NASA eyes manned mission to lunar far side by 2028

Dec 2, 2013
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NASA eyes manned mission to lunar far side by 2028

NASA may have a very tight budget for space travel and exploration, but it is still thinking big. NASA has outlined its plan to put astronauts on the far side of the moon by 2028. NASA also has plans to put spacecraft into orbit at the earth-moon L2 Lagrange point.

That Lagrange point is 60,000 kms above the far side of the moon. The spacecraft NASA expects to use to ferry astronauts on these missions is the Orion spacecraft. Orion is set to have its first flight in 2014. The spacecraft will travel around the moon in 2017 with no crew if all goes well.

The first crewed lunar mission for Orion will be in 2021. Interestingly, there is currently no NASA funding specifically set aside for a crewed lunar mission. The reason for sending the Orion to the L2 position is that it would be able to communicate with the Earth and lunar far side simultaneously.

A mission to the L2 Lagrange point would travel 15% further form Earth than the Apollo missions. The mission would also see crew spending 2 weeks in deep space. The goals of a lunar mission would be to test the Lunar Cataclysm hypothesis that proposes the moon and earth were heavily bombarded about 4 billion years ago. Another mission goal would be to determine the age of the South Pole Aitken Basin.

SOURCE: Forbes


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