Man aims to revisit the Moon, this time to stayJuly 22nd, 2008 - 1:10 pm ICT by ANI
London, July 22 (ANI): Man may soon return to the moon, with the focus being to establish a permanent presence there, using it as a training platform for missions to Mars and beyond.
According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, NASA officials and scientists have said that the proposed return to the lunar surface could happen in the decade after NASA retires the space shuttle in 2010 and begins flying a new generation of rocket booster.
Were going back, and this time were going to stay, said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA Ames Research Center. This is the first step in settling the solar system, he added.
Towards this purpose, Silicon Valley in the US has become the base for planning mankinds return to the moon, as more than 400 scientists from around the world have assembled at NASAs Ames Research Center for a conference from July 21 23, 2008.
This conference will decide on what type of science should be done when astronauts revisit Earths nearest neighbor.
American astronauts last visited the moon in 1972, and there are huge questions - both of technology and politics - about how and when astronauts will return.
For now, NASA is focused on building a new generation of powerful rocket boosters that could reach the Moon and beyond.
According to Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at NASA Ames who is working on the Constellation program, the space agency needs to develop a whole new culture, along with the new hardware.
McKay said that the return to the moon should imitate the way scientists have explored Antarctica, using an international base at the South Pole as a permanent outpost for scientific exploration.
We are going to the moon to stay - and to stay means 50 years, he said.
Before NASA attempts the even more difficult, expensive and remote journey to Mars, the space agency will first have to learn how to do things like grow plants that can recycle human waste in the low-gravity, radioactive environment of the moon, he added.
NASA also will need to learn more about how people function and relate in the most remote place where humans have ever lived.
On the moon, NASA can learn how we get 10 people to live together productively on another world,” said McKay. (ANI)
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