NASA assessing viability of deep space outpost near the moon

Feb 13, 2012
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NASA assessing viability of deep space outpost near the moon

NASA has announced that is investigating the possibility of placing a deep-space outpost near the far side of the moon. This location is being looked at because it is a location of the liberation point, which is a point in space at which the gravitational pull between the moon and the earth is roughly equal. The tip came from a memo issued on February 3 by William Gerstenmaier, the associate administrator for human exploration and operations at NASA.

The exact point in space that NASA is investigating is known as EML-2, which is near the lunar far side and being investigated as the leading option. NASA hopes that EML-2 could serve as a sort of gateway for exploring other destinations such as the moon, asteroids, and Mars. Some of the foundation elements according to NASA would be the planned heavy lift rocket called the Space Lunch System and the Orion crew capsule.

NASA plans for the station to be a international participation solution along the lines of the ISS. There's no indication at this point of if NASA has the budget or the inclination to actually take on this project. NASA must have some sort of idea that the project would work at some point in the future to even be considering it. Interestingly, should the EML-2 station come to be it would be the longest distance from Earth humans have traveled.

[via Space.com]


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