question its utility/cost as compared to some kind of orbital or deep space observatory.

I’m for it. Get us off this one rock and spread us out around where we don’t have all our eggs in one basket. This is a start.

A plus, Maybe this will inspire them to bring back Major Matt Mason!

Here’s another report, from the Guardian.

The Moon Society has been running its own simulations for a Moonbase.

Definitely worth it. Will give us a lot of practical knowledge of building such a thing on another world, and there is still a lot of good science that could be done from such a location. To put it another way, why have scientific bases on antartica? They are expensive and whats really there but snow and ice? :stuck_out_tongue:


Why is that not acceptable? Setting up a moon base is a huge undertaking that I would love to see accomplished. Once we can get that done, we can do a whole lot more. Solving new problems of manned space missions is something NASA hasn’t had much practice doing in about thirty years or so. Also, I’d like to see space eventually explored by private individuals and corporations, and the government doing something of this magnitude is going to be a lot of inspiration to the potential space cowboys out there. As long as we can afford to throw hundreds of billions of dollars away in Iraq, I say we can afford the paltry sums it will take to put men (and hopefully women) on the moon permanently.

Cost, IMO. What would that accomplish, besides “getting a man to [insert body here]”? I do think that’s a worthy goal, just… less worthy from a cost/benefit perspective as compared to unmanned probes and observatories of various sorts.

I’d like to see this too, but I think it’ll be much more realistic in the long run. For now, I think we should concentrate on researching and developing cheaper ways of reaching space, and continuing the sorts of programs that give solid scientific results.

Yeah, see, we can’t really afford Iraq either. If the government had the tens of billions to spare, then sure, go ahead. But… it really doesn’t.

I totally understand that we are unlikely to see any real cost/benefit realisation within our lifetime or possibly for many generations to come. And i can sympathise with those who question whether it’s appropriate when there are much better things the money could be spent on, health care, global poverty etc.

I’m all for it though despite the fact that the justification is pretty much speculative. If we wait for a real cost/benefit case to come up for space exploration we simply wouldn’t be doing anything at all. I’m no expert but i doubt much/any of the non-commercial stuff (i.e. pretty much anything except launching satellites/tourists) would pass a proper business case analysis just now. That doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.

We will never ever know what we can achieve in space and therefore understand the benefits if we don’t press ahead with missions just now despite there being no financial gain.

And so much easier as it must be for a foriegner to say, i’m afraid being the richest nation in the world mean that the US is pretty much got to be the one taking the lead on this. So i say, Go USA, Go NASA!

It’s not acceptable to me because of the opportunity cost. i.e. What else could we do with those billions of dollars?

Say it cost $10 Billion. Should we spend that on building a moon base or cancer research?

But say instead of spending 300 billion over 4 years to wage war we[sup]*[/sup] spend 40 billion on space and 260 on cancer research?

we used in the most general sense :slight_smile:

Sounds good to me.

Who’s gonna start this Technocrat party? Anyone? Anyone?

It would be better to be international. The gravity is 1/6 th earths ,so leaving on missions from the moon base would be much easier and cheaper if they find enough materiel there.

I’m afraid it might work out just the other way – i.e., because we’re throwing away hundreds of billions in Iraq, we won’t be able to afford a Moonbase. :frowning:

What, this one?

Not only I am intrigued by your ideas, but there’s even a newsletter that I can subscribe to!

We’ll never get to a point where it will be cost effective if we look at it that way. Suppose we cured cancer. Then it would be AIDS, then heart disease, then MS, etc.

Experiments in space have gotten us all kinds of cool gadgets and inventions that we never would’ve discovered otherwise. Besides, isn’t one of the points of science to explore for the sake of exploration?


See Robert Heinlein’s testimony before the House Committee on Aging and House Committee on Science and Technology, August 19, 1979, published in Expanded Universe, 1980, as “Spinoff.”


In fact, I’m in favor of doing away with government funded manned space missions alltogether.

From a scientific perspective, unmanned missions have been far more successful. They’re also a helluva lot cheaper. We’ll probably need to keep a couple of shuttles in the garage to send somebody up to do the occasional oil change on a satellite, or something, but I don’t see any justification for sending humans up on a regular basis other than ego.

Yes, it would be terrible if we cured cancer, AIDS, heart disease and MS. God, what a waste of money that would be. I’d much rather have cool gadgets.