back to article Will someone plz dump our shizz on the Moon, NASA begs as one of the space biz vendors drops out

NASA made a slew of announcements yesterday aimed at bigging up the agency's efforts to get commercial companies involved with its deep space ambitions – despite one vendor dumping plans for a 2020 lunar landing. The US space bureau began the week by admitting that one of its trio of commercial pals vying to ship payloads to …

  1. Fatman Silver badge

    OrbitBeyond dropping out

    I have to credit them with being upfront about the possibility of them not being able to fulfill the agreement, and request termination. Unlike some other NASA projects, which have a tendency to underestimate the costs involved, only to see more money thrown at them.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Sounds like a job for...


    1. Spex1980
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Sounds like a job for...

      Whatever happened to that? Last I read it was all wrapped up in red tape on where it was going to be launched from.

      I really enjoyed reading about that project (and PARIS before it).

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like a job for...

        It was wrapped up in red tape. I doubt it has been unwrapped since, and the passing of Lester Haines probably set things back even further. There were some comments that the remaining team was trying to move things forward at the time, but we haven't heard anything since.

  3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Will the next gaggle of humans going to the moon make use of a proper loo, or will they still have to use plastic baggies for faecal collection (a la Apollo 11)?

    1. Scott Pedigo

      Robidog to the rescue

      If we can first get a Robidog planted by one of the cheapo space biz vendors, then the astronauts can use baggies but leave them in the refuse container, rather than flying them home.

    2. TimR

      According to

      "Improved waste-management facilities, with a miniature camping-style toilet and the unisex "relief tube" used on the Space Shuttle."

  4. Esme

    The thing is, as Amy Shira Teitel points out in her latest Vintage space video (which can be found here:, getting humans even to the moon is hard, and the circumstances that drove the Apollo programme were rather unique Trying to not merely replicate what Apollo achieved but to go one better and come up with a system intended to get us to the moon in order to start building infrastructure up there is a huge task, and no-one in their right minds would expect a NASA-type setup with contractors, sub-contractors, political interference etc to deliver on the same very short kind of timescale that Apollo happened in.

    Maybe a company like Blue Origin or SpaceX might be able to do that if that was what their business was focused on, because one organisation doing everything in-house can streamline things better than a NASA-type situation. But absent another serious "space-race" starting (hmmn.. US vs China maybe?) I am not expecting the Artemis project to deliver anywhere close to on time. I'll be highly delighted if they do, mind!

    Big fan of Zubrins "The Case for Mars" and Elon's efforts with SpaceX though I am, getting people anywhere off-planet is damned hard, and it seems to me that a lot of folk - and most politicians - greatly underestimate the challenges involved. It'll be a long while yet before human spaceflight becomes mundane, I think. And I'd REALLY love to be proven wrong about THAT!

    1. DougS Silver badge

      There is no "case for Mars"

      The main reason we started looking at Mars for possible future settlement was because the Moon was believed to lack water, though we now know that's not the case. If the Moon has accessible water, there's no reason to set up a settlement on Mars. Distance from Earth makes it a terrible option compared to the Moon. The Moon can also have nearly constant solar (and at greater flux and without duststorms) if you set up on one of the poles, and has close to real time communication with the Earth. It also isn't effectively a one way trip, and help is close by if a disaster occurs.

      The only possible advantage to Mars would be if you terraform it, and we are so far away from such technology it isn't even worth consideration at this point.

      1. Stuart 22

        Re: There is no "case for Mars"

        "The only possible advantage to Mars would be if you terraform it, and we are so far away from such technology it isn't even worth consideration at this point."

        Nope, dead easy. Just reverse engineer what we are doing to this planet.

        1. MacroRodent Silver badge

          Re: There is no "case for Mars"

          I recall someone calculated recently that there is not enough CO2 on Mars to get a greenhouse effect going. Musk could nuke the polar CO2 ice caps into gas and all it would do is make Mars radioactive.

          1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

            Re: There is no "case for Mars"

            No please don't give the Mysterons Radioactive material.

        2. DougS Silver badge

          Re: There is no "case for Mars"

          Dig up oil and burn it? I think I see a flaw in that scheme...

      2. Brangdon

        Re: There is no "case for Mars"

        Mars has numerous advantages beyond having vastly more proven water. It has an atmosphere, which protects against radiation and micro-meteorites, and can be mined for carbon, which can be used to make methane for rocket fuel. The Moon has little available carbon. You are stuck using hydrogen as fuel, which is horrible to work with and has poor thrust. Mars also has a better day-night cycle, its gravity is closer to Earth's, and it costs about the same delta-v to reach (if you use the atmosphere to slow down). It's regolith is more weathered. Moon dust is razor sharp. The Moon doesn't have dust storms, but static electricity causes havoc with its dust.

        That Mars takes longer to reach is a positive advantage if you accept its value as a back-up for civilisation. It's not a one-way trip. All the serious plans include return trips.

        Mars has more science value, too. We're a lot more likely to find life on Mars than on the Moon.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: There is no "case for Mars"

          The atmosphere and day/night cycle don't matter because it is not practical to live and work on the surface of either.

          Carbon I can see, but we probably should do a little digging on the Moon before we conclude it doesn't have any carbon. We used to think it didn't have water, and were wrong about that.

        2. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge

          Re: There is no "case for Mars"

          It has an atmosphere, which protects against radiation and micro-meteorites

          Its atmosphere is a fraction of a percent that of earth's. That's not even thick enough to let you walk about without a pressure suit; it's certainly not going to help you against radiation or meteorites.

          It's regolith is more weathered. Moon dust is razor sharp.

          It's also toxic. You're still going to have to go through the same effort to avoid breathing it in.

      3. NotBob

        Re: There is no "case for Mars"

        That, and the Moon is a harsh mistress. Never heard that said of Mars...

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: There is no "case for Mars"

          Only thing I've heard about Mars is that it needs women. That's another strike against it as far as I'm concerned. I'd rather go somewhere that already has some.

          1. GloriousVictoryForThePeople

            Re: There is no "case for Mars"

            Phobos is handy for R&R, which I am reliably informed had Leather Godesses....

  5. SVV Silver badge

    exciting commercial partnerships ...solving the many scientific mysteries of our Moon

    Yep, that's what's exciting about scientific explorations of the moon : the commercial partnerships.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surprised Boris hasn't promised to do it yet

    Mind you, it's only mid afternoon.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Surprised Boris hasn't promised to do it yet

      Maybe early evening. After all, he's going to get a much better deal from Europe for us this afternoon. Mind you, that should only take him an hour or two, right?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is this some sort of squirty moon cheese in a can?

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Shizz?

      That's fo shiz – short for foamed shiz. This will just be ordinary old American cheese.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just ask Elon

    Space-X is taking a paying passenger sometime soon, they can probably just drop it down if asked nicely :-)

  9. Stevie Silver badge


    Isn't "timely" an adjective?

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