Space: 2029?

NASA’s manned lunar exploration plans now include a permanently-occupied base near one of the lunar poles–which might just come to fruition before the 60th anniversary of humans setting foot on the satellite, if all goes according to plan:

An international team of astronauts will be living and working at a permanent moon base to be built at one of the resource-rich lunar poles within two decades, NASA announced Monday.

Earth’s first off-world colonists will cruise the surface in a new generation lunar lander that will function like a low-gravity pickup truck, possibly journeying to the dark side to build the most ambitious collection of observatories ever constructed, NASA said.

The announcement of NASA’s vision to build a permanent scientific research station on the moon represents the space agency’s first outline of its plans once it reaches the moon, scheduled no later than 2020.

“We will begin with short missions. Then we will build up to the point where we are staying 180 days, and then we will have a permanent presence,” Doug Cooke, deputy associate administrator for exploration systems, said at a news conference at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The permanent base could be operational as early as 2024, officials said.

If the government sticks to the pace proposed here, NASA will probably be moving in next door to Richard Branson’s lunar Virgin Megastore.

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology,
Chris Lawrence
About Chris Lawrence
Chris teaches political science at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia. He has a Ph.D. in political science (with concentrations in American politics and political methodology) from the University of Mississippi. He began writing for OTB in June 2006. Follow him on Twitter @lordsutch.

Comments

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  3. Bithead says:

    ” if all goes to plan”
    “… if all goes well”…

    The phrases heard since the leading edge of the space program.

  4. Wayne says:

    It’s about time. Observation studies for purpose of knowledge is fine but we should be more concern in how to colonize and find ways to exploit the assets of the universe.

    The big concern is if the risk takers will be allowed to flourish or if we spend 100 times more money trying to be perfectly safe which in the end we won’t be.

  5. Space: 2029?…

    NASA has announced plans for a permanent moon base. Construction would begin around 2020 when astronauts return to the moon.
    The base will be built at one of the moon’s poles, because of the mild climate with more sunlight. Four-person crews will s…