NASA's Future Lunar Base

NASA is considering building a permanent lunar outpost or "moon base" that could be permanently inhabited by astronauts. If NASA completes the plan the lunar base should be permanently staffed by 2024. The lunar base will be a joint effort between NASA, Russia and Europe. Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has committed to the project should he be elected to office.

NASA's Lunar Architecture Team is thinking of designs that could be used. An idea they have thought of was an inflatable base that would be inflated on the moon using oxygen transported in tanks. Also small meteorites come hurdling towards the moon and without an atmosphere to slow them down. So the structure will need to be strong to withstand the conditions and protect the astronaut inside of it. They may use Kevlar shields, like the ones used in the International Space Station, to deflect meteorites. A finished design should be ready by the 2015. This will give time for the prototypes to be tested.

There are many advantages to the lunar base. An advantage of the lunar base is it would be easier to launch rockets on the moon because of the lower gravity. Also information found if humans can live in lower gravity can be used for a possible mars base. The lunar base can also be used for any kind of observatory. The communication delay to the Earth would only be less than 3 seconds. The energy required to send objects from the Earth to the moon is lower than any other location.

Newt Gingrich is promising a lunar base if elected into office. Gingrich says his ideas will help improve the United State's progression in space. He wants to help progress the space program just like John F. Kennedy did in the 1960's. He believes it will be the private businesses that will lead the US farther in space. He will offer prizes for the businesses that accomplish these goals.

Living on the Moon

NASA hopes to construct the outpost over five years between 2019 and 2024.

In January 2012, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich promised to establish a base on the moon before the end of the decade, if elected into office.

The rendering of a lunar surface roving vehicle was drawn in 1990. In 2008 NASA invited geologists and astronauts to a research site in Arizona to test their new Lunar Electric Rover.

Over the years billions of dollars have been spent developing and researching ways to return to the moon and build an outpost. Just as these concept drawings evolved into real habitats and vehicles, an American colony on the moon could one day become a reality.

Science Beyond the Moon

It would take more than 150 years to drive a car to the sun.