The President Of The Mars Society Says NASA Is Screwing Up Our Best Chance For A Moon Base

Friday, 02 November 2018 - 12:00PM
Space
Moon
NASA
Friday, 02 November 2018 - 12:00PM
The President Of The Mars Society Says NASA Is Screwing Up Our Best Chance For A Moon Base
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Composite: Glenn Batuyong/Star Citizen 3.0.0 alpha (PTU) CC by 2.0 and Pixabay
NASA is no stranger to amateur science enthusiasts criticizing their work, but Robert Zubrin, the President of the Mars Society, has taken a step further by claiming that the plans for a Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway are "silly" and that NASA's recent projects are "useless." In a paper published in the journal The New Atlantishe claims that NASA "has been adrift" since the 1960s, "spending vast sums of money with no serious objective." To remedy this, Zubrin proposes a real goal for NASA: build a permanent Moon base.

In a nutshell, Zubrin wants the agency to ship building materials and supplies to the Moon, send crews to build the base on one of the Moon's poles, and begin electrolyzing the large caches of water ice in the Moon's craters to create hydrogen and oxygen. From there, Zubrin proposes creating a craft termed "LEV," short for "Lunar Excursion Vehicle." The LEV will shuttle astronauts between the Moon and low-Earth orbit, allowing quick access to the Moon base.

Zubrin calls it the "Moon Direct plan," and thinks it's an infinitely better proposition than the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, which he calls the "Lunar Orbit Tollbooth." Originally, the LOP-G was meant to be the base of operations for NASA's future Moon missions as well as deep-space operations, but Zubrin maintains that it's a giant boondoggle because "[t]he Moon itself, not lunar orbit, is where we can do things."



But mostly, Zubrin wants to create a Moon base as a symbolic gesture: "By choosing to establish a base on the Moon, we can restore the confidence of the human spaceflight program and enable it to take on the greater challenges awaiting us on Mars and beyond. We can reaffirm our identity as a nation of pioneers and make a powerful statement that the future belongs to the forces of liberty by once again astounding the world with what free people can do."

We're not sure if Zubrin knows that NASA already has plans to establish a Moon base, or that it's preparing to send human crews to Mars in the 2030s. We're also not sure if the "useless" NASA programs he mentioned include detecting gravitational waves or spotting a record number of exoplanets. But, hey: if he can pull it off, more power to him.

Image credit: Glenn Batuyong/Star Citizen 3.0.0 alpha (PTU) CC by 2.0 and Pixabay
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