NASA’s New Moon Plans: ‘Apollo on Steroids’
Despite a stalled space shuttle program, NASA is confident it can launch and sustain human exploration of the Moon by 2018, the space agency’s top official said Monday.
The $104-billion plan calls for an Apollo-like vehicle to carry crews of up to four astronauts to the Moon for seven-day stays on the lunar surface. The spacecraft, NASA’s Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), could even carry six-astronaut crews to the International Space Station (ISS) or fly automated resupply shipments as needed, NASA chief Michael Griffin said.
“Think of it as Apollo on steroids,” Griffin said as he unveiled the agency’s lunar exploration plan during a much-anticipated press conference at its Washington, D.C.-based headquarters. “Unless the U.S. wants to get out of manned spaceflight completely, this is the vehicle we need to be building.”
Wanted: Home-builders for the moon
NASA’s post-2020 plan involves the usual (and unusual) space suspects
Imagine a world where microwave-beaming rovers cook dust into concrete landing pads … where your living quarters are dropped onto the land from above, then inflated like an inner tube … where the grit is so abrasive that even the robots have to wear protective coveralls.
It may sound like science fiction, but these are actually some of the ideas being floated as part of NASA’s plan to build a permanent moon base starting in 2010. To follow through on those sky-high ideas, the space agency is turning to some down-to-earth experts, ranging from polar researchers to miners and earth-movers.
The Official release from NASA: