back to article 'We go back to the Moon to stay': Apollo vets not too chuffed with NASA's new rush to the regolith

Apollo astronauts Walt Cunningham and Rusty Schweickart spoke at ESA's 2019 ESTEC shindig in the Dutch beach town of Noordwijk over the weekend, and The Register was fortunate enough to chat with the pair. Now 87, Cunningham's single jaunt to space was aboard Apollo 7, the first crewed flight of the programme. The 1968 mission …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Amen to that last paragraph.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Indeed, legend is pretty much a good description of them.

      However it would be wrong not to include all the cosmonauts who also did incredibly brave things, and the people that backed them up and supported them. While very few individuals have left this rock, there are a huge number more who made this possible, often at great cost to themselves.

  2. John Mangan

    "To simply go and come back and say that we've been there again is highly unsatisfactory,"

    Indeed. And slightly shameful.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "To simply go and come back and say that we've been there again is highly unsatisfactory,"

      We choose to go to the moon, not because it is hard

      but because it is easiest and will maximize media attention while fitting within the budget model

      1. Alan_Peery

        Re: "To simply go and come back and say that we've been there again is highly unsatisfactory,"

        While fitting within the time that Trump hopes to be in office -- which is the reason for the 2024 deadline. A deadline that allows for no prior landing test of the lunar module before it's full of astronauts...

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: "To simply go and come back and say that we've been there again is highly unsatisfactory,"

          >While fitting within the time that Trump hopes to be in office -- no prior landing test of the lunar module before it's full of astronauts...

          So Trump wants the glory of going to the moon,

          We have a rocket that will probably blow up or crash.

          A solution presents itself.....

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: "To simply go and come back and say that we've been there again is highly unsatisfactory,"

            Not a good, warm fuzzy feeling about this is there? Safety of flight vs. political pressure. Reminds of a certain Space Shuttle launch that didn't go well.

          2. andrewj

            Re: Academics

            "So Trump wants the glory of going to the moon,"

            And we will be very happy to send him. One way.

            1. HelpfulJohn

              Re: Academics

              "And we will be very happy to send him. One way."

              You may think of this as a disparaging jest, sir, but I would *love* to be dumped on our Luna for what remains of my life if it were possible to land me with a tool kit and some spare parts so I could fix up the various rovers and landers and other bits of kit while helping to build a Farside Telescope Farm.

              I'd prefer Mars, even though she has a greater gravity field because there would be more opportunities for discovery on that more varied landscape and more toys to fix but Luna would do.

              If ESA, JPL or someone else wants a willing volunteer ... email soon.

              Hell, if you could give a 0.01% chance of surviving long enough, I'd even ride an Apollo-style box to the planets of Proxima for you.

              Sometimes, banishment is exactly what a person would dearly love.

              1. Muscleguy Silver badge

                Re: Academics

                Mine is Europa, despite the hellish strong radiation field around the neighbourhood gas giant. The prospect of finding a second genesis what Bioogy we could learn gives me goosebumps but then I'm a biologist.

                I don't expect multicellular life, just microbugs but the things we could learn from them.

        2. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

          Re: "To simply go and come back and say that we've been there again is highly unsatisfactory,"

          The first landing test of the Apollo lunar module was when it was landed by Neil Armstrong.

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: "To simply go and come back and say that we've been there again is highly unsatisfactory,"

            First landing test on the Moon

            Grumman test landed the thing dozens of times on Earth to figure out how to properly build those folding legs strong enough to withstand a hard landing but light enough to take to the Moon.

            Let's not undersell the effort that was made in the effort to seem superior.

        3. The IT Ghost

          Re: "To simply go and come back and say that we've been there again is highly unsatisfactory,"

          Eagle, the first LM to land, was full of astronauts. That seemed to work out quite well. Everyone who went got back, just as intended, and even brought back a little bit of the moon with them.

        4. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: "To simply go and come back and say that we've been there again is highly unsatisfactory,"

          "While fitting within the time that Trump hopes to be in office"

          The same with Bush and Obama who also talked up going to the moon and Mars.

          One of the big problems with state sponsored space programs in democratic countries is that they have to fit within the term of the sponsoring politician. This limits things to missions already in the works or projects that can be accomplished in the next couple of years. NASA is especially hindered by this. SLS, aka the Senate Launch System, has the best chance as Senators don't have term limits (yet). It's a wasteful rocket that will cost stupid amounts of money but is in with the best chance since it's funding doesn't bottleneck with a single politician.

          I'm sure President Trump will capitalize on any positive PR from the US putting people on the moon again, but if he doesn't, the President to follow him will or the one after that or the one after that. Very rarely do senior politicians have any background in science/engineering nor are they usually all that excited by it beyond whatever will buy them votes in the next election. Mrs. Thatcher is the only politician I can recall with a science background.

          Science is important and given all of the Nobel prizes won by those in the UK the last go around, it should be more supported by government. It always pays back with interest.

    2. holmegm Bronze badge

      Re: "To simply go and come back and say that we've been there again is highly unsatisfactory,"

      Don't we have to, er, go back at all first to go back to stay?

      1. holmegm Bronze badge

        Re: "To simply go and come back and say that we've been there again is highly unsatisfactory,"

        Wow, we don't? We can just stay on our first return flight? Cool.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: "To simply go and come back and say that we've been there again is highly unsatisfactory,"

      the lunar environment is useful for a lot of things, but I suspect that most of those are "exploration elswhere' kinds of things, where the moon is basically a stop-off point to the rest of the solar system.

      that's reason enough, I think, to put a permanent base there.

      Unfortunately, too few people these days see the value in space explioration. they're too busy ninny-nannying and nit-picking and being SJW's...

      1. HelpfulJohn

        Re: "To simply go and come back and say that we've been there again is highly unsatisfactory,"

        Farside. Radio telescopes. If for nothing else, a lunar base would be useful for those.

