POLL: Should NASA Send Astronauts Back to the Moon?

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Should NASA Send Astronauts Back to the Moon?

  • Absolutely! The 40 years since the first moon landing have been way too long.

    Votes: 85 85.0%
  • Perhaps, but only if the new science and technologies from the effort can help the rest of humanity

    Votes: 10 10.0%
  • Just say NO to the moon. We’ve been there before, and any attempt to return is a ridiculous waste of

    Votes: 5 5.0%

  • Total voters
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fable_x":3eiz19v0 said:
Okay, all conspiracy theories aside. Has anyone thought about the fact that "technological advance" has been at a virtual standstill? I mean since the aliens crash-landed in 1947 and gave us all that great technology, we haven't progressed much beyond the Moon. Don't get me wrong the Space Shuttle is an amazing piece of technology, but with the Orion project, aren't we taking a step backwards and just slightly re-designing the Apollo craft?
Hey, don't knock it, if it works why not use it? Besides, its not just a "slight" re-design, and to say that it is is misleading and just wrong.

fable_x":3eiz19v0 said:
I think it's embarrassing that we haven't gotten way past such an archaic spacecraft.
Rockets & capsules are proven technology, proven technology is A: Cheaper and B: Safer. You can go on all you want that we should have some more advance spacecraft by now, but the fact is there isn't a more practical spacecraft then capsules at the moment, nor a better solution to getting off the planet then rockets. Which is all we should be concerned with, not weather it looks like the future. If it does the job, who the hell cares?

fable_x":3eiz19v0 said:
We should be moving into the realm of at least nuclear powered spacecraft not to mention exotic anti-matter driven spaceships.
Nuclear spacecraft? Are you insane? There are very good reasons for not having nuclear spacecraft which launch regularly from earth. One is depending on if you mean the direct approach, the result is fallout. >.> Two, yes the resources aren't there and its terribly expensive. Three, anti-matter is expensive. How expensive? This will help "This means to produce 1 gram of antimatter, CERN would need to spend 100 quadrillion dollars and run the antimatter factory for 100 billion years." Anyway, you get the idea. Nuclear spacecraft, anti-mater spacecraft, both totally unpractical ideas (Though, I think anti-mater becomes more practical during long duration space flights but we certainly don't need it now). At least once you get beyond earth nuclear spacecraft are feasible, assuming we really can mine the moon.

fable_x":3eiz19v0 said:
I know what everyone is thinking (untold amount of resources needed, blah, blah, blah), but in relative terms, we have gone nowhere since 1969. The whole Moon landing might as well have been a hoax (daddy, if people really landed on the Moon why haven't we been able to go back). Now we're talking about 2020 to send people back? Okay, a lot of people say Obama's Administration is the continuation of the Kennedy Administration, but I see no inspiring speeches about space. No vision, no plan, no John.
Space exploration, especially manned space exploration takes more than a plan and more then a vision. It takes money, something we're quiet frankly willing to commit to at the moment. NASA is the most capable space agency on earth, and yet their budget is constantly under threat. Which means, you certainly aren't going to see any of that stuff from anyone else.


Yes, NASA should send astronauts back to the moon, but with purpose beyond pure scientific investigation. While I personally think knowledge of space environments is worthwhile in and of itself, I am more optimistic that the economic support needed to sustain human presence in space will only come if the effort served a more practical purpose - like protecting the earth's biosphere from human activities.

As a former molecular biologist and team manager on the Human Genome Project, I think the moon or distant space stations would be ideal for creating and containing recombinant DNA. Since the early 1970's, engineered genetic material has posed a risk to human health and the environment. More specifically, I am concerned that recombinant DNA could be transcribed and/or translated into viruses or viral material with little to no possibility of our realizing it. I have communicated this idea directly to hundreds of biologists, and none have argued that it is not possible. Some have responded that it is unlikely. The type of hazard, like a viral pandemic, is not knowable until it occurs; and then the extent of risk is only knowable if we can trace the origin to a lab-derived molecule. So what I am proposing is that all scientists manipulating nucleic acids, and thus all governments and institutions supporting such work, come together to build earth-to-moon infrastructure to protect all constituents of earth's biosphere from a risk that may not be real but is plausible.

