Monthly Archives: July 2012

How to get to the Moon and back without breaking the bank.

Dear NASA (and other interested parties),

it has come to my intention that you would like to start sending men to the Moon again but President Obama won’t let you because of the cost. He went and cancelled your Constellation project after you’d already spent $9bn on the project.

Well, supposing I could show you a way to get people to the Moon – and back – for millions rather than billions? And a lot sooner than the 2020 deadline you’d originally envisioned? You could go back to the Prez with an unanswerable case for the go-ahead to go ahead.

Look. It’s quite simple. You already have a craft capable of reaching the Moon and returning. It’s called the International Space Station.

As it’s already up in space, using the ISS will save you the enormous costs of launching a command module. With a few judicious nudges from its thrusters, you could easily alter its trajectory so that it orbits both the Earth and the Moon. (I’ve a feeling a figure of 8 orbit would work best but I’m no physicist.)

Once in orbit, the ISS will act as a shuttle service between the Earth and the Moon for many decades to come.

Then all you have to do is get a lunar lander up there and dock it to the ISS when it approaches Earth. A few days later, the ISS will be above the Moon and your astronauts will be able to land on its surface with ease.

When the astronauts want to leave, they just have to wait for the ISS to come around again…

… and up they go. Hop on to the ISS and leave the lander in lunar orbit. Then when the next crew come along, they space walk from the ISS to the lander and take it down.

This means the same lander can be used time and again, thus eliminating the cost of launching a new one for every mission.

There. Problem solved.

Now all you have to do is explain it to Mr Obama and you’re back in business…