Hidden Nook

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Private Sector Lowers Lunar Cost

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(Space.com) A newly released study has focused on how best to return people to the Moon, reporting that future lunar missions can be done for under $10 billion - far less than a NASA price tag.

The multi-phased three-year study was done by a private space firm, SpaceDev of Poway, California, and concluded that safe, lower cost missions can be completed by the private sector using existing technology or innovative new technology expected to be available in time to support human exploration of the Moon in the near-future.

With NASA estimates running over a $100 billion over the next 13 years this news comes as a blessing for the American tax payer who usually has to borne the brunt of these projects. Although these reports will probably not convince NASA from "charting the way" towards the lunar surface, they may want to partner with these corporations and simply outsource its space ingenuity.

After all, not only have these companies found a cheaper method of getting there, but also a more ingenious way as well.

Image credit: Photo from Space.com

(Space.com) According to SpaceDev's chief, Jim Benson, the private group has found that a more comprehensive series of missions could be completed in a fraction of the time and for one-tenth of the cost of the NASA estimate.

Each mission, as envisioned by SpaceDev, would position a habitat module in lunar orbit or on the moon's surface. The habitat modules would remain in place after each mission and could be re-provisioned and re-used, thus building a complex of habitats at one or more lunar locations over time, according to a press statement on the study findings.

Placing these modules on the surface would probably be wiser, in order to avoid them accidentally crash landing on the surface. Nevertheless, recycling these modules, although simplistic is a novel idea which will enable humanity to focus on other needs (such as mining fuel, oxygen and making the moon dust more friendly).

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By Darnell Clayton • 11:49 PM • Email Post • •


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