        I was once asked, by someone not too technical, what he could do on the Moon. I replied:

        "Do you want fries with that?"

        Translated into Real English: "Do you want salt-and-vinegar?"

        People in lunar bases will need to eat. They will need plumbers. They will need the lady who knows what's going on to keep the Base Commander looking good.

        A lunar base is just a slightly more distant, slightly more expensive to start up New World, with benefits we can't imagine and endless profits.

        It's a pity Man will never have one.

  3. andy 103

    "To simply go and come back and say that we've been there again is highly unsatisfactory"

    That's assuming they went in the first place. Which is still questionable to this day. And no, finding discarded equipment on the surface does not equate to humans setting foot on it.

    Indeed there are things on Earth where the money would be far better spent. Clean drinking water for everyone? Nah, we'll just piss a few billion so Walt and Rusty can tell their story and try and swing their dicks for the sake of American "national pride" - if such a thing exists.

    Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there. A very strange set of priorities for human beings - let's try and live on the Moon whilst neglecting millions of people who are still on Earth who have solvable issues? Are you serious?

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      True, discarded equipment on the moon doesn't mean squat other than it needed putting on a big rocket to get there.

      Now please explain the footprints.

      1. Dom 3

        Sheesh. The footprints were put there by the *Russians*. /Everybody/ knows *that*.

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          Everyone know the Moon landings were a cover up for the base on Mars.

          1. Baldrickk Silver badge
            Facepalm

            No, it was all filmed by Stanley Kubrick. Only problem was he insisted on filming on location.

            1. ibmalone Silver badge

              Ironically only serving to increase the catering costs.

        2. vtcodger Silver badge

          Russians, Nonsense ...

          It was Bigfoot. I mean look at the size of those things. Who else could have done it? Expect a Science Channel special on the subject any time now.

        3. Esme

          I thought it was Wallace!

        4. HelpfulJohn

          At the risk of being Godwinned: they were put there by the Nazis when they used the Moon as a stepping stone on their way to Martian bases. I know this. I've seen the documentaries.

          "Iron Sky" was particularly historically accurate.

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Your capacity for reasoned thought might be in doubt - the fact that the Apollo astronauts went to the moon is not.

    3. iron Silver badge

      So I take it you don't think any of these things ever helped anyone:

      Artificial Limbs

      Water Purifiers

      Adjustable Smoke Detectors

      Satellite TV

      Freeze-dried Food

      Space Blankets

      Memory Foam

      Improved Tyres

      Because all of them were invented while pissing away a few billions as you put it.

      Are you serious?

      1. 2Nick3

        "So I take it you don't think any of these things ever helped anyone:..."

        Microwave ovens

        And my personal favorite - Astronaut (Freeze-Dried) Ice Cream!

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        There's a lot more spinoffs than that, some of which let to a computer in almost every home, etc.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          the INDIRECT benefits of the spac3e program are numerous, though maybe someone has made a comprehensive list.

          Add miniaturized electronics (in general) which would include CELL PHONES, and probably microwave + satellite communications as well.

          The IC was primarily developed because of Apollo. They built the computer using NAND gates as I recall, because 2 years before launch, that was what the edge of tech was. Or something like that. There are really good writeups in various places, including wikipedia.

      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "So I take it you don't think any of these things ever helped anyone:"

        That's a really short list and doesn't even cover some of the more important aspects of improved metallurgy.

        I've got a shelf full of spin-off technology from NASA. They publish all of the things they come up with each year and it hasn't slowed down since the Apollo era. It's a good thing too since industry does far less pure research than they did in the decades past.

      4. HelpfulJohn

        To quote me:

        Blue-sky, fundamental scientific research will *ALWAYS* pay off, usually in unimagined ways. Transistors and micro-circuitry leading to handheld supercomputers, lasers leading to DVD's and, of course, a document distribution system designed to help Particle Physicists communicate helping to spawn Google. Putting a research station, and a supporting set of villages, on Farside would benefit us in ways unimaginable and as impossible to predict as Blu-Ray discs full of movies were when lasers were being invented. It would also make money right here.

      5. JJKing Silver badge
        Flame

        I want money. That's what I want; according to the Flying Lizzards.

        So I take it you don't think any of these things ever helped anyone:

        Artificial Limbs

        Water Purifiers

        Adjustable Smoke Detectors

        etc

        etc

        The same new technologies are being created on the ISS. Is that a waste of $$$Billions as well?

        The world can't find the money to stave off starvation or ways to provide clean drinking water but there is always, ALWAYS enough money for making weapons that destroy people's homes and kill the citizens of countries you have a political or religious dislike for.

    4. Ken 16 Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Don't you think the requirements of a sustainable moon base might have some spin offs in areas like water and air purification as two easy examples?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6MOnehCOUw

      1. vtcodger Silver badge

        Don't you think the requirements of a sustainable moon base might have some spin offs in areas like water and air purification as two easy examples?

        Probably not. Those are problems that have been extensively studied over the last century for a variety of reasons. I imagine existing solutions will be used.

        Historically, the cross over from space exploration to other situations has been surprisingly small. Doing stuff that could be done in labs on Earth at the end of long and exceedingly costly supply chains is unlikely to be a cost effective way to approach most things.

        Of course, some stuff can't be done on Earth, but I don't see a moon base -- or the ISS for that matter -- as being the best way to get that research done. I think Skylab -- an orbiting laboratory that is occupied for a while every now and then to do complex experiments that actually need to be done in space and can't easily be done using unmanned vehicles was probably a better approach.

        Moonbase? Not a current need I think. Instead, spend a lot less, spend a couple of decades looking at the moon intensively with rovers and low altitude observation satellites. Then -- If there is stuff that actually needs human inspection, by all means, send some folks out to look at it.