Biotechnology provides solutions to problems where alternatives do not exist or have failed. Space infrastructure could also support other hazardous but beneficial technologies like certain chemical processes and high-energy research [like anti-matter production].

There are a myriad of economic, political and scientific implications, but I think people should seriously consider the idea and not dismiss it as hopelessly fantastic and idealistic. Economically, there would be many jobs globally requiring advanced education and also many opportunities to contribute in manufacturing. Scientifically, research goals would have to be scrutinized by more critical reviewers and many lab processes would be standardized and centralized. Politically, everyone on the planet would be united in an effort to protect life while endeavouring to alleviate suffering that life imparts.


My thoughts on finding Uranium on the moon...

OK so we found Uranium on the moon. Now what.

How much is it going to cost us to set up a Uranium Processing Facility on the lunar surface. The cost alone of ferrying the necessary materials to the moon is going to be ( pardon the pun ) astronomical. Then you would need to construct that facility.

How long and how much would it cost to do that?

I would bet that it would be cheaper to process the Uranium here on Earth, then ship that material back to the moon to use as fuel for space ships.


The moon is a waste of time. How about we grow a pair and go to Mars?


fable_x":34b9whyr said:
I mean since the aliens crash-landed in 1947 and gave us all that great technology.
Assuming that it did happen (which I don't believe), what makes you think we could understand or exploit it easily?
Suppose you went back to 1939 with a camera phone. Easy enough to show what it did, and scientists of that year would be able to understand the theory of solid state electronics (if you could explain it. Could they use that knowledge to build one in much less than 70 years? No. They didn't have the tools to build the tools needed.
Alien technology a few hundred years ahead of us would be an even bigger mystery.


Return men to the Moon? Absolutely!

But only for the purpose of proving technologies and gaining skills that will allow us to travel further to more hospitable destinations (i.e.: Mars). The notion that we will be able to mine the Moon for resources - especially to then send them back to Earth - is absurd. Refining the materials - in usable quantities - into a useful form on the Moon itself is equally ridiculous. The ability to lift the kind of machinery required to do such work on a practical level is just not in the cards. All one has to do is compare the kind of mining equipment required here on Earth to the flimsy 'save weight at all costs' tools we send into space now. How exactly do you plan on getting it all there? And, yes, I know... The Moons gravity is only 1/6 that of the Earth. But you will still need heavy, strong, durable tools and equipment to mine the resources everyone thinks makes colonizing the Moon so appealing. And once you get them, how are you going to get them back to Earth? Most importantly, can it be done at a profit? Because if it can't, it ain't gonna happen!

And what about colonizing the Moon just for the sake of colonizing the Moon? We should have learned the absurdity of that notion by now with the ISS. Think that albatross is a waste of money? Try doing the same thing on the Moon!

Now don't get me wrong... I love the notion of human space flight, and have followed it with great enthusiasm since I was a wee lad. But the Moon is a dead end. There is nothing we can do there that we can't do better and cheaper on Earth or in LEO. The Moon is however perfectly suited as a training ground for future voyages to the stars. The Moon is the perfect place to practice and perfect the skills we will need when we head on to Mars. Better to get the bugs worked out of those issues in our backyard before we send a crew off on a multi-year mission to another planet.

So by all means... Let's get back to the Moon as quickly as we can and turn our eyes to the stars! Let's just not kid ourselves that the Moon itself is ever going to be mankind's future or salvation.


