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NASA, ISS partners quietly completing design of possible Moon-orbiting space station
For what it's worth:

I think that the current interest in a Mars mission is a serious distraction from what really needs to be done, which is create a sustainable human presence in space. My vision, such as it is, starts with a working Moonbase; "working" here being defined as industrial, perhaps at the South Pole, which gives access to water which is useful for all manner of purposes and also Lunar rock, which can be worked into many things. And then a "construction shack" with maybe a couple of hundred people on board, building an SPS in geostationary orbit from lunar materials - and maybe at this time also a larger habitat. IMHO the SPS is crucial, because it's a way of getting a resource return from all the treasure spent - in this case, energy. (Helps with global warming, too!)

Snagging a couple of near-Earth asteroids for materials might well be helpful, too; part of the reason is that the technology for that is part of the defence against a Dinosaur Killer. On that subject, I think one thing we need fairly soon is a surveillance probe at Sun/Earth L3. Why? Because one of the nastier scenarios is a Sun-skimming rock that sneaks in past the Sun giving us very little time to prepare.

Once there is one habitat in space, there will be more - if only because space solar power requires a human presence to build large units. (For now, anyway.) And space habitats could be designed to be rather pleasant to live in.

Leave Mars until a Mars landing becomes a minor project, because there is already human stuff all over at least the inner solar system and maybe the Belt.

I would have thought that this lesson had been learned from Apollo. It was a magnificent achievement, but it was also done in completely the wrong way - a horrifically expensive and essentially purposeless Cold War boots-and-flags gambit. ISS (or something even better, such as a toroidal station with centrifugal gravity) should have been built decades before we even tried for the Moon.

Just my $0.02 worth.

Just one more thing: A human space presence also gives us the ability to consider the only way (for now) to get going on slinging large masses around the Solar System with decent Isp and thrust. I refer, of course, to Orion.

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RE: NASA, ISS partners quietly completing design of possible Moon-orbiting space station - by iancampbell - 03-11-2017, 08:42 PM

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