        1. John Mangan

          @vtcodger

          I think the point is that it is very likely nobody would spend money on this stuff if there weren't a big push for the purposes of'wasteful' things like space flight - but once created their uses overflow - unless you can justify your statement that "Historically, the cross over from space exploration to other situations has been surprisingly small".

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Historically, the cross over from space exploration to other situations has been surprisingly small.

          You aren't posting that from a cell phone are you?

          Because LSI ...

          1. vtcodger Silver badge

            Re: Historically, the cross over from space exploration to other situations ...

            LSI is NOT a product of the space program. In point of fact space qualified electronics takes so long to develop and test that it is generally a few years behind what you can buy at Best Buy or your local drugstore by the time it actually makes it into service. There are other concerns -- power budgets, radiation hardening, vibration hardening materials limitations, temperature ranges -- that also hold space qualified designs back a bit relative to commercial products. If you are curious, here's a link that addresses a few aspects of space qualified electronics. https://www.analog.com/en/technical-articles/challenges-for-electronic-circuits-in-space-applications.html

            The only example I can think of where "space" work actually drove civilian technology was the funding of supercomputers by the Anti-ballistic-missile people in the 1960s and 1970s, and I honestly don't think it made all that much difference. The oil companies needed big iron for seismic data analysis so supercomputers probably would have happened anyway. The oil companies even built their own supercomputer, the TI Advanced Scientific Computer.

            Maybe GPS counts. It's certainly very important. But it's a military technology that has been hijacked by civilians. It's not a fall out from the civilian space program. The same is sort of true of other enormously useful satellite technologies -- weather satellites, communication satellites, satellite resource mapping.

            I think if you do some research, you'll find that NASA does a lot of great science. But the notion that it's a wellspring of useful innovation that then makes it's way from space to civilian products is mostly a product of the dubious mental processes of PR folk.

            1. Stevie Silver badge

              Re: Historically, the cross over from space exploration to other situations ...

              Digital watches were developed specifically to go to the moon as regular watches were deemed "inaccurate".

              Then it was found that relativistic effects caused a measurable time difference over the course of the trip anyway.

              DAMN YOU, LAWS OF PHYSICS!

            2. Stevie Silver badge

              Re: Historically, the cross over from space exploration to other situations ...

              The money that funded the development of LSI fabrication techniques was derived from the space programs need for more electronics in lighter packages.

              You may not like it, but your cell phone is in your hand now as opposed to maybe 20 years from now because of the push to beat the Russians to the moon.

              Only military-type projects get that sort of acceleration in the 60s. Civ manufacturing was happy to sell stable old tech as long as they could.

              Civ manufacturers know what happens when they get caught up in tech races. They alienate customers and drive retail prices down while pushing R&D budgets through the roof and landing themselves with worthless inventory every time there's a "quantum" leap.

              See: VCT/CD/DVD/Blu-Ray/Download media formats.

              But if you can land a military/NASA project to pay for the R&D with tax monies, you are in like Flynn.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Historically, the cross over from space exploration

            Fairchild and the birth of Silicon Valley are intertwined with space [at one point they WERE on the cutting edge of lightweight electronics, the digital B/W motion picture camera on the Moon is another example] but not necessarily peaceful uses of space (see Fairchild Wiki page and the Minuteman Ballistic Missile). Admittedly, this does not hold now, other markets drive development.

        3. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "Moonbase? Not a current need I think."

          Read Roving Mars by Steve Squires and dig up some of his interviews. He often mentions how much more productive a person is over a robot. His Mars rovers would take a day or two to inspect a rock outcropping that a human geologist could examine in minutes with nothing more than eyeballs and a hammer.

          Robots are good at dedicated tasks, but they have very little flexibility. If you want to look for certain minerals across a large area, use a robot. If you want to find what is the most interesting thing about that same area, a person will do a better and faster job.

    5. Toltec

      I've never down voted a post before.

      Always a first time I suppose and worth saving it for this.

    6. John Savard Silver badge

      No.

      It is not, in any way whatsoever, questionable that two astronauts landed on the Moon in each of the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 missions. This is recognized and accepted as a fact of history, confirmed by the hundreds of scientists who studied the Apollo lunar samples. The notion that the Apollo landings were faked is a fantasy of deranged conspiracy theorists, and nothing more.

      1. Anomalous Cowshed

        Re: conspiracy theories

        Anyone can allege that something didn't happen, and people will start believing it: for instance, the Apollo Moon landings, the Holocaust.

        It's difficult to debunk a conspiracy theory. You cannot simply say: "oh yes it did happen". That's just not enough. It's the equivalent of the conspiracy theorist's gambit, in reverse.

        However, I believe that if you go about it rationally, you can have a shot at it.

        You have to ask yourself, on the balance of probabilities, given the connected elements that are NOT CHALLENGED by the conspiracy theory (in the case of moon landings: a huge rocket as tall as a skyscraper rising up into the air with a massive fiery burst, a lack of denial of the Apollo Moon landings by even the enemies of the United States at the time and to this very day, a lack of recanting by any of the astronauts, even 50 years after the landings, lots of satellites orbiting the planet in space, lots of smaller rockets that launch satellites and that send travellers into orbit, Kepler's rules, the figures for the distance between the Earth and the Moon) and then tangential elements to establish context and scale (such as the huge number of silvery tubes with wings that fly between cities on earth at untold speeds, conveying hundreds of people over thousands of miles in a matter of hours, the incredible technologies that enable miniaturisation of electronics to the point that we can each carry the equivalent of a 1970s supercomputer in our pockets, the terrible power of atomic bombs, that can reduce entire cities to rubble, etc.), whether you think it is believable that mankind could have pulled off such a feat.

        I think on the balance of probabilities, based on such an analysis, it is.

        If the conspiracy theory denies ALL directly linked and tangential elements, then you have to ask yourself whether their position is realistic or constitutes bad faith or a delusion.

