View Full Version : NASA to return to the moon in 2020!

19th Sep 2005, 18:54
The US space agency Nasa has announced plans to return to the Moon by 2020. Nasa administrator Dr Michael Griffin said four astronauts would be sent in a new space vehicle, in a project that would cost $104bn (58bn). "We will return to the Moon no later than 2020 and extend human presence across the Solar System and beyond," Dr Griffin said on Monday.

Great to have a big ambitious project like this again!

tony draper
19th Sep 2005, 19:08
According to the news the Moon will be a staging post for Mars, seems a bit daft to me,why get yourself out of one gravity well and put yourself in another?

19th Sep 2005, 19:11
What it will hopefully mean is a whole load of technological spin-offs as what happened with Apollo.

Could be great technological leaps in the next 15 years at a faster rate then would have been with no ambitious space program.

19th Sep 2005, 19:14
I heard that President Bush was asked about his newly planned mission to the sun.....

a journalist asked him if he was worried about the heat....

he said.... " it's OK cos, our boys are going at night ! "


19th Sep 2005, 19:15

(1) A heavy-lift rocket blasts off from Earth carrying a lunar lander and a "departure stage"
(2) Several days later, astronauts launch on a separate rocket system with their Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV)
(3) The CEV docks with the lander and departure stage in Earth orbit and then heads to Moon
(4) Having done its job of boosting the CEV and lunar lander on their way, the departure stage is jettisoned
(5) At the Moon, the astronauts leave their CEV and enter the lander for the trip to the lunar surface
(6) After exploring the lunar landscape for seven days, the crew blasts off in a portion of the lander
(7) In Moon orbit, they re-join the waiting CEV and begin the journey back to Earth
(8) On the way, the service component of the CEV is jettisoned. This leaves just the crew capsule to enter the atmosphere
(9) A heatshield protects the capsule; parachutes bring it down on dry land, probably in California

Onan the Clumsy
19th Sep 2005, 19:37
So where's the 'technological leap' in that scenario?

West Coast
19th Sep 2005, 19:51
There may or may not be a tech leap with it. Its my understanding that this is a first step towards sending a manned mission to Mars. I imagine that might be what you're looking for.

19th Sep 2005, 20:00
It's the next phase from that to Mars that will hopefully bring a whole load of techno advances. The moon flights will be a combination of Apollo and the Space Shuttle.

Onan the Clumsy
19th Sep 2005, 21:20
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for it. In fact, the recent shuttle mission brought a lump to my throat and made me think what a capable and powerful country this is. I wish that it would concentrate more on great leaps of faith like this.

19th Sep 2005, 21:24
Well they better hurry, or Burt Rutan will beat them back.;)

Windy Militant
19th Sep 2005, 21:46
Should be a lot easier this time, what with all the developments in electronics. With the help of Photo shop hey might even get the shadows right! :hmm: :rolleyes:

It would be nice to think that they're going for the moon again but this is just Puff.
It's the usual haggling for funds. They ask for the moon and after the usual huffing and puffing from Congress they get almost enough to get by on, rather than being shaved to the bone. Gives the politico's a chance to shout about how much money they're saving so they look good to the voters. This'll go the way of delta clipper, the orient express and all the other grand plans :(

19th Sep 2005, 21:48
Between 1963 and 1976 Nasa (and other agencies) spent $30 billion on the space program which culminated in the Apollo missions to the moon

During the same period American women spent more money on lipstick.

What was the bigger wates of money?!!

tony draper
19th Sep 2005, 22:12
Been waiting for this generation to do something worthwhile


19th Sep 2005, 22:34
A big factor in going to the moon will be energy.

Energy the Chinese put square in their crosshairs in announcing they intend to go to the moon.

Basically if Moore's Law holds (which it will until there's a paradigm shift in computing technology) the computing power we will be able to throw at a Fusion solution means we're more than likely to crack it.

Fusion drives using helium-3 could be a very clean and abundant energy source. On Earth, helium-3 is pretty hard to come by. It can be derived from thermonuclear weapons, as well as from the decay of tritium a result of changing one of the neutrons into a proton. But helium-3, literally litters the moon's surface.

Bush's call for a permanent lunar base, is IMHO, directly related to the possibility of using helium-3 as a future energy source. Step 1 is getting back there and I guarantee this moon mission will involve some level of permanence. Permanence that the Americans will deem vital to establish before the Chinese most certainly will.

