back to article NASA to celebrate 55th anniversary of first Moon landing by, er, deciding how to land humans on the Moon again

US space agency NASA published its long awaited National Space Exploration Campaign Report this week, and it makes for sobering reading for those still recovering from its 60th birthday celebrations. The report (PDF) was in response to the 2017’s NASA Authorisation Act (PDF) and is a little late. NASA does specialise in delays …

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  1. TRT Silver badge

    That's no moon...

    wait... yes it is.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: That's no space programme ...

      ...err. And that's about it, really.

      Move along, nothing to see. It comes to something when you yearn for a President with even the vision and moral fibre of a Kennedy or Nixon.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: That's no space programme ...

        the vision and moral fibre of [...] Nixon

        What, Richard "Cancel Apollo, cancel MOL" Nixon?

        Richard "prevent peace in Vietnam until after the election" Nixon? The guy who is most well known for Watergate.

        What vision and moral fibre did 'Tricky Dicky' have exactly? He'd have sold his own granny for a vote.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: That's no space programme ...

          >What vision and moral fibre did 'Tricky Dicky' have exactly?

          Compared to some of the recent inmates ?

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Compared to some of the recent inmates ?

            I think that was the point of the original comment... "It comes to something when even Nixon's morals are more desirable than the incumbents" was the gist of it.

  2. Scott Pedigo
    Paris Hilton

    Boldly Not Going Where Man Has Gone Before

    I'm hoping that things pick up steam if the BFR stays on track or close to it.

  3. David Lewis 2
    Boffin

    How to land humans on the Moon again ...

    Let me guess:

    1 It will take 10 times longer than Apollo.

    2. It will cost 1000 times more.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: How to land humans on the Moon again ...

      It's all about doing more with less. So this will send daily missions to the moon at £5/capsule.

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: How to land humans on the Moon again ...

        "It's all about doing more with less. So this will send daily missions to the moon at £5/capsule."

        Yeah, but those are Ryanspace prices, so don't forget to add several million for your luggage, being able to pre-book your seat, and for priority boarding.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: How to land humans on the Moon again ...

          Also, there's an oxygen surcharge, food is not included and when they say "moon", they actually mean Cruithne, not what we actually recognise as the moon.

          1. HelpfulJohn

            Re: How to land humans on the Moon again ...

            " ... and when they say "moon", they actually mean Cruithne, ..."

            Well, that would not be so bad a thing. Cruithne has dark skies, is a long way from Trumpet Town so is probably a nice quiet place to live and has few bickering neighbours so is probably a *safe* place to live.

            Luna is far too close to Earth to ever be anything but Las Vegas II. For the Real Frontier one needs to get far, far away from both of those overused, noisy, dangerous, human-spoiled dumps.

            Realistically, M33 is about minimum distance.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: How to land humans on the Moon again ...

      yeah without the cold war urgency of the moon program in the 60's, and with all of the new environmental and political roadblocks in its way, a "modern" space program is lucky to even have a rocket to get into orbit...

      Seriously, a private industry solution makes way more sense. Private industry is driven by GETTING THINGS DONE, and not GETTING MORE FUNDING.

      1. Denarius Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: How to land humans on the Moon again ...

        @BBob; Bwhahahaha. Never worked for USA multinationals have you ? Private merkin industry is about theft of wages, bonuses for boards, screwing the customers, owning glove puppets who pretend to govern for the peasants. In short, it is the USSR revisited with a different flag and same denial of its supposed philosophical basis. No surprise, both are or were running under fundie materialist world views. NASAs inability to do anything is just some of the twitching of the country's corpse.

        Elons and others companies may indeed put cheaper rockets up, but the basic problem is there is no economic reason for any activity beyond geosynchronous orbit. Research is accepted as non-economic initially. To be fair to NASA, their engineers make Mars Rovers and long range probes that are exemplars of engineering and science gathering. However, it has been a long time since someone like Kelly Johnson ran anything in MerkinVille.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: How to land humans on the Moon again ...

        Private industry is driven by GETTING THINGS DONE, and not GETTING MORE FUNDING.

        Not quite. Private industry is driven by profit. Nothing more, nothing less.

      3. ShadowDragon8685

        Re: How to land humans on the Moon again ...

        Private industry is driven by EXTRACTING THE MOST MONEY FOR THE SHAREHOLDER'S POCKETS.

        Safety? Out the airlock. Ethics? Haven't been seen in business since (ERROR: N/A). Dicking over everybody for a fast buck? SOP.

    3. TRT Silver badge
      1. Vinyl-Junkie

        Re: Just need two chevron keys and a space bar...

        Of course if you'd rather play it than watch it

    4. Mr Han

      Re: How to land humans on the Moon again ...

      1 It will take 10 times longer than Apollo.

      2. It will cost 1000 times more.

      and that's just for phase 1 of the diversity recruitment program.

    5. JCitizen
      Unhappy

      Re: How to land humans on the Moon again ...

      I bet there are not many original moon astronauts alive today. We are lucky Buzz Aldrin is still with us!

      1. HelpfulJohn

        Re: How to land humans on the Moon again ...

