NASA Plans an Outpost on the Far Side of the Moon

NASA wants to take the next step in human spaceflight, and set up a manned outpost on the other side of the Moon.

Back on February 3, NASA released a memo saying that it is determined to move forward with a "human-tended waypoint" around the far side of the moon, according to MSNBC. The base's location would be in a pocket of space where the combined gravity pulling from two large bodies in space in different directions causes in essence a "parking spot", called a libration or lagrangian point.

This point, just beyond the Moon, is technically known as the "Earth-Moon Libration Point 2" or EML-2, and it is the point of interest for NASA's current study. It would provide scientists and astronauts a jumping point towards further exploration into areas such as the Moon, Mars, and the moons surrounding the red planet. Such a base could also be pivotal in telerobotic science on the moon's far side where some of the oldest-known impact craters exist, in addition to building a place to service and build satellites and telescopes and test advancements in radiation shielding for long-term space flight.

Also high on the list of awesome things to experiment with is the possibility of jumping from the base to the surface of the moon to test building large, permanent structures using hardened regolith, which means literally "a blanket of rocks," which litter the surface of the Moon. Radiation-shielded habitats as well as solar arrays and the like are the tip of the iceberg if science can take organic rock and debris on the surface of another planet and form it into habitable expanses.

NASA is really pushing for international and academic partnerships for this, which has the big advantage of private sector and institutional research and development technology as well as the potential for capital where it's needed in the face of government cuts to critical programs and services.

President Obama just released the 2013 budget for NASA, and with almost 20 percent in cuts slated to go into effect, NASA can use all of the help it can get. While any program to explore or build a base-station on the far side of the moon isn't explicitly mentioned in the cuts (like the joint Mars missions have been), we'll be keeping our fingers crossed that this program makes it and we'll see far-moon bases in our lifetimes.

NASA's most recent astronaut class application deadline was January 27th, but if you didn't manage to apply in time, don't worry. It looks like deep space is in our future, and the future is deep space exploration.

[ MSNBC ]

Jason's love of space exploration extends to writing, reading and watching whatever he can about it. The idea of space rations and the cold void of uncaring deep space will more than likely keep him firmly planted on this world. You can follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

Like this? You might also enjoy...

Get more GeekTech: Twitter - Facebook - RSS | Tip us off

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jason Kennedy

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?