I voted NO

I think that NASA should focus way more effort/funds on human spaceflight and exploration. I just don't think we should go back to the moon. what we should be doing is sending humans to MARS. It is a much better option. I think most people, wether they think we should go back to the moon, mars, or somewhere else, would agree that the next time we send people to another planet/moon we should do it to make a permanent presence rather than just a publicity stunt with no purpous. And Mars has so much more to offer than the moon, especially if we are going to make a permanet presence. Heres what Mars has that the moon doesn't: more gravity, less solar radiation, an atmosphere (yes VERY little, but more than none), similar days/months/years as earth, water (waterice, but confirmed...unlike the moon), rocket fuel (made from atmoshphere)......oh yeah....and the ability to be terraformed. Several scientists say terraforming is possible, sooner than later, without any radically new technology, which i agree...wether or not you agree is a whole differnt debate....but the point is at some point it CAN be done, again...unlike the moon.

It seems the top 2 reasons I hear Some people say we should go to the moon is because its closer/safer/easier and because it has substances that can be minded. Well let me say this....just choosing the closer/safer/easier option....not to mention a redo of something we've already done......doesn't help us. the more we push ourselves, the more we will learn and accomplish. Also, no astronaut from NASA or anywhere else in the world, goes into space thinking its as safe as a plane ride. Any astronaut knows the risks before signing on, and would give anything to be the one to go.

As far as mining substances from the moon. Don't forget it will probably take 50 years minimum just to get a mining operation up and running. Also, there is nothing on the moon to mine, that we don't have enough of on earth. Unless, we completly run out of a substance that is found on the moon, then this is just a huge waste of effort/funds.


Not only should NASA return astronauts to the moon, there should also be a removal of any restrictions not allowing non-governmental access to the moon. Let the competition go forward. All forms of transportation and exploration flourished without government control and so will space and moon transportation and exploration.

Exploration is a dangerous business and danger makes Heroes of the common man.

Katibu Maduka


One could argue that the moon is useful for a base or a plateform for a large telescope. This is a complex question.
Bush also directed the country over the last eight years...look where we ended up. If discovery is the challenge then
Mars is the destination. One could argue had we invested our resources in space exploration instead of the war in Iraq
we possible could be already at either one of these potential destination, now. Bush got us into Iraq as well. The
egg heads don't want an Apollo style Mars mission. That places that type of discovery mission to Mars, well into the future for humans. They wanted their 15 billion dollar (joke) space station to nowhere and they got it. Then they turned supplying it over to the Russians. They got their multi-billion dollar Messinger Mission to Mercury...it's a rock.
I could go on and on. Who's making these choices? Our leaders make these choices for us and then they don't adequately fund them. President Kennedy was the last president to challange Americans to go to the Moon and then
fund it. America lack vision. We are to politically inmature to venture into space at this time. I'm obviously in the minority, but I still vote for Mars. If discovery is the human challange let's forget about the moon until it serves a purpose. Let's go discover something interesting. Lindbergh would have set his sights on the next big human discovery and adventure.


Not now, because there are real obstacles to funding such a mission. Until we solve these, we can't go anywhere.

1. The Apollo 11 mission was funded by a spirit of patriotism. The budget required to plan and implement these missions was beyond reason, and it was approved solely because of the Cold War. We *can't* go back to those days. 2. Most of the American public doesn't care about human space-flight. Really. People watch ESPN more than NASA TV. Few care about shuttle launches, and they tolerate the space station.

Until we can prove to the world that sending astronauts anywhere outside LEO is beneficial... even profitable, then I think we shouldn't even be talking about sending anyone to the moon or Mars. For now taxpayers fund all these missions, and they're the ones we have to convince. I wish private space exploration was greater than it currently is, but even the private sector sees that space-flight isn't currently profitable.

I'm not trying to be a naysayer. I hope Virgin Galactic works out, and I hope the private sector sees a surge is growth and profitability. But curiosity and a spirit of adventure doesn't foot the bill. We shouldn't be spending money on this right now.