        "I bet there are not many original moon astronauts alive today. We are lucky Buzz Aldrin is still with us!"

        The last time I was bothered to WikiP it there were something like seven out of the original 12. It would be quite easy to look it up again but I can't be arsed.

        One thing I'm fairly sure of, there will never be a thirteenth. Indeed, I suspect that may be one reason for us never going back, that the Placate-The-Woo-Woo-Tribes supporters of diversity and multiculturalism couldn't figure out how to land anyone else without including The Horrible Unlucky Number so they avoided the issue by stopping at twelve.

        Of course, they could have landed a pod with three doors and had three people step out simultaneously but there is probably something quantum that prevents this. Or maybe Special Relativity.

        Somewhere, deep in Area 75, there is possibly a team of genii working tirelessly, as they have been since 1968, on how to avoid 13. Aided by acres of quantumised super-computers and borrowed alien tech from Areas 51 to 74, the international group struggles to overcome the simple facts of arithmetic to progress the manned space effort and initiate The Human Galaxy.

        Their core task, finding a way to avoid 13, could be rendered moot were they to discover a method of eliminating the Woo-woos who are terrified of a number but *that* is politically impossible. And so, the sound of quiet, desperate weeping from Area 75 continues.

        And there still is no plan for more lunar landings.

        1. F Seiler

          Re: How to land humans on the Moon again ...

          Nice, made me laugh.

          This may indeed be true for an American programme, but i don't think 13 is particularly unlucky in China (and 4 is past).

        2. onefang Silver badge

          Re: How to land humans on the Moon again ...

          "how to avoid 13"

          Let the programmers take over the next mission, coz all programmers count from zero. That way the next one will be number 12, then we can switch to hexadecimal, and the one after will be number C, and finally NASA comes to it's senses, returning to the original numbering system, coz hexadecimal will eventually get to 13 again, and the 14th astronaut steps out.

          Or if that isn't confusing enough use the Dr Who numbering system. Would be good to see a woman walk on the moon.

  4. nuked

    Perhaps we could send up a few flat-earthers...

    1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      Re: Flat earthers

      > Perhaps we could send up a few flat-earthers...

      It's much cheaper with flat earthers, they don't need that expensive rocket bit, you can just take them to the edge and push them off.

      1. Sudosu

        Re: Flat earthers

        What kind of lunatic believes the earth is flat in this day and age? You have to be a special kind of stupid.

        These people should go back to their shacks in the woods and let their foolish theory die like it should have five hundred years ago.

        Now, you have to think what the real reason is that they don't want to go to the moon.

        I will tell you that reason.

        As any intelligent person with a lick of common sense should know; it is the moon that is FLAT and they don't want to have to hide that fact if they send lots of people there.

        Think about it, when you look at the moon its always the same; same craters, same hills same dirt, same moon buggy; It doesn't rotate because it is FLAT FLAT FLAT. It makes perfect sense.

        Join the Flat Mooner Legion and spread the word by using our universally recognized sign; a naked buttocks firmly pressed up against a window .

        Flat Mooner's unite!

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Flat earthers

          Seems there was a SF story about this decades ago. Brain fart on the author and title but do remember it.

          1. SEPAM

            Re: Flat earthers

            >Seems there was a SF story about this decades ago. Brain fart on the author and title but do remember it.

            Gamow and the Flatland stories with Mr. Tompkins, probably.

        2. MrXavia

          Re: Flat earthers

          People have known the world was round long before even the ancient Greeks.

        3. Dr. G. Freeman

          Re: Flat earthers

          And in their publications, they boast of having members all over the globe.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Flat earthers

            Oh, c'mon.. There's no need to send up any Flat Earthers. All it needs is to tart up the old Moon stage in the Nevada desert so it looks good in 4K/8K and hire Spielberg or Michael Bay to shoot a series. Spielberg if it's a happy ending, Bay if it explodes once the budget's run dry.

            (Modern sfx makes a conspiracy theory even easier than it was in the '60s and '70s.)

            1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

              Re: Spielberg or Bay

              Capricorn One (1977)

              https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077294/

        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Flat earthers

          "What kind of lunatic believes the earth is flat in this day and age? You have to be a special kind of stupid."

          The intersect on a Venn Diagram (which looks like a flat Earth) is probably quite large when mapped against those who think the Earth was created in 4004BC. There's a significantly large portion of that "special kind of stupid", especially in certain US states.

      2. Anonymous Cow Herder

        Re: Flat earthers

        I know the sky is up and it's Earth all the way down but..

        it's never occurred to me to ask a Flat Earther what is past the edge.

    2. LS650

      Or a certain American politician.

      In fact, let's send -all- of them - one way only please.

    3. Mr Han

      Flat-earthers

      Well they'd certainly take up less room especially if we stacked them like a pack of cards.

  5. DJV Silver badge

    "real possibility of no US astronauts being present aboard the ISS"

    The Russians will then rename it Mir 2.