        There's a saying that goes like this: "The more you deny reality, the more mad you are." Not necessarily wrong, but mad - i.e. imbued with an alternative interpretation of the world relative to the general world view.

    7. Christoph Silver badge

      The money was not spent in space. It did not disappear.

      The money was spent on Earth, stimulated the economy, and is still circulating.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Expendable resources @Christoph

        Whilst what you said about money is mostly true, expendable resources were used, in the form of RP-1 kerosene and LOX, plus a range of relatively rare metals and other materials, which although most of the products probably remained within Earth's gravitational well, were expended and are basically unrecoverable, during the flights.

        I personally think that space exploration is worth pursuing, but you have to admit that there are costs involved.

        I believe that rather than finding ways of keeping an ever expanding population alive to have more children (especially in areas of the world with marginal capability to support humans), leading to further population growth, we should be looking at how to educate and persuade the people of Earth (and their respective Governments) to stabilize the number of mouths to feed. Once this is done, space exploration will be seen as more affordable.

        Unfortunately, current whole World Economics is built on continual growth (both in terms of consumption and production), so no governments are really interested in stopping the rise in the population!

    8. Alphebatical
      Facepalm

      Out of curiosity, do you have a reason as to why the Soviets wouldn't have called out the US if the landings were faked? That's one question I've never heard a satisfactory answer to.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'll give it a go..

        Because Russia is the only supplier of Chemtrail juice, and we'd quit buying?

        Because if they spilled the beans, people would launch rockets for reals and would find out about the secret world goberment base past Antarctica (not on, *past*, the earth is flat, sheeple!)?

        Because their space program is faker than ours?

        Because they also trade with secret alien societies?

        How am I doing at the tinfoil hat routine?

        1. Kernel Silver badge

          Re: I'll give it a go..

          "How am I doing at the tinfoil hat routine?"

          You missed the one about the other 'similar to but not quite' humans that live in the centre of our hollow planet, with access to our world via a hole near the North Pole.

          1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: I'll give it a go..

            @Kernel - "You missed the one about the other 'similar to but not quite' humans that live in the centre of our hollow planet, with access to our world via a hole near the North Pole."

            Wait, so the Earth is flat AND hollow? Euclid lied!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'll give it a go..

            Yeah, and those lucky bastards still get to ride dinosaurs.

      2. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

        I've never had anyone answer that one either. Pretty much the first argument I use now anytime I encounter a lunatic. Saves a lot of time, because they either just disappear from the conversation, or spout some extremely weird nonsense that tells me that they are well beyond reasoning and I shouldn't waste the effort.

        The most common "explanation" I've heard was that the Russians were lizard people that were worried that if they proved the US didn't get to moon, then humanity would keep trying until we succeeded and would've stumbled onto their lizard base.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Because the soviet union was also faked.

          Have you seen the footage of anything built in Russia in the 60s/70s/80s?

          It was all such low budget crap it was obviously knocked together on a backlot for cheap.

          Do you know any friends / neighbors who visited the USSR? No - because it was all faked....

          1. Nick Ryan Silver badge
            WTF?

            You think that's bad?

            Consider the moon. Not only is the thing not made of cheese, of any variety, it doesn't even really exist. Seriously. It is nothing more than a circular disk stuck on a nightime sky-scape. I know this is true because I saw the Truman documentary which is obviously true becaue of the name. Also, stars are not real and are just stage lights.

            Get with the program, sheeple.

          2. Paul Cooper

            Actually, I and about 30 other youngsters from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire went to the USSR in 1971! School trip to Moscow and Leningrad, would you believe?

            1. red floyd

              You're just a shill for Big MOON!!!

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              >from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire went to the USSR in 1971!

              I'm from sheffield and in the 70s the USSR used to send people to us to see what true communism would be like.

          3. Precordial thump
            Coat

            There's an alleged nuclear power plant near Pripyat that fell to pieces decades ago...

            (too soon?)

    9. el_oscuro
      FAIL

      Clean drinking water is also a pretty big requirement for any permanent Moon colony. Except the Moon makes the Sahara look like a paradise. Don't you think the technology used to manage water on the Moon might solve some of those same problems on Earth?

    10. Citizens untied

      Until you account for all of the environmental damage your millions of neglected humans (please remember the extinctions) cause, or dream of causing, I could honestly care less.

      Space exploration, by definition, is an exercise in resource limits and conservation. It may be some of the most useful science and engineering being practiced.

    11. Esme

      andy103, attempts to get the human species as a whole to behave entirely rationally have thus far failed and seem doomed to failure for the forseeable future. If you're expecting that to change anytime soon, you're delusional, although I wish to heck that somehow that particular feat could be achieved in an ethically acceptable manner. Maybe it's a failure of my imagination, but I can't see how that could be achieved.

      But that's not a good reason for us to not do anything else aside from trying to achieve that particular impossibility, as has been pointed out eloquently by others in this thread. As have the likely benefits from us getting out there , developing resources for use down here and establishing colonies, etc.

      With regard to your claims about whether humans have been to the moon or not already, there appear to be only three options - you either understand science insufficiently to know what you are talking about, you are a delusional conspiracy theorist, or you are a troll. In the first instance, improving your science education will save yourself from embarrassing yourself in public like this in future. In the second, please go and seek the help you need, and if the third is correct, also please go seek the help you need.

      Being an idealist is good - but you have to be a realistic in your approach to things. If my ideal world came to pass many here would probably deem it a Socialist Utopia - but human nature being what it is, I doubt that would ever be achievable (not least because my idea of a Utopia apparently fills some folk with horror), so rather than berate the bulk of humanity for not being as logical and cooperative as I'd like them to be, I instead applaud those doing worthy things and hope that, one way or another, it will lead to better things somewhere, somewhen, for at least some folk. That, at least, seems a realistically achievable goal.

