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Quietly, NASA is reconsidering the moon as a destination

April 5, 2015

Despite a declaration from President Barack Obama that the moon is not a planned destination for American astronauts, senior NASA engineers have quietly begun reconsidering it as a staging point for an eventual mission to Mars. […] Gerstenmaier believes large amounts of ice at the lunar poles may provide an important reservoir of oxygen and hydrogen fuel to propel rockets and spaceships across the 40 million miles of space to Mars. NASA officials have begun talking about an “Evolvable Mars Campaign,” which recognizes the technical and financial challenges of reaching Mars, and the likelihood that the United States would not support an all-out, Apollo-like plan. […] the moon-then-Mars pathway would also find support in Congress, which has been reluctant to support NASA’s asteroid-then-Mars pathway. Benefits to Houston center […] much of NASA’s renewed assessment of the moon has flown under the radar, but engineers familiar with the agency’s work say the lunar option is being kept open for when it’s more politically acceptable. Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, said the moon offers NASA the best opportunity to maintain a robust exploration program after the International Space Station, while also easing the formidable task of sending humans to Mars.

Source: www.houstonchronicle.com

NASA is taking a serious look at using the moon as a stepping stone to an eventual crewed Mars mission.

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