Why is it so hard to send humans back to the moon?

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There are several U.S. companies that are likely to provide redundancy for SpaceX capabilities, particularly Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance. I doubt that SLS can keep up, and don't think NASA even wants to keep up - that is why NASA is trying to get commercial companies to make the next space stations(s?) and provide launch services, lunar landing services, etc.

And, it looks like China is intending to provide complete redundancy, so far as the whole of humanity is concerned.

So, I am not worried that NASA is going to prevent space exploration or colonization. I am a little concerned that the FAA or the U.S. courts could slow down the U.S. efforts. China doesn't have that problem.
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Apr 18, 2020
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The only thing I've come across is a claim by geologists that only the human eye, on site, walking around looking at rocks can determine what to pick up. You can't just take a rock, it has to be the right one. This can be addressed easily with cameras, rovers, helicopters, etc, all run by AI and Earthbound scientists. We don't even use humans in warfare anymore. It's all drones from here on out.
FWIW, I was thinking more of human eyes looking through robotic lenses, rather than AI trying to decide what to pick up.
Thanks Motie - I think the machines do it better too. Go much further, places no human can go, carrying instruments as good as any astronaut could carry and operate. A human can only do it at all when encased in machines, which will have to be of far greater sophistication, capability and reliability than any rover ever built. A Mars or Lunar ATV capable of keeping crew alive for extended periods is no simple rover - and the payload it represents no small cost.

Vehicles are a minimum for astronauts to explore anywhere. Or do people really think walking around in spacesuits, maybe with a geologists rock pick is how to do it? And it is not like the moon or Mars are myterious lands we can't see, with no idea what is there - they've been mapped already, at least at coarse resolution, with a lot of information from it about what it is made of. Better ground sensing satellites in orbit with higher resolution will deliver more information with less payload and cost than any crewed missions and will inform remote operated sample collection and analysis that can go much further and longer than any astronaut.

I'm not even convinced any crews going to moon or Mars would actually be doing exploration per se - that will already have been done. Or better have been, as preliminary to any crewed missions or permanent bases.
May 4, 2024
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The Apollo program put humans on the moon in 1969. So why haven't we sent any more since?

Why is it so hard to send humans back to the moon? : Read more
Good morning,

I'm looking for a launch schedule for SpaceX Starship SN8 from Boca Chica Beach, TX. I have a 90 year old fil that lives in Harlingen, TX...just miles from SpaceX.

He would like to see a launch of Starship SN8. I took him to the 2nd launch but it was scrubbed. We missed the 3rd launch that exploded shortly after launch. I would really like to get him to an SN8, SN9 or SN10 launch.
Hi Motie,
Thanks for the link
That is the level of analysis that helps us keep technical roadmap realistic.
Having worked on Apollo 8-17, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Station, and especially in the evaporation and sublimation rates of Cryogens in space, there is not going to be great losses of cryogens unless there is too much Earthshine (reflected solar and thermal Load from Earth solid angle) on LV storage.
There are two moving windows, one due to Artemis schedules and Orion and related missions and the other right now due to Starship Schedule.
Having seen progress of a much more focused Saturn Development and from observing one of my mentors namely Dr. Von Braun, I can draw some conjectures and tend to believe that SpaceX will have some but still manageable challenges. A few more tests and they will improve and make the Starship more reliable.

So if 50 Tons can be their current projections, one need not land humans at South pole will all base infrastructure but slowly build one as payloads and refurbishing of fuel in orbit permits.

Let us hope that one does not have a repeat of shuttle forced early retirement decisions and certainly not for Starship, and thus we may not depend on China as a back-up.

If they form an Artemis type alliance we still need track of actual verification, but it appears that peaceful cooperation is not their agenda now.

Free world needs more stability and our cost escalation habits are to change.

Best wishes to Starship program as well as Artemis.
(Dr. Ravi Sharma, Ph.D. USA)
NASA Apollo Achievement Award
ISRO Distinguished Service Awards
Former MTS NASA HQ MSEB Apollo
Former Scientific Secretary ISRO HQ
Ontolog Board of Trustees
Particle and Space Physics
Senior Enterprise Architect
SAE Fuel Cell Tech Committee voting member for 20 years.
AI robotics will never be cheaper than humans expanding in frontier. Money / Wealth is a token of energy and expanding AI robotics without accompanying expansion of life in life-robotic partnerships in space is the road to extinction of both! AI and robotics have done nothing to reduce an accelerating closed world's "world debt" of frontier, energies, and wealth (including money)! And it will do nothing (will do just the opposite) without a symbiotic partnership in an accelerating expansion of breakout and due birth from an "Iron Curtain" closed systemic womb of Earth.

Of course, those people who continue to fanatically advocate cheaper than human AI robotics in space (frontier without humans) will continue to be bewildered by accelerating inflations and stupidities of costs of things on Earth, including AI and robotics on Earth and in space, with no return in accelerating energies, vitalities, wealth, and a dynamic (therein unifying) civilization.
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