Back to the Moon

NASA Reveals Goal for Eventual Manned Lunar Outpost

The Obama administration has laid out its most detailed ambitions yet for a return of U.S. astronauts to the moon, including the prospects of a lunar outpost where explorers could live for months at a time.

Lori Garver, the No. 2 NASA official, on Tuesday gave a speech in which she emphasized the importance of exploring the moon and its environs. She also disclosed that an unspecified mission to the moon is tentatively scheduled as early as 2017.

“Let me say that again,” she told an industry conference in Pasadena, Calif. “We are going back to the moon,” while pursuing more-ambitious goals to blast manned spacecraft deeper into the solar system.

The comments come after NASA sent Congress a report on “sustainable human exploration” of the moon and beyond that includes a section focusing on the scientific benefits of establishing a long-term human presence on the lunar surface. The last manned moon mission took place in December 1972.

Part of the report, which Ms. Garver’s speech described as a comprehensive overview of exploration destinations, spelled out long-duration visits to the moon by astronauts who would live in “a nearly self-sustaining surface habitat,” or outpost, capable of extracting oxygen, water, silicon and other materials on site.

Very exciting and unexpected!

via the Wall Street Journal