      Getting heavy industry out in space using resources mined off-planet could well help things down here quite a lot, and thus I applaud those working on getting us Out There in order to start doing those things rather than berating folk for not fulfilling my Utopian dreams. And it's not as if many people aren't doing their best to work on the very problems you mention as well. It isn't a one or the other situation, and denying ourselves the benefits of getting into space will not magically solve other problems. That's simply wishful thinking. Or trolling.

      1. John Mangan

        @Esme

        I tried REALLY hard but I could only upvote this once, sorry.

    12. The IT Ghost

      Walter Mondale was saying pretty much the same thing in the early 1970s. Here we are, 45 years later with a busted space program, still spending money by the billions on "social programs", and people still don't have all these great things. People should have learned decades ago - government doesn't fix problems. They just throw money at them and hope something good happens they can claim credit for.

    13. Patrician

      "Which is still questionable to this day"

      No. it's not "questionable" if you understood the engineering and science; have a read here:-

      http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/tv/foxapollo.html

    14. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      WTF?

      In reverse order:

      Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there. A very strange set of priorities for human beings - let's try and live on the Moon whilst neglecting millions of people who are still on Earth who have solvable issues? Are you serious?

      Because I am willing to help my fellow human doesn't mean I should forsake all other endeavors and resign myself and my heirs to a joyless existence. As far as going to the moon or flying to distant stars, I am willing to put quite a it of effort and resource into getting away from the kind of idiocy you're pushing.

      Indeed there are things on Earth where the money would be far better spent. Clean drinking water for everyone?

      Really? So ensuring the long term survival of the species in the face of another extinction event is not a good idea? Confused how resource allocation within a budgetary process works or simply pissed because it didn't yield the result you hoped for? If it means so much to you, go do something instead of bitching about it here. You might actually accomplish something worthwhile and at least you have some control over how your time is spent. With any luck, you'll be able to find something more useful to do than mildly irritating those around you.

      That's assuming they went in the first place. Which is still questionable to this day.

      Just because someone continues to question doesn't mean the issue hasn't been long settled. I should mention that it's good of you to do so as everyone who read your post understands quite well what they are dealing with, but I don't think that was your intent.

  4. hplasm Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

    Why don't you do that, and let us know when you are up to speed with things, eh?

    1. andy 103

      Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

      The point being, how can anyone prioritise going to the Moon (either to visit or stay) when there are literally millions of people on Earth who are not having their basic needs met? Clean drinking water was 1 of many many examples.

      How is that a reasonable position for a species that's supposed to care and have empathy towards other human beings?

      If that's your attitude then maybe living on the Moon would be a good idea...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

        Yes, let's stop all scientific progress, and instead channel all resources into keeping ever more people alive. I mean, it's not as if the single biggest problem we face is having too many people on the planet ...

        1. andy 103

          Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

          "into keeping ever more people alive"

          Wow, just wow. There was someone in the 1930's-40's who had a similar attitude.

          Maybe we should shut down hospitals too as that would help solve your resource problems? Could use the spare change to send a couple of people to the Moon. Fucking moron.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

            "Fucking moron."

            You lose.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

            "Maybe we should shut down hospitals too as that would help solve your resource problems?"

            Well, yes, if we're into silly arguments. We could channel the extra money into clean water. Or we could abandon the clean water and put it all into more food. There's one word which you seem to have forgotten: balance.

          3. Mike Moyle Silver badge

            Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

            The Earth is finite.

            Therefore, it has finite resources.

            Any closed system, the laws of thermodynamics tell us, is a losing proposition; entropy inevitably increases. Hence, recycling what we have here while avoiding "spending billions out there" (...what are we spending our money on "out there"...? I thought it was all paying for stuff down HERE that would GET us out there!) is, inevitably, a losing proposition. It will allow us to deplete our resources more slowly, but just as inevitably.

            Meanwhile, "solving" one problem (or, at least, reducing that problem's impact below the threshold where it's seen as a problem) simply raises ANOTHER problem into the position that that one formerly held. Eliminating smallpox simply made some OTHER disease the Number N killer in the world. Were we able to eliminate every disease but the common cold then, by definition, the common cold would be the major killer in public health and so would absolutely HAVE to be solved before we did anything else. This trend holds for ANY group of problems: Demanding that [set of problems] MUST be solved before [other thing] can be done doesn't mean that [other thing] will ever get done if [set of problems] actually DOES get solved; all it means, inevitably, is that [new set of problems] will now be the bugbears that MUST BE SOLVED before we can even THINK about doing [other thing].

            ...And -- based on the above mentioned laws of thermodynamics -- [new set of problems] will need to be solved with fewer resources than were available to solve the ORIGINAL [set of problems].

            Thus, the end result of a "fix everything down here before even THINKING about going out there" mentality is -- inevitably -- that eventually we will no longer have the resources available to us to make the sustained effort necessary and it will be IMPOSSIBLE to leave the Earth at all, since we will have "conserved" and "recycled" ourselves into poverty for all.

            OTOH, there appear to be vastly greater resources, in terms of energy, minerals and hydrocarbons, in the asteroid belt, the gas giants, and their moons -- not to mention the sheer amount of new knowledge learned out there and while trying to GET out there -- -- which, if we could but access them, might help us solve those Earthbound problems.

            1. Mr Humbug

              I see what you mean, but actually the Earth is not a closed system. It receives energy from the sun - which is why the creationists' argument that evolution contravenes the second law of thermodynamics is wrong.

          4. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

            "There was someone in the 1930's-40's who had a similar attitude."

            A Godwinner is you! Thread over. For you, anyway. The rest of us can go on with business as usual.

          5. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

            Nonono Old Boy, you missed that gentleman's subtext. His initial move was to get elbow room so even *more* of the "right" people could breed freely.

            I believe the poster you were responding to was suggesting that there is a simple, non-lethal method for reducing the load on the Earth's finite resources - contraception.

