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OK, a couple of more things about a Moon base
I love the idea of returning to the Moon, and the idea of going back there to stay I love even more. Having said that, I want to stress it must be done the right way. This has been back in the news lately because Newt Gingrich made a speech about it before his doomed Florida Republican presidential primary run.
What bugs me is that we're talking about it in context of what Gingrich said; I'd rather we were talking about this on its own merits. There are reasons to go to the Moon, and reasons not to do it Newt's way... all of which I went over in an interview on CBC radio's Day 6 show with Brent Bambury that aired Saturday. The interview is archived on their site, and you can listen to it there. I was unusually lucid, IMO, and I think the points made were valid.
I was also interviewed on The Alonya Show, a TV news/opinion program on Russia TV:
[UPDATE: I also did an interview with Globo TV in Brazil that's online as well. The show is in Portugese, but I'm in English with subtitles.]
I want to add to what I said on these two shows. In all this discussion, I wasn't thinking about the idea of fuel depots. Instead of lobbing big heavy payloads all the way to the Moon with gigantic Saturn V-like rockets, you use smaller rockets to loft tanks of propellant into Earth orbit. Then you can use that smaller rocket to lift the astronauts to orbit, meet up with the tanks, install them, and off to the Moon they go! I don't know if this saves in money, since it means lots of launches, but it does mean you can get to the Moon without having a huge rocket -- one that as yet does not exist.
Anyway, the point is: it's not fantasy, it's not (haha) moonbat stuff, and it's not even science fiction.
Well, check that: it is science fiction. For now. But realistically, we can do this. We have the ability. All we need is the will to do it.