(Image Credit: NASA)
With NASA preparing itself for a second encounter with the lunar surface, some scientists are attempting to lessen the load by landing lunar bases on the Moon ahead of the men (as well as women).
(MSNBC) Doug Cooke, NASA's deputy associate administrator for exploration systems, said that the space agency's revised lunar plan calls for the launching of larger habitats to the moon on unmanned cargo flights. That way, the first new lunar astronauts could begin to reap science rewards faster than if they had to haul smaller habitat sections and hardware to the moon on each flight, then combine them into a larger base to support long-duration expeditions.
According to the article, NASA intends upon landing up to "three large habitats" upon the Moon's surface, although time will only tell if Congress will be favorable to the idea (as they are in charge of NASA's "pot of gold").
Landing the bases first is probably a great idea, as that would free up space on future human launches for more food, scientific equipment, and water (which is probably very scarce on the Moon).
But lunar bases are lately not the only thing on NASA's mind, as they are dreaming up a new type of rover to roam the moon's surface.
(MSNBC) "They're basically habitats on wheels," Gernhardt said, adding that the new vehicles would be about the same size as the unpressurized rovers driven by astronauts during NASA's Apollo moon landings. "If you can picture this thing, it's kind of a combination between a spacesuit and a sports car."
This new type of rover (if it will ever get developed) will be able to take longer excursions around the lunar surface, not to mention probably be a bit more comfortable on humans. Future colonists would be able to make trips ranging from a few days to two weeks, giving them a bit more mobility away from their lunar camp.
Want more space geek news? Then subscribe below via email, RSS or twitter for free updates! Prefer another service? How about via RSS or follow Colony Worlds on Twitter!