posted on Nov, 30 2007 @ 08:43 AM
reply to post by nataylor
...all that, plus that plan does nothing to "advance" our space technology. Using a 30-year old shuttle to go to the moon will not help NASA in
it's need to create a new and cost effective crew vehicle and heavy launch capabilities (such as the new Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle and the Ares
V Heavy Lift Vehicle, both being developed by NASA as we speak.)
Maybe we could go to the Moon in a modified shuttle (I really don't know), but it wouldn't help us to advance to the next step -- which is to go to
Mars and beyond.
Using old existing technology like the shuttle to go to the Moon would again be like going to the Moon for the sake of going there -- just like we did
with Apollo. With Apollo, getting there was the whole point...once we got to the Moon, we did practically nothing with it.
The shuttle's lifting capability is less than 25,000 kg to low Earth orbit. The Ares V can deliver 130,000 kg to LEO, and deliver 65,000 kg to lunar
orbit. This extra lifting capability is crucial to the plans for building permanent bases on the Moon, and to build a Mars vehicle in Earth's orbit.
The shuttle -- even if it can be modified to take astronauts to the Moon -- does not have the heavy lift capability to take the pieces of a future
Moon base there. The Ares V has much greater capacity.
Then there is Mars to consider. Current "early" plans are to launch a Mars vehicle in about 3 or 4 pieces, using 3 or 4 separate Ares V launches,
and then construct the Mars ship in Earth's orbit. Using the shuttle may require 3 TIMES
as many launches (10-12 launches).
Spending our time and resources in modifying a shuttle to go to the Moon may be possible (?), but that will get NASA no closer to their stated goals
of permanent bases on the Moon in 15 years and a trip to Mars in less than 25 years. NASA is looking long-term.
EDIT TO ADD LINK:
NASA's Ares Rockets
[edit on 11/30/2007 by Soylent Green Is People]