Helium-3 provides 1 million times more energy per pound than a ton of coal. Helium-3 is found in the top few feet of lunar soil. To access it, miners would need only to shovel up the surface, bake it, isolate the gas and dump the sand back, Santarius said.

Estimates are the moon probably holds more than 1 million metric tons of the substance on its surface more than enough energy to provide the United States with more than 1,000 years of electricity. This may not be a global solution - that will probably come from mining the asteroid belt and gas giants.

So there it is folks, we are going back to the moon to "go down pit!!"

19th Sep 2005, 22:52
You can check out the details at http://www.nasa.gov/missions/solarsystem/cev.html

Someone must ask;


1961 US Troops deployed to Vietnam War
1961: May 5, The first American space flight involving human beings, Freedom 7, was launched from Cape Canaveral carrying Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr.

1972: Dec. 7-19, Apollo 17 was the last of the Apollo missions to the Moon.
1973 Last American troops leave Vietnam.

2005 Announcement of Future Lunar Missions
2005 Involved in what has been termed 'Another Vietnam', in the Middle East.

or perhaps even ask;




Onan the Clumsy
19th Sep 2005, 23:06
So there it is folks, we are going back to the moon to "go down pit!!" eee, if there's water on Mars, 'appen we can build mill an' all.

I wonder where there's muck in t' universe?

20th Sep 2005, 00:45
JFK made his famous Moon speech on September 12, 1962.
July 19 1969 - Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface.
Acheived in less than 7 years.

September 19th 2005, GWB says we're goin' back - by 2015!?
10 YEARS!!!


Buster Hyman
20th Sep 2005, 03:05
The Chinese have released the catering requirements for their planned Moon mission...

"...130 serves of Number 46, 250 serves of Number 62, 10,000 prawn crackers, 700 dim sims,...."

West Coast
20th Sep 2005, 04:19

If this is indeed one part of an integrated effort for Mars, why head to the moon tomorrow if the real goal isn't to be realized till far down the road?

20th Sep 2005, 06:23
(NASA administrator) Griffin said:

"Unless the United States wants to get out of the manned space flight business completely, then this is the vehicle we need to be building," he said. "And I don't hear anyone saying that the United States would be better off being out of space, when other nations are there."

Thank the Chinese indeed.........

20th Sep 2005, 07:36
Looking at the graphics on the BBC website it looks like a two launch reprise of the Apollo mission, which is no bad thing. Why re-invent the wheel? The CEV in particular looks very like the Apollo CM/SM with solar arrays added.

If they want to save some money NASA could use Ariane 5 as the launcher for the CEV. Ariane 5 was designed as a launcher for Hermes so is designed to be man rated. It gives a softer launch than other satellite launchers.

The last image gives me a clue as to what the likely plan is. The CEV used as a Shuttle and Soyuz replacement to complement the ATV servicing the International Space Station.

20th Sep 2005, 08:24
Good to see man boldly going where man has gone before.

coat, hat, [press to exit].

Spuds McKenzie
20th Sep 2005, 08:56
Before man flew to the moon, he went into earth's orbit (Gemini/Mercury programmes).

After man had been to the moon, he went into earth's orbit again (Space Shuttle programme).

So where was the progress?

And what was the benefit of landing on the moon?

Shouldn't we be on Mars by now?

Gingerbread Man
20th Sep 2005, 10:05
How are they going to get an oil drilling platform up there? I mean, that is why they're going isn't it?


20th Sep 2005, 10:13
i always thought the space shuttle would have made a good lunar vehicle, it has the life support capacity for 7 crew for over 2 weeks, it has its large main engines for trans lunar flight, and return, and cargo carrying capacity for most if not all they will need when they get there. cargo area could also be used for the extra fuel, or just extend the external tank and not jettison it until the return flight home.

Gingerbread Man
20th Sep 2005, 10:15
Perfect, except for the distinct lack of 3-mile-long runways on the moon :p .

20th Sep 2005, 10:20
Naah, they do desert landings in the Mojave, lots of long flat Mares on the moon. Getting it back up might be a bit more difficult though...... ;)

tony draper
20th Sep 2005, 10:24
Doesn't the Shuttle use all its main engine juice up just getting into and out of orbit? be nowt left to kick it to the moon.

20th Sep 2005, 10:30
put a lander in the cargo bay, the shuttle orbits, and collects the lander again to return home, just as the apollo missions did, and im sure it wouldnt take much to get more capacity from the main tank so the shutle would have enough to get to the moon and back, the return trip wouldnt need much, as the space shuttle weighs nothing already in orbit and it already at orbital velocity around the moon. just need the extra juice to break earth orbit.