Can't participate in this poll with its lame choices. Isn't it possible that one could be opposed to focusing on a lunar return for some reason other than whining about wasting resources that could be better spent on earth or insisting on some return that would directly benefit the masses as a condition for going?


Yes we should go back! They've found a way to extract oxygen from the regalith. spelling? Any how it would be an added benefit to make a pit stop at the Moon to supply with more oxygen on the way to Mars. Pitstop how? There would be an Oxygen Docking Unit in orbit for an on going ship to Mars instead of having to land. Kind of like when the KC139-s do for our jets here for jet fuel. I know the KC-139 doesn't orbit but you get the picture. :D


We are not going back simply for more Moon dirt or just because we can. There are serious scientific inquiries that will have a better chance at being answered with a return to the Moon. Potential key projects include: "gravitational physics via lunar laser ranging, radio heliophysics from the Moon, and low-frequency cosmology and astrophysics from the Moon". You can read more about it here: http://solo.colorado.edu/~hallman/lunar ... LUNAR.html


We should definitely go back, but we should be testing some new tech also, and not just sending them back in a bigger capsule with proven technology. Specifically, we should be testing tech that would be needed for future mars missions: extracting oxygen from rocks (or whatever), new power generation technologies, communications, whatever. While I agree that national pride is a big part of this, it's an expensive way to pump up our own ego, and I still don't think we're as serious about this as China is right now.


We should already be there. The moon should be our training ground. If we can't make a 'go' of the
moon, what chance do we have of a success on Mars or someplace further out....further isolated from
Earth. As for the "NO" answer. It is a bit silly. Should we all avoid any places we've been which did not
make us wealthy at that time? Fred in Savannah Ga


Absolutely not! We have done this stunt already. There are two issues that should push space travel: risk and reward. We are at risk from asteroids and comets, but both may also host reserves of water and metals that we may be able to use to expand our economy. That is where every penny should go. No more stunts!!!
-- Bill


Going back to the Moon seems like a waste to some, but we can actually gain in technologies that are needed for future long duration manned space flights and learn what we need to learn in what Astronauts will need to know when they are on the surface of Mars for a year or longer.
The main problems that have plagued the Space Program ARE NOT the ones that have been flouted so contemptuously by supporters and detractors of NASA, but have actually been the following:

*Lack of Leadership in the Federal Gov't. and irresponsible fiscal mismanagament thatj eopardizes spacecraft and crew.
*Petty bickering over pet space science projects and hypocritical arguments and opinions regarding manned vs. unmanned space exploration.
*Lack of cooperation and cohesion between gov't., industry, business and science in formulating a long term U.S. Space Policy.
* The apathetic American Public which continues to regard manned space exploration as the province of juvenile science fiction/fantasy garbage ala "Star Trek" and "Star Wars."

We KNOW that WE CAN DO IT!!!!! Let's stop wasting time, money and resources and GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Okay, do we want a practicle reason to put a colony on the Moon?

Yes it will be expensive, many see it as retro (personally, I see replacing the 7-person shuttle with a 3-person capsule retro - there is a REASON all ISS construction came to a stop while our fleet was grounded).


Where is it better to learn how to build an automomous colony?
- on Luna, where we can get there relatively quickly in an emergency (or at least give them the equipment to get to Alpha),

or Mars where we can say "Next time, we will know that the concrete must be fully cured before we start adding oxygen and people (Please review data learned in Biosphere II)


Forty years ago - and the longest single stay on the moon was for three days. We as a civilization and as a technology are NO WHERE NEAR ready to make the jump out to Mars, as much as I would LOVE to see that day. The moon is still the place to aim for. Let's be sure we can handle the challenges the moon has to offer, front AND back sides, before we make the more distant and dangerous decision to head off to Mars. That trip will occur, after a well thought out and step by step mission program such as Apollo was is developed. The development of the Mars mission plan will rest on the foundation of what we learn by setting up the moon bases first.


NO! The money would be better spent exploring the oceans.