            Proper education and easy access to contraception would solve many of the Earth's resource-stress-induced problems and kill no-one. Of course, then you wouldn't be able to view pregnancy as God's Punishment for Ungodly Behavior inconvenient blessing whose life is to be treasured until old enough to hold a gun.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

          That's actually not a bad idea. In *practice* it's impossible.

          Same with science. It's not a bad idea, but in practice, we hit all the problems (tools turned to weapons, great data used for fake opinions etc).

          If we dropped 99% of science, but spent our entire time looking after other people, and 100% of the world did that, it'd be a great place to live. As most disease/illness is covered already (and even was to some extent in the past).

          War, and fighting over resources, exuberates a lot of the problems science is trying to "solve". And the biggest most perfect hammer in the universe, is still only a hammer. Needs the right person to use it.

          Don't make the same error as the poster above, 2 wrongs don't make a right. But only 1 right (science or devoting time to care for others) is a start, not an exclusive/excluded option list. :)

          1. vtcodger Silver badge

            Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

            That's actually not a bad idea. In *practice* it's impossible.

            Perhaps it's impossible. But we could try to avoid doing things that obviously aren't very productive. Right now -- and for the foreseeable future I fear -- an appalling percentage of our space activity funding is going to be spent on building huge rockets rather than on the payloads. Seems to me that's closer to pyramid building than science. Spending resource to get the (spectacularly late and over budget) James Webb Space Observatory out to L2 certainly qualifies as science. Hopefully the damn thing works.

            Spending resource to get a few astronauts back to the moon OTOH seems mostly pointless.

      2. John Mangan

        Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

        This is such a tired old trope; any discovery, any research CAN pay dividends for humanity. CAN, not necessarily will because of politics, greed, religious conflict, tribal jealousies and on and on. To do NOTHING until ALL of humanity's problems are solved is a sure way to solve NONE of them (sorry, channelled BB a bit there).

        "Hey, why are you leaving Africa when there's still people here living in caves?"

        "Columbus, get out of that boat! There are people living in squalor here"

        "Orville, Wilbur stop tinkering with that contraption and sort out the plight of the native americans."

        And you really should know better than to try and throw doubt on the moon landings on a site such as this!

        1. andy 103

          Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

          "throw doubt on the moon landings on a site such as this!"

          Bias doesn't equate to facts. This isn't the Daily Mail either.

          1. John Mangan

            Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

            It's not a matter of bias:

            - a nationwide building and R&D process

            - a worldwide tracking and communications effort

            - a cold war environment in which you can be certain the Russians were also monitoring and would have happily spilt the beans

            - rocks retrieved from the moon and analysed around the world

            - mirrors planted on the moon that to this day allow range-finding

            That's just a short list that appeared in my mind in less than 30 seconds. I'm sure there are plenty more I, and others, could produce with a couple of moments thought.

            Are you also a member of the Flat Earth Society?

          2. Glen 1 Silver badge

            Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

            Bias doesn't. Data does.

            There is an overwhelming amount of evidence we went to the moon. Not least that the main competitors, Russia, believe it. (Y'know, people with radar and everything)

            The burden of proof is on you.

          3. iron Silver badge

            Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

            > Bias doesn't equate to facts.

            Based on your posts in this thead I don't think you'd recognise a fact if I hit you over the head with it.

        2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

          Do NOTHING until ALL of humanity's problems are solved

          I don't agree with that approach but I do sympathise with the view that there can be better and more worthwhile things to spunk tens of billions on.

          I recognise that even tens of billions are a drop in the ocean when it comes to how much we would need to solve the problems the world has, how little such huge sums amount to when divied-out across the people who need help, but it often does feel our priorities are very wrong.

          It's not unreasonable that some people feel the same way about space exploration as others do about 'wasting money' on HS2, nukes, armies, art, free healthcare, or whatever their pet peeve is.

          1. Citizens untied

            Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

            These are more than pet peeves. War is just about the most reckless and vain human activity. I used to feel a little awkward with the "War is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things" posters, think that this was the sentiment of someone who didn't understand modernity.

            I realize the person who cam up with this PERFECTLY understands it, and is wondering why the rest of us don't.

      3. TopCat72

        Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

        Why can't we do both?

      4. iron Silver badge

        Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

        > Clean drinking water was 1 of many many examples.

        Perfect example. The Apollo programme invented water purifiers.

        Tell me again how never going to space would have enabled us to improve clean drinking water on Earth.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

          Clean drinking water in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd world comes from the invention of concrete - and a reduction in wars which allow you to build and keep the pipes

          Apollo's water purifiers (electronic ion release) doesn't have a big role in an African village

      5. Kernel Silver badge

        Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

        "How is that a reasonable position for a species that's supposed to care and have empathy towards other human beings?"

        I think you'll find that that is a developed/learned behaviour, as opposed to what we really are by nature - an intelligent and extremely adaptable animal that got to where it is today by pursuing a programme of aggressive expansion at any cost, especially towards anything, including members of our own species, that got in the way.

        The meek won't really inherit the earth and people are generally going to put their own interests ahead of some unknown's.

      6. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Let's start with the basics and then work forward from there.

        Andy 103, A good video to look up is Al Bartlett's "Arithmetic, Population and Energy" for a look into how population growth hasn't been a good thing. You could also read Malthus.

        Millions of people alive today that don't get enough to eat, drink and proper shelter isn't going to be solved with money. In some parts of the world, people have lots of kids because they know that many of them won't live past childhood and the ones that do are the retirement plan of their parents to have somebody to look after them when they get too old to look after themselves. There is also the problem of certain cultures that put an emphasis on large families. There is lack of reproductive knowledge and education of women which is shown to lead to small family sizes through planning. The one that bugs me the most is religious edicts that demonize reproductive education and prohibit contraception.

