February 28, 2017
SpaceX, Elon Musk's private space corporation, is planning to launch a manned Moon mission next year.
According to Breitbart:
"Musk said SpaceX is on track to launch astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA in mid-2018. This moon mission would follow about six months later, by the end of the year under the current schedule, using a Dragon crew capsule and a Falcon heavy rocket launched from NASAâ€™s former moon pad in Florida.
If all goes as planned, it could happen close to the 50th anniversary of NASAâ€™s first manned flight to the moon, on Apollo 8.
The SpaceX moonshot is designed to be autonomous â€“ unless something goes wrong, Musk said."
"The paying passengers would make a long loop around the moon, skimming the lunar surface and then going well beyond, perhaps 300,000 or 400,000 miles distance altogether. Itâ€™s about 240,000 miles to the moon alone, one way.
The mission would not involve a lunar landing."
It's about time; Mankind has been away from our twin planet for far too long, and a return to the Moon - even just to ride around her - will do much to reinvigorate human interest in space flight, and space colonization.
We need t settle the Moon. There are many who think we should go to Mars first, but why? We don't really know how, and if anything happens Mars is too far away to send assistance. It will also be out of communications with the Earth, thanks to the speed of light. And what would the point be to go there anyway? Robots can do basic research much more safely, and a permanent settlement would serve no commercial purpose - the primary motivation in any settlement project. None of this is true of the Moon, which would be commercially viable (think Helium 3, for instance) and would be close enough for settlers to go home if there is any problem. Oh, and they could be in the mainstream of life via electronic communications; there would be a 1.3 second time delay from Earth to the Moon. amd that does not vary, whereas Earth to Mars is anywhere between four and 24 minutes one way, depending on the planetary positions to each other. You could be online on the Moon, but have no such hope on Mars.
We need to learn to walk before we run. Lunar settlement is the training tool. Conditions on Mars are not all that different from the Moon, except it is farther away and subject to such niceties as sand blasting from the floating Matian fines (dust) and whatnot. The main problems - near vacuum, no magnetic field, low gravity, sparse water, etc. - are present in both cases. But the far greater distance to Mars make them real problems whereas the Moon can be dealt with, if nothing else by an infusion of necessities from Earth.
Why else did God place a planet just over our heads if He didn't want us to use it?
So let'sget back to Luna and get to it!
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