“We had this whole big beautiful place for discovery, and all we could think to do with it was wipe out everything that made it worth discovering.” -Buzz Aldrin
It’s been more than 40 years since humans last set foot on the Moon. The final space shuttle flight occurred six years ago already, and the International Space Station is set to reach the end of its life a few years from now. At the 33rd Space Symposium last month, NASA announced their new, bold plan for crewed spaceflight: a crewed space station that orbits the Moon.
The Orion capsule would be one of many components on a proposed space station that orbited the Moon, but the scientific and technological payoff would be extraordinarily low. Image credit: NASA / flickr.
While this has the cost advantages of utilizing systems that have already been designed and, in some cases, built, it represents a failure of imagination, vision, and scientific goals. As a result, we’ll be no closer to returning to the Moon, exploring Mars, capturing an asteroid, or any other actual goal we may have.
Concept art of the Space Launch System (SLS) vehicle, originally conceived as a design capable of taking ...