I was just wondering what everyone thought about this. Do you think it will either be a great achievement for science or a colossal blunder aimed at upstaging the Chinese? Or, as I’m sure someone would eventually suggest, another George W. Bush campaign ad at taxpayer expense?
Does anyone with more knowledge on space travel know just what sort of scientific advancements a second moon race would foster? And just what would replace the space shuttles?
And now for a funny thing from the quoted Cnn.com article:
Yeah, except we already beat them 31 years ago…and isn’t everyplace on the moon about the same? What designates one crater “sweeter” than another? And what sort of developments are we expecting? Condos? Shopping malls? A monument to Ronald Reagan?
We shouldn’t be undertaking any space travel that doesn’t have a clearly articulable scientific purpose. It’s risky and expensive; if it’s done in the service of science, then it can be supported, but if it’s just a stunt, there’s no reason to pursue it.
This is the problem with the International Space Station: it has no identifiable mission. There isn’t anything about having humans in near earth orbit that we don’t already know about. No one has been able to demonstrate that there’s any useful research that can be carried out only on the ISS, and by putting human lives at risk.
Is there anything we don’t know about the Moon, anything that can’t be determined using unmanned craft?
Now, if someone can lay out some plans that demonstrate that the Moon would be a good launch platform for unmanned interplanetary probes, or that it would be possible to construct a large telescope on the Moon, I might support the idea (assuming that other, cheaper, less risky methods were unsuitable).
It’s tough for me to say this, but I have many doubts about this. Especially when one of the first things I hear is a politician saying we need to beat (yet another) country to the moon.
This is painful because I’m very nostalgic about the Apollo program. There’s a big part of me that would like nothing better than to see people on the moon again.
But I agree that there has to be a clear scientific purpose. And it seems like most things I’ve read over the last few years suggest that going to the moon is not the logical jumping off point for getting to Mars (if that became the goal).
On the other hand, there were some mistakes made during Apollo, and we could do it right this time. Apollo was stopped just as it was getting interesting and beginning to gather good data. And it was done using throwaway components, which was shortsighted. This was because it was largely a political stunt with science thrown in (quite effectively, surprisingly) as an afterthought. It needed to be done quickly, “before the decade was out”, so they did it by the fastest rather than the best method.
I need more information. While I would dearly love to see us visit the old Apollo landing sites again, I’m skeptical. Please, please, let’s not do this in a dumb-ass manner, and for God’s sake not just to beat the Chinese there!
I think that there should be united exploration of the moon. Call me an optimistic idealist, but I think that NASA should be working with other space agencies on getting back to the moon, and finding ways that we can do this for the betterment of civilization, not just to say “We landed on the moon!”
Sorry about not seeing the already-thriving thread on this subject. We should probably just let this one die.
Declan, I don’t know why I didn’t think that about the senator’s remarks. That does make sense, although I don’t remember reading anything about China intending to set up a permanent moon installation.
I think even a politically-motivated moon exploration program would have great scientific benefits. It would be a heavily-funded mad dash towards the moon that would require great leaps and bounds for things such as space vehicles, permanent lunar and planetary stations, engineering, computers, etc. Yeah, all of the scientific advancements would be secondary to beating the Commies (again), but they would still be great achievements.
I think. If it is a space race, though, they might also keep every new space travel tool a secret so other nations don’t learn about them.
We should have had robots, controllable from Earth exploring and building bases or factories on the moon for years now. Putting people up there is too much trouble because they need air and food. Robots just need power which could be provided via solar energy.
Once a base is built then possibly send people. We need to explore to find whats up there to see what is usable.
I guess we have to wait until the 17th , to actually see what the president says on the matter , however as I stated in the other thread , its more probable that its going to be a semi permanent settlement of probably no more than a few weeks in duration, at least in the begining.
Frankly I am not worried in the least about china now ,getting a settlement on the moon , its big ,there is room for lots of people.
But what may be the motivating factor could probably be found in the novel sci/fi novel footfall, and among other things in the novel it describes how the hardest part is to regain the highground in space once its been lost.
But if an old coldwar scare tactic gets boots on the moon , then the end will have justified the means in this case.