    1. AlgernonFlowers4

      Re: "real possibility of no US astronauts being present aboard the ISS"

      We're all living in Amerika

      Amerika ist wunderbar

      We're all living in Amerika

      Amerika, Amerika

      We're all living in Amerika

      Amerika ist wunderbar

      We're all living in Amerika

      1. HieronymusBloggs Silver badge

        Re: "real possibility of no US astronauts being present aboard the ISS"

        "We're all living in Amerika"

        Upvote for Rammstein reference.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn
          Coat

          Re: "real possibility of no US astronauts being present aboard the ISS"

          Du Haste comment to make there.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: "real possibility of no US astronauts being present aboard the ISS"

            This is Meine Land!

            Or China/India/Russia's land. Which is a little frustrating. Space exploration and colonisation should be one of those 'common good' things that we could all get along and just do. But then politicians get involved with work share agreements and everything ends up massively delayed and over budget.

            I think the UN missed a trick by not claiming space IPR. 2.5hrs of Marvel licences created over $2bn in revenues & $600m+ in profit (give or take Hollywood accounting) so licencing the Moon could have helped fund a lunar colony. It's a little crazy the amount we waste on frivolous things.

            And personally I think NASA should skip the lunar orbiter and go straight for a lunar colony. Curious what we can achieve from above the Moon that can't be done by unmanned surveyors or from the ISS or ISS Mk2. Now with added factory modules!

  6. spold Bronze badge

    Not just space that is vacuous....

    Honestly is that the best they can come up with?

    Yes we know it's a lump of rock - been there done that.

    If you really want to prep for long trips with new hardware then why not do something original and with a long term future...e.g. build a shipyard at Lagrange point L4 or L5 (stable). Perhaps even call it Utopia Planetia....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not just space that is vacuous....

      >Yes we know it's a lump of rock - been there done that.

      Do you realise only once has a geologist visited the Moon? And yes, it was the very last mission. Moreover it now turns out many samples have been stored improperly and have been damaged by our atmosphere.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Not just space that is vacuous....

        Moreover it now turns out many samples have been stored improperly and have been damaged by our atmosphere.

        ISTR a lot of samples were also given away as diplomatic gifts. Meanwhile, I'm still fascinated by a bit of NASA working on lunarcrete. A mission to return a couple of tons of geology would give them a lot more chance to work on how we could build lunar habitats using resources there. Lunar dust hasn't been abraded, so apparently makes for strong concrete. Or just a very abrasive dust hazard for both machinery and lungs.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    De-orbit ISS

    Is it really not possible to put it into orbit around the Moon? or Mars?

    Seems such a waste otherwise.

    1. 0laf Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: De-orbit ISS

      Yep really isn't possible. Well it's possible but it's improbable. It would need a big feck off booster fitted to it and somehow the whole thing would need to be shored up to cope with the move. TBH it's pretty old, and like many things you're better starting a new with the lessons learned from previous versions.

      But I agree with others it's a sad state when we're really not a long way from where we were 50yr ago.

      I'd have liked to have seen moon obiting bases, larger earth orbiting habitats maybe as places to build Mars vehicles. I'm sure we could have done it ages ago had politics, wars and other top table nonsense not taken over again.

      1. Big John Silver badge

        Re: De-orbit ISS

        > "It would need a big feck off booster fitted to it and somehow the whole thing would need to be shored up to cope with the move."

        Only if you want to do it the inefficient way. The smart way is to use a few ion engines, letting them slowly enlarge the orbit until a lunar capture is effected, then tightening that orbit. No big strain on the station and far less fuel needed. Okay it takes a while, but that doesn't matter in this case.

        1. cray74 Silver badge

          Re: De-orbit ISS

          Only if you want to do it the inefficient way. The smart way is to use a few ion engines, letting them slowly enlarge the orbit until a lunar capture is effected, then tightening that orbit.

          If you don't mind the ISS spending a few months climbing through the Van Allen Belts, then that's fine. You're not going to be able to change its orbital plane until it has climbed above the belts, either.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: De-orbit ISS

      Stop the silly talk - space stations will need to remain in low earth orbit for one big reason - they need the protection of the earth's magnetic fields or astronauts would not be able to spend extended time on board. Until it becomes cheap enough to lift lead shielding or they come up with some sort of equivalent to a sci-fi ship shield, putting anything manned out near the moon is not realistic. And if you are just wanting to move it out there to park it, well that is an expensive proposition. Australia is a big target and has been tested before :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: De-orbit ISS

        "Until it becomes cheap enough to lift lead shielding or they come up with some sort of equivalent to a sci-fi ship shield, putting anything manned out near the moon is not realistic."

        Radiation shielding in space is not as hard as you might think, says this link:

        <https://www.nasa.gov/vision/space/travelinginspace/radiation_shielding.html>

        "Polyethylene is a good shielding material because it has high hydrogen content, and hydrogen atoms are good at absorbing and dispersing radiation" and [re: reinforced polyethylene] "Since it is a ballistic shield, it also deflects micrometeorites"

        1. Mr Han

          Re: De-orbit ISS

          I've also heard that single use, disposable dust masks are perfect protection when cleaning up nuclear fallout.

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