Tuesday, September 20, 2005

To the Moon and Mars

NASA has officially laid down plans to return to the Moon by 2018, where astronauts will set up settlements capable of supporting 4 astronauts for stays of up to six months at a time. The new missions will need new hardware, including a liquid methane powered lander, which is a forward looking concept as future explorers may one day brew their own methane fuel on the Martian surface. The Moon misions are very much seen as a staging post for the exploration of Mars, with the long duration stays on the Lunar surface providing the extensive experience that will be needed for these missions.