Why should the US spend trillions of dollars on a human lunar mission?

Because they're the only ones who can, and who have a similar ideological outlook to most of western civilization.

I'm not saying that its the best organization, nor that US has the best approach toward being able to coexist. But it is the closest to what I grew up with.

Having said that, I think the importance lies in maintaining hope for our future survival, maintaining a new frontier, we only need to remember the Roman civilization to understand what is possible in the near future.

When I remember the hope that was generated by the Apollo mission in 1969 (at 5 yrs old) I still feel frustrated with the lack of opportunities I have; to be able to join the select group of astronauts who have actually managed to venture beyond.

I also agree with the comments about having a near shore outpost and the comments about diminishing costs through frequent flights.

And on a different note, I'm quite sure China is happy about NASA taking a low key approach, you only need to review their actions on buying up mining concessions and companies in Australia to be able to see their real intentions in Space development. As in politics, or we get involved or we accept the decisions made for us.


Certainly not. Going back to the Moon is a waste of time; we must now go to Mars. This is today's challenge. The Moon is yesterday's. The moon is dead, dry, sterile. There is no atmosphere, no water, gravity is very low, its day are 14 times longer than ours which make them very difficult for our human use.
We can say almost the contrary about Mars: The 4th planet surface was impregnated with water during hundred of millions of years; it still has an atmosphere which can give some protection against radiations and which can be cracked down into oxygen and, adding up some hydrogen, could give us methane (i.e. propellant); it has water ice on its surface (polar caps) and within the soil; its gravity its twice the gravity of the moon; its days are about the same length as those of Earth and we could use its day and night cycles to grow almost anything within greenhouses.
Mars is very far indeed but still within reach, especially if we developp ISRU to produce the oxygen needed to breath and the methane needed to move on the surface and go back to Earth. Since the braking effect of the Earth atmosphere cease after we are out of it and since we can use aerobraking when we approach Mars, we do not need more energy to go to Mars directly from Earth, than we need to go to the Moon. If we go to the Moon to afterwards go to Mars, we would have to extract ourselves twice from a non negligible gravity well (and with which energy since there is no ISPP possible on the moon?).
On top of that, there is much more science to do on Mars than on Earth on account of a much richer geological history. There should be no wavering: let's go to Mars, forget the Moon.


Anyone that thinks a "robot" can do what a human can do is stuck in a science-fiction world or they give way too much credit to brainless mechanical devices. Quite absurd.

For you folks that think we should stick to robots... what are you afraid of? Discovery? A new frontier? Adventure? And if your sole reasoning for using robots is that it "costs too much" then you're in the wrong business - you're a bean counter at heart with little want or need of a frontier and you need to go work for an accounting firm somewhere. How sad life must be for you.

And if you fear for human safety... then why did you endanger your life by driving to work today? That's one of the most dangerous things on Earth.


I just think everyone should realize one thing: Going back to the Moon does not speed up any manned mission to Mars in any way.
The Mars spaceship will not be built on the Moon, it will not be fuelled with Moon-produced fuel, it will not be crewed by people from the Moon base. It will be at least 100 years, trillions of dollars, and thousands of sorties from Earth before the Moon has capacity to go from ore to finished spaceship - if it EVER gets that ability, a lot of raw materials, especially oil, is simply missing.
In fact, the Moon mission will delay any missions to Mars or Europa because there simply aren't resources for more than one such mega-mission at a time.

Returning to the Moon is something we do for its own sake. It isn't done for science, it isn't done for exploation, it isn't done to expedite exploration of Mars. It'll be done so we can say there's a base on the moon, exactly like we today can say there's a space station in orbit around Earth. It is what it is, nothing more nothing less.

And no, I for one do not think it is worth it. I think we should aim higher and go straight for Mars, Titan, or Europa.


They should send them, only to stay, no more visits..reality show on the moon would sale like hot cakes.. :mrgreen:
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