        I see a downside of going back to the moon is that it will be safer to work on vaccines and therapies for viruses that are highly dangerous to work with on Earth. Stuff like Ebola, Marbug, SHF. A moon lab isolated so it can be "burned down" in the event of a mishap would make working on these dangerous organisms much safer. This would mean that more people would survive this very infectious diseases. You have to realize that disease is often nature's way of controlling a population that is too successful and isn't being kept down through predation.

        Some problems can't be fixed by the simple application of money. Los Angeles has a big homeless problem and passed new taxes to provide funds to build low cost housing and shelters for people that find themselves living rough. So far they've been pissing the money away on studies, permits, city fees, consultants, etc. What they've come up with are living units costing around $600,000ea. The level of stupidity is so high that it's hard to see how it could reach such heights. A few hours from Los Angeles, homes can be purchased for around $200,000. Decent homes with lots of space, not dinky little "living units".

        Stopping all science is never going to solve societies problems. Enabling people to live a worthless life by giving them food, shelter, health care, mobile, utilities, transportation and entertainment so they can get even more by popping out another child year after year instead of funding science doesn't move humanity forward. Governments are encouraging children to be born out of wedlock as a single mother can get subsides that a couple could not. It makes more sense for people to not make the commitment of marriage from a financial standpoint. They just put "unknown" for father on the birth certificate so the father won't be trussed up in court and made to pay for his offspring. The State would have to spend huge sums of money to prove paternity if they suspect that the woman's current "partner" is the father of her child(ren).

        While "literally" millions of people aren't having they basic needs met, they aren't spending their nights contemplating their navels. They seem to be up to something. Perhaps that's the problem and not the program to put a permanent base on the moon.

  5. sbt Silver badge

    ..to stay

    For some reason my first thought was of the Safire memo, if 11 didn't get home.

    Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

    Surely extended visits are in order before a permanent base can be established.

    1. Ken 16 Silver badge

      Re: ..to stay

      There can be a permanently staffed base which different teams of astronauts occupy for extended visits. No one is, I hope, suggesting one way missions.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: ..to stay

        Just curious, if there's bodies in a graveyard can you say the graveyards permanently staffed?

        Umm... Asking for a friend... Hey hey, dont push, I'll get my coat...

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: ..to stay

          There's a graveyard in my town marked on the maps as 'disused'. I'm not entirely sure how you can have a 'disused graveyard'.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: ..to stay

            I suppose it's slightly more meaningful than a "No Vacancies" sign.

      2. sbt Silver badge
        WTF?

        That's one giant leap

        I'm certainly not suggesting one way. It was just the use of the word "stay".

        But is it realistic, after a ~50 year absence, to immediately establish permanent occupation? Surely you've got to make a whole bunch of supply runs, establish life support, protection from cosmic rays, escape systems, redundant power supplies, etc?

        Or it is going to be like when rich folks go on a short camping trip but take 10 suitcases and a few trunks?

      3. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: ..to stay

        "No one is, I hope, suggesting one way missions."

        I can think of a few good candidates . . .

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: ..to stay

          I suspect these candidates are not good! They are more the kind of narcissistic, lying scum bags that seem to be infecting politics even more openly and brazenly that previously. Possibly some of their handlers/funders/backers too.

          1. Ardly

            Re: ..to stay

            The name 'Bercow' springs to mind!

  6. Mo'Fo B'dass

    here we go again...

    We spend trillions of dollars worldwide on weapons, make-up, smartphones, fashion, iffy drugs and so on - all the flim flam of daily life. Hardly any of this expenditure enhances the lives of the poor. Spend a few million quid on a space program and everybody jumps up and down about "wasting money" and that all our earthly problems should be sorted out first. These very same people probably also pay good money for loads of unessential items and probably DONT send all their money to charity. I just don't get it.

    The human race can either sit here with our noses in the dirt, murdering each other whenever a "leader" stands to gain something or we can lift our heads up and reach for the stars and embrace the universe. Our world view would likely change and with that being so we may develop a more balanced approach to life on Earth , abandoning narrow nationalistic and religious concerns in favour of a benevolent society that is fair to all who live here (including the flora and fauna that we share it with)

    Just my tuppence

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: here we go again...

      Well said!

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: here we go again...

      But the space program diverted all of our brightest graduates into science and engineering for 20 years.

      It was only in the late 90s and mid 2000s once they switched to Wall St that we saw the amazing gains when you have all the brightest people competing to sell shares to each other faster and faster.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: here we go again...

        Nearly... promising to sell shares to each other faster and faster while betting on the non-transactions and marginal changes in value as a result. All faster and faster but with no genuine transactions. It almost makes the historic fascination with perpetual motion machines look sane.

    3. Long John Brass Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: here we go again...

      <Rant>

      My guess is...

      The people moaning about solving earthly problems first, are the sort of retards that know quite well, they will be left behind to rot once the rest of us bugger off for a better brighter future.

      Or at least that what they are worried about; Better to drag everyone down with them, than be left behind

      </Rant>

      /me my coat, leaving.

  7. AceRimmer1980
    Alien

    That's no moon

    that's a paydirt station.

  8. John Savard Silver badge

    Another Option

    Either go back to the Moon to stay, building permanent bases - or, go back to the Moon simply to confirm that the development of technology for a trip to Mars is genuinely producing working equipment. Either way, a trip to the Moon would be genuinely useful.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Another Option

      >Either way, a trip to the Moon would be genuinely useful.

      Not necessarily, if it just developed throw away technology to meet some arbitrary time/budget deadline.

      Making a single use Concorde which could fly from London to Ireland where it would crash land after jettisoning its single use rocket engines wouldn't be a useful first step in making transatlantic flights routine.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Another Option

        That is true, however many of the ealiest planes were pretty damn close to single use.

      2. the Jim bloke Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Another Option

        sounds like you are describing an ICBM - (or are they Ballistic if they are rocket driven anyway?) or an intermediate range one maybe.. anyway..

        and a shit-ton of money and effort went into those, and the manned space flight descended from those...

