Thursday, April 30, 2009

No Lunar Base in 2020? Say it ain't so!

New Scientist article by David Shiga that was posted on their website on April 29, 2009; suggest that NASA is backing off the idea of building a outpost on the moon.

According to acting NASA administrator Chris Scolese told congressional lawmakers on the 28th that the agency is "... open to putting more emphasis on human missions to destinations like Mars or near-Earth asteroid(s)."

While NASA is working towards the return to the moon by the year 2020, other space analysts and advocacy groups such as Planetary Society are urging NASA to cancel plans for a permanent moonbase.  They instead urge shorter moon missions, and focus on getting astronauts to Mars

Scolese's comments suggest that the White House might be undergoing a shift in space policy.  Chris Scolese was speaking to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies of the House Committee on Appropriations.

Reporters kept asking Scolese about the 2010 budget and how it would impact the agency as it moves forward to lunar flights by 2020.  But Mr. Scolese declined to give out a clear yes or no answer.  His answers instead gives the clue that NASA's plans are in flux.  

Check out this answer he give to reporters (reguarding the short trips to moon and the asteroids).  "Recall (that) the Vision (for Space Exploration) was not just to go to the moon as it was in Apollo, it was to utilise space to go on to Mars and to go to other places.  We've demonstrated over the last several years that with multiple flights we can build a very complex system reliably - the space station - involving multiple nations.  and we'll need something like that if we're going to go to Mars."

NASA's associate administrator for exploration systems, Doug Cooke; give out similar vague answers to the subcommittee's chair Congressman Alan Mollohan wondering if the space agency has been new directions.

More specifics are explected to come out in May when the Obama administration releases it's detailed 2010 budget proposal. 

Image is of the UFO tv series Lunar Lander landing at the SHADO moonbase.

Ref. New article by David Shiga. April 29, 2009 (

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