The road ahead for the Lunar Pioneer is already a carefully ordered and logical one. It will be a while longer before boots return to the ground, if NASA has its way. Reading the commissioned studies and tight budgets, however, shows us what may be a necessary discipline.
And, in the long run, proving possible what was once science fiction is also necessary if the tough road toward permanent settlement is going to be tolerable.
Among those things long hoped for has been the grinding of lenses from the Moon itself. Now, in one week, NASA has shown both glass and sheltering bricks can be made from lunar regolith.
Of course, these popular developments coming, as they do, as an ambivalent Congress deliberates a larger than expected budget is not by chance. But, however good fortune has proven it, what many of us have long known could and should be done on the Moon is manifest, and we're glad.
It is a hint, a momentary glimpse of a marvelous future astronomy that will make the benighted Hubble as quaint as Hale.
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