        Even the most insignificant knowledge or technology may lead to world altering discoveries further down the line.

        Except for social media.

        That's a complete waste of entropy.

  9. Baldrickk Silver badge

    Can we get a swimming pool up there?

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Lunar IQ for Meddling in the Fettling of the Madness and Mayhems in Conflicts and CHAOS.*

    Tweaking the orbits of a civilisation-threatening asteroid was, he said, "slightly redesigning the solar system to ensure survival".

    It is, he admitted, "an audacious statement to make".

    And currently extremely prescient too.*

    *Another audacious outrageous statement shared for Immediate Realisation of Future Fact/AIMedia Current Presentation

    1. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Lunar IQ for Meddling in the Fettling of the Madness and Mayhems in Conflicts and CHAOS.*

      AManFromMars! At last! We were waiting for your expert opinion here...

    2. Aussie Doc
      Pint

      Re: Lunar IQ for Meddling in the Fettling of the Madness and Mayhems in Conflicts and CHAOS.*

      I swear you wrote the instruction manual for my Chinese metal lathe.

      Makes just as much sense.

  11. batfink Silver badge

    Technological advance is not the point here

    There are two reasons why this is happening, and neither of them has anything to do with space exploration, technological advances, whatever.

    They are:

    1. Donny wants to be able to say "I Made America Great Again by landing on the moon!" (with intermediate stage claims as required by elections, natch...);

    2. Donny wants to spend large amounts of taxpayers' money creating jobs (see above). Moon shots are as good as anything for this.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Technological advance is not the point here

      Well, there are six plaques on the Moon with Nixon's signature already, why not put another one with Donnie-Two-Bibles' scrawl there.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Technological advance is not the point here

      3, Donny wants to go around saying "space: remember the 60s when America was great and China was poor and women and minorities knew their place? "Vote Donny"

      You don't actually have to bother with any details like an actual plan or budget once the tweet has landed

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Technological advance is not the point here

      I can't remember if Bill Clinton talked up going to the moon/Mars, but Bush II and Obama both did. President Trump is just following tradition. If it buys a few votes, job done whether the US ever goes back or not. Even if President Trump wins a second term in office, it's unlikely that he will be the US President if people are sent to the moon again.

      I agree with the other that would hate to see a useless grandstanding, flag-planting return to the moon. There needs to be a goal further along than just doing it again. Planning a base, deciding on the sorts of science to begin with is going to take time to plan, engineer and build. That will be more than the 5 years that President Trump could remain in office. My feeling is that if one of the more socialist candidates takes the office, it will be at least four more years before any work is done and possibly eight. None of them has any plans other than printing money as fast as they can and giving it out to secure votes in the next election. Bread and Circuses.

  12. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Terminator

    Parts of this post may contain nuts

    You want AI? You want robots? Send three robots to the Moon, if one were to break it could be mended by the other two. Also send a big box of spares and the equipment to build a human habitat. It seems foolish to expect astronauts to somehow build their own habitat when machines could have done it for them prior to their arrival.

    On arrival if they find one robot with three heads and a structure similar to the leaning tower of Pisa be afraid, very afraid.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: Parts of this post may contain nuts

      You mean like this?

      https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/reddwarf/images/c/c9/Spareheads.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20140602034628

      I doubt it would be leaning though, from a mindset that insists sandwiches need to be made using a set-square.

  13. astounded1

    Rusty is a proud graduate of Manasquan High School. As is the actor Jack Nicholson. The original E Street Band piano player Dave Sancious. And yours truly. We had a very diverse academic offering. How I wound up looking into a computer screen on the Wirral proves that not everyone who went to that school wound up a success!

  14. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    In celebration of this year's 50th anniversary of the first humans on the moon, the Ohio State Marching Band staged this wonderful performance on Saturday:

    https://youtu.be/RIN45HwRx88

  15. RichardB

    "flew over to Marshall Space Flight Centre in my T 38"

    Cracking bit of understatement just casually dropped in there.

    I'll Just hop in and fly -my- supersonic jet over there....As one does.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "flew over to Marshall Space Flight Centre in my T 38"

      >-my- supersonic jet

      Whose jet?

      And why did he have to burn $000/hour for a military jet instead of flying commercially?

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: "flew over to Marshall Space Flight Centre in my T 38"

        And why did he have to burn $000/hour for a military jet instead of flying commercially?

        Because speed.

        1. Notas Badoff

          Re: "flew over to Marshall Space Flight Centre in my T 38"

          Actually because he was still a pilot in the Air Force and *had* to get in the hours per month/year to stay flight qualified. You might have missed reference to this in "The Right Stuff" where, once the astronauts' problems were relayed high enough, higher ranks were bumped off the flight schedule in favor of the astronauts, who had been starved for time.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: "flew over to Marshall Space Flight Centre in my T 38"

        "And why did he have to burn $000/hour for a military jet instead of flying commercially?"

        Because it would take too much time to get the voucher sent in, sent back, subject to public enquiry, buried in soft peat and recycled as firelighters over just checking out the T-38 for a couple of days and gassing up at the government jet fuel depot.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real answer to why we go to the moon?

    Because it's there.

  17. Brangdon

    "I don't see how we're coming up with a much better spacecraft."

    What does he mean by this? Is he saying that Saturn V is the best possible rocket? Or is this a criticism of SLS specifically? It's certainly possible to come up with better spacecraft than either. 100% reuse would be a good start.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: "I don't see how we're coming up with a much better spacecraft."

      100% reuse is a horrible start. The more robust you build aerospace parts, the heavier they get. More mass means bigger engines, more fuel or less payload. Landing gear on a rocket is a big mass penalty in addition to the added fuel requirements to boost them up and set them down again.

      It was tried with the Space Shuttle and wound up adding way more cost than they had thought initially.

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