20th Sep 2005, 10:37
Jaysus lads,

NASA engineers must be worred to death about their jobs after reading PPRuNe!

In other news, Ryanair will fly to the Moon, but will actually land on Mercury.....

tony draper
20th Sep 2005, 10:50
Err technically the Shuttle don't weigh nowt when in orbit but it still has exactly the same mass,you have to burn fuel to get to the moon then burn more to get into lunar orbit then burn more to get out of lunar orbit and back earthwards,then more again to get out of earth orbit and onto the deck,also might be a problem with the Shuttle heating up on its way to the moon,its not hiding in the shade of the earth for half of every orbit.

Ace Rimmer
20th Sep 2005, 11:13
I reckon you'd better brush up on the old orbital mechanics there Ultralights...The important thing is mass rather than weight...and the Shuttle has quite a lot of it. So you need quite a lot of grunt to get out of earth's gravity well - got to have an inital velocity of around 25,000 mph (which will decay to lees than 6,000 when it ship crosses into the lunar gravitaional field).

Then you need grunt to change from a free return tragectory (where you'd loop round the moon and head back in the general direction of earth) and into lunar orbit...

Then some grunt to get out of lunar orbit...(always a good thing)

Of course then you'd have to beef the whole thing up so it can stand the stress of re-entry when doing 25,000+ mph that you'd be doing on a lunar return (compared with the 17,500 odd from low earth orbit) - many many many times the amount of energy involved.

In the Apollo days they tested this with an unmanned CM sent into very high earth orbit (like 200,000 miles out) and then whanged back to create a lunar return like re-entry.

The Russians did a similar thing with the Zond 6 mission ( a lunar fly-by) which at the time many thought would be a precursor to a manned flyby or circumlunar flight, as indeed it later turned out it was. Alexei Leonov - he of the first space walk and later the Apollo-Soyuz mission - was slated to be the commander (... that was until the capsule's instruments recorded g loads in the mid to upper 20s during re-entry)

The Russians then went back to the drawing board to refine tragectories and such and during the delay NASA stole the limelight with the "C-prime" mission (Apollo 8) which effectively ended the Russian lunar plans (and indeed the space race pretty much).

Nah, still the way to go is the multi stage concept developed by Korelev and von Braun with the N1 and Saturn designs. While the Ariane 5 could be used maybe for the CSM lift - the LM/ old S4B bit is pretty much in the Saturn V class for size (looking on the NASA website).

Tell you what though, after 46 years it's all going to be pretty cool if the funding and then the missions actually happen...

course it could all be a cunning ruse by the BBC to boost the ratings of the space race drama/documentary series on at the moment!!

20th Sep 2005, 11:50

Know where I can get a bottomless wad of 20s like that?


Ace Rimmer
20th Sep 2005, 13:27
Nope...but if I find out where I ain't saying.... if NASA find out where.... then I'd like to sign up (bin saying that since I was 'bout six I think...).

Here's a thought, if the lunar mission actually happens in the timeline talked about then Neil Armstong and Buzz Adrin will be 89...wonder how many original moonwalkers will be left by then...of the 12 only nine are around today...

20th Sep 2005, 13:29
wonder how many original moonwalkers will be left by tthen

Wasn't Michael Jackson a moonwalker?

Lance Murdoch
20th Sep 2005, 19:04
Excellent news and hopefully there will be pleanty of overtime in it for us aerospace engineers!
Materials technology was always a limiting factor of the original US and Russian efforts to go to the moon. The Apollo programme was right on the edge of what could be done at the time. Aerospace materials are way more advanced than they were in the 1960's and by 2020 they will probably be much more advanced than they are now. For example if a successor to Concorde was designed now using modern materials it would be at least 1/3 lighter than the original.

Buster Hyman
20th Sep 2005, 22:13
They might even send them up Ace, just like in Space Cowboys!:E :ouch:

23rd Sep 2005, 07:48
I was thinking about going to the bookies and seeing what odds I could get in predicting who will be the next person to walk on the moon.

I'll wager that it won't only be the computer type PC's that will have more power on this round of lunar missions.


Impress to inflate
23rd Sep 2005, 10:11
Have the Yanks declared war on the moon ?? Or do they think there might be oil up there ??! :rolleyes:

tony draper
23rd Sep 2005, 10:36
Well the flag planted thither was American Mr inflate, in the old days that was usualy enough.