The Moon On Our Backs


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The case for capitalizing “Moon”

Not so much about the science, although current NASA plans would certainly make possible some very interesting science regarding humans living in deep space, as well as some ways to study the moon, Earth and our sun. But it seems especially important now to look at what NASA and others have in mind regarding our moon because the current administration has made a top priority of returning landers and humans to there, prospecting for resources on the moon and ultimately setting up a human colony on the moon.

This has been laid out in executive directives and now is being translated into funding for NASA and commercial missions and projects. There are at least two significant NASA projects specific to the moon initiative now planned, developed and in some cases funded. They are the placement of a small space station that would orbit the moon, and simultaneously a series of robotic moon landings — to be conducted by commercial ventures but carrying NASA and other instruments from international and other commercial partners.

The goal is to start small and gradually increase the size of the landers until they are large enough to carry astronauts. And the same growth line holds for the overall moon mission.


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The often-stated goal is to establish a colony on the moon that will be a signal expansion of the reach of humanity and possibly a significant step towards sending humans further into space. Given the potential size and importance of the moon initiative — and its potential consequences for NASA space science — it seems valuable to both learn more about it. Cislunar space is, generally speaking, the area region between the Earth and the moon.

The Phases of the Moon

Always changing because of the movements of the two objects. Development work is now under way for what is considered to be the key near-term and moon-specific project. If built, the four-person space station would serve as a quasi-permanent outpost orbiting the moon that advocates say would enhance exploration and later commercial exploitation of the moon.

It would provide a training area and safe haven for astronauts, could become a center for moon, Earth and solar science, and could continue and expand the international cooperation nurtured on the International Space Station ISS project for several decades. In its Gateway Memorandum, published last month, NASA and the administration also made clear that the station would have, as a central goal, geopolitical importance.

An artist version of a completed Gateway spaceport with the Orion capsule approaching. Five different companies have contracts to design possible space station habitation modules as well. So the plan has some momentum.


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If all moves ahead as described, NASA will launch the components of the Gateway in the early to mid s. More than a dozen international agencies have voiced interest in joining the project, including European, Japanese, Canadian and other ISS partners. As part of that outreach, an informal partnership agreement has already been signed with Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, with the possibility of using a future Russian heavy rocket to help build the station and ferry crew.

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Astronaut John Young of the Apollo 16 mission on the moon. The primary goal of the NASA moon initiative is to return astronauts to the surface. The other NASA moon initiative involves an effort to send many robotic landers to the moon to look for potential water and fuel hydrogen to be collected for a cislunar and ultimately lunar economy. NASA had worked for some time on what was called a Resource Prospector, a mission to study water ice and other volatiles at the lunar poles.

The agency also says it will rely on private companies to design and build the landers, as well as launching them into space. So these are the out-of-the gate projects NASA has in mind for the moon. They, however, are hardly where the big money is going. That is directed to the heavy rocket under development and construction for more than a decade the Space Launch System, or SLS and the Orion space capsule. Astronauts go into an Orion capsule mock-up.

Primary and Intermediate Phases

The un-manned spacecraft is expected to be ready for launch in Another mock-up of the inside of the Orion crew module, which carries four astronauts and is scheduled to launch in It has cubic feet of habitable space, compared with cubic feet for the Apollo capsules. How can Full Moon be in the daytime? Technically, this alignment only lasts a moment. When the Full Moon comes close to the points of its orbit that are closest or farthest away from Earth, we call it a Supermoon or Micromoon , respectively.

The next intermediate Moon phase is the Waning Gibbous Moon. The portion of the visible half of the Moon illuminated decreases during this period. The Waning Crescent Moon. The Sun illuminates less than half of the visible part of the Moon during this Moon phase and you can sometimes see earthshine on the rest of the Moon towards the end. Moon Phases Moon Location Where is the moon now? Check out our interactive maps, animations, local times, and safety tips. Watch the Sun turn dark during the total solar eclipse on July 2, We are streaming LIVE, check your local times here.

Full Moons had given names in many ancient cultures. The Full Moon names we use today often reflect nature like Harvest Moon. The Full Moon is the moment the entire face of the Moon is illuminated by the Sun's rays. It is the 3rd primary phase. Each Full Moon has a name, except the Blue Moon.

50 years on from the moon landings, why have we turned our backs on space?

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Powering Our Return to the Moon

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