NASA talks about goals for future manned lunar outpost

No human has set foot on the moon for decades now. That might change in the coming year so as the Obama administration has recently talked about details on possibly returning US astronauts to the moon. The most intriguing aspect of the Obama administration's plan is a prospect of a lunar outpost where explorers could live for months at a time.

This week NASA official Lori Garver gave a speech where she talked about the importance of exploring the moon. Garver also mentioned during her speech that NASA has an unspecified mission back to the moon scheduled tentatively as early as 2017. Garver stated, "We are going back to the moon."

NASA has recently sent a report to Congress on "sustainable human exploration" of the moon and beyond. Some believe that an outpost of the moon could be used as a jumping off point for exploration even deeper into our solar system. Part of the report outlines what NASA calls a "nearly self-sustaining surface habitat." This habitat would be capable of extracting oxygen, water, silicon, and other materials on the moon.

Being self-sufficient is key to exploring the solar system and spending an extended amount of time on the moon. The cost of getting basic supplies for survival into space is enormous. Garver also mentioned that President Obama wants to invest nearly $1.4 billion to upgrade and modernize the Kennedy Space Center. The last manned mission to the moon took place in December of 1972.

[via Wall Street Journal]