Sunday, August 9, 2009

Returning to the Moon:

At The Economist, the debate continues:

"This house believes that NASA should not
send humans back to the moon"

Along with 59 percent of those who had added their vote, the Lunar Pioneers voted (one time) very much AGAINST the resolution of "the House."

We also added the following comment to the on-going discussion:

"Aside from the political questions, questions of NASA's role as "a creature of Congress" and, thus, its concurrent accountability to the national budget and sometimes transient but passionate concerns during the biennial federal election cycle, the weight of science is especially clear.

The astounding technological achievement of the Apollo Era, quite literally, "barely scratched the surface" of Earth's Moon.

There is unfinished business throughout the surface area of this Rosetta Stone, upon which is recorded the long history of the Solar System, and more, the history of the neighborhood in the inner Solar System occupied by Earth.

Far from the desert many hastily concluded that it was forty years ago the Moon has upon it all the materials needed to construct the robust kinds of machinery and equipment needed for exploration beyond the neighborhood, already in Earth orbit, with neither the Gravity Well nor the resistance of atmosphere.

Volatiles, Rail Gun emplacement and materials necessary to both study and overcome the threat of deadly, highly challenging, ionizing interstellar cosmic rays.

The latter threat alone is a compelling reason to put lunar exploration high on the agenda of even a reluctant technological superpower.

(Little discussed is the well-published fact that, using present propulsion technology, a round-trip to Mars, for example, exceeds NASA's individually assessed absolute limit on the probability of Radiation Exposure Induced Death (REID); 4 percent, over any single astronaut's lifetime.)

Finally, there is the history of bombardment, which even the casual observer of the Moon, in long proximity to Earth, shows may not be completely removed to the distant past. Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, and the similar cometary encounter with Jupiter mere days ago, (demonstrate how) the shuffle of mass, along with the variable radiance of our modest star, right here where we presently spend our lives, is still underway.

If we are to survive, we must reach beyond our dependence on Earth and a deceptive perspective of its constant safety. That way goes through the Moon, our natural deep-water port to the Deeper Sea upon which we depend.

Join the Discussion and Debate HERE.

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