The US wants to "go back to the Moon" in five years. Will or not?
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing and a major turning point in world history. Israeli robotic mission "Genesis" has just arrived into lunar orbit to the planned landing on April 11, which makes Israel the fourth country to land on the lunar surface. And this is after the incredible landing on China's side of the moon in January.
The new space race has recently prompted the US vice-president Mike Pence offer another manned mission to the Moon within the next five years. But is it reasonable to offer, given that no one has sent people there since 1972? Does it make sense to do it from a scientific point of view?
Why fly to the moon?
If governments fail when it comes to human space exploration programs, they do not understand the level of time and commitment needed to succeed. This new proposal follows the request of US President Donald Trump in 2017: to carry out a manned mission to Mars with a landing before the end of his first term (2020).
But the task is more complicated than a manned mission to the moon: time to reach the Red Planet will vary depending on the relative position of the Earth and Mars. Ability to run on Mars, when travel time very short, appears about every two years. Given the fact that the travel time is six to nine months, this mission was to begin in April 2018, to reach Mars before 2020.
The main problems of
One of the obstacles on the way to the moon in five years is funding. Space missions are expensive. Beautiful mission "Cassini", an unmanned spacecraft on Saturn, cost about 3, 26 billion dollars. Current score NASA budget for 2019 is 19, 9 billion US dollars, and should include both new and current missions, research centers, staff, student internships and scholarships, research and development. While all this is a lot of money, the amount received by NASA as a percentage of GDP is falling rapidly. In 1966, NASA received 4, 4% of the national expenditure - in this year's budget is less than 0, 1%. If the current US administration is really serious about implementing the commitments to the President, it would have to increase funding for NASA.
But even with a smaller budget, why not work to curb US manned mission? Every president wants to leave his mark on the moon, and just in space. Space missions require long-term planning. The larger the program, the more likely that it will not "reach out" to the end.
George W. Bush, for example, canceled the program of space shuttles, and Barack Obama canceled the Constellation program, whose purpose was to bring people back to the moon by 2020. Created under the Bush administration, this program was more affordable 16-year term.
Technical difficulty in the case of a manned mission is for five years, that at the present time no one launch vehicle that would be powerful enough to do the job. NASA is now working on the Space Launch System (SLS), a relic of the Constellation program, but the missile is not even summer. Even if not considered a test flight, the ability to deliver astronauts to the moon will not soon.
Even the recently launched commercial Falcon Heavy could not carry out this mission in a single run. It would take at least two different parts of the launch of the spacecraft, which then would have to dock in orbit. This will complicate and delay the mission.
Why send people?
One of the biggest questions: Why do we send people? Robotic missions have always been preferred. As technology advances we have the opportunity to do science with the help of increasingly compact and sophisticated robots.
This is important when you consider that the cost of launching materials into low Earth orbit is about 20 000 dollars per kilo. Sending a man and all that he needs is much more expensive than sending a camera. But this could change, thanks to the development of commercial and reusable rockets. SpaceX says Falcon 9 launch that cost is only $ 6,000 per kilogram.
The current US plan for the development of the Moon is to send astronauts to the southern polar region of the moon and to create there a base for long-term human presence on the Moon. On the south pole craters is rich in water-ice, which is not only necessary for human life, but also can be used for the production of fuel and oxygen for breathing. Possibility of electrolyzing water, dividing it into hydrogen and oxygen, first appeared in the 1800s, and the required power can easily apply by solar panels.
preparation of the post would allow NASA to launch American astronauts to Mars and beyond. Other advantages include the ability to choose what to study and explore the delicate geological notes on the spot. We could also use the moon to build an astronomical observatory, which could get an excellent view of the universe, given the thin atmosphere.
The militarization of space
The reasons for the sudden race to the moon, no doubt caused by the possibility of the US space race with China. Opportunities China National Space Agency have increased significantly from their first manned orbital flight in 2003 to their first space station in 2011.
They also managed to land the lander and rover on the moon in 2013 and again in 2018, and the machine will send the qualitative side of the moon shots. for sample return mission is scheduled for later this year - all in 15 years.
The return of Americans to the moon, of course, create exciting opportunities for scientific research and space exploration. However, whether it will be possible in the near future, nobody knows.
What do you think if the world powers should work together on the lunar subject? Tell us in our chat in the telegram.