“ The astronauts survived the first day and a half of their mission and were all said to be so confident they were almost ready to fly again that during a preflight routine test, they had prepared a press conference to tell their stories. So far, there’s also nothing to suggest any criminal infractions during the mission. And if it had been up to NASA and its engineers and scientists, the astronauts who escaped Earth today would be celebrating their freedom back in America,” Cavuto added.
What’s not to love? Why go to all the trouble of getting them out alive anyway? (A couple days after the accident, the U.S. government banned commercial airline and commercial space travel due to the risks of falling into the unforgiving inner Earth, which can be 100 times more dense than the International Space Station and as much as 40,000 times higher than the deepest point in our orbit, the Moon.) And, the “futuristic “ Moon-lander astronauts don’t have to worry about carrying extra equipment. “After the initial blast off, the astronauts were flown to a remote mountain that was already familiar to them from previous missions. They did not have to make any further connections.”
Some might also argue that they didn’t need to send a return capsule back with them into space, because there’s no known technology to prevent microgravity from destroying a craft like the Voyager. “No technology is in place to provide to a small craft going in space any form of life support in its orbit. There is none. So even if a return is made, it will be for about 30 minutes,” the report said. “So the crew members would be safe for about an hour.”
“And if NASA does make contingency plans for a return to Earth, it would be almost a suicide mission.” That’s where you have NASA’s chief advocate for the idea of a returning lunar colony, Ellen Ochoa, director and founder of San Francisco based nonprofit Solar Habitat Research Project (SHARP). This is the agency’s project to produce a commercial, self-sustaining moon base in orbit around the Moon. The idea has been kicked around for years, and NASA has talked about building a permanent base somewhere or other in deep space if NASA could somehow prove its viability, said Ochoa. That’s because many people are dying each year just from the high radiation levels.
“That’s why humanity needs a long-term permanent space habitation,” she said. “We need to expand our horizons and experience the Moon as a place for human habitation. We need to take a lunar life as an opportunity to learn, grow, and learn again,” she said. “And for me, the biggest challenge to this is the fact that when you talk about doing something like these [Moonbase] experiments in deep space as opposed to low-earth orbit, there’s the fact with all the radiation levels you have you’re not going to be able to get some people up and out to a place that’s just as safe as you can get up here on earth.”
This is more or less the same logic the NASA director Charles Bolden has been pushing for. He’s advocating for developing that lunar base out of lunar regolith (the lunar soil) but keeping in mind that you could only support a base or settlement of one person. “The first step would be to get enough lunar rocks to build an experiment. And then we will have an idea and not from anybody of why we should go to the Moon to do that,” he told Bloomberg News in 2014, shortly before his term was about to end. “And then there will be a longer follow-up plan, with a real return to the lunar surface to do some science and then follow-up to have all that land turned into a base for somebody.” The plan sounds like it would lead to the building of a colony very, very quickly: “In the course of a couple of decades we would have a lunar colony working on some form of lunar ecosystem, working on a human settlement.” This is also not the same as the idea of permanently orbiting an isolated colony in order to provide it with life support and the supplies required to stay hydrated and fed.
In April, NASA announced a $30 million investment into a self-sustaining lunar base concept. It’s called Lunar Habitat . To be competitive, it would have to generate enough electricity to keep a small city functioning, a good mix of resources, and the ability to expand. As of September 27th, the project had raised more than $23.5 million. But the news made no mention of Ochoa’s proposal, so it’s hard to tell what her own position is. Given what she said, it would seem that she thinks the Moon needs more, not less, people in it. It stands to reason she may get a boost from her own organization. In a statement from Solar Habitat Research, Ochoa said, “Solar Habitat offers a sustainable and stable environment for a colony.