reply to post by PrisonerOfSociety
The old Apollo equipment could possibly get us to the Moon again, but NASAs next Moon Missions is not simply to get
to the Moon (which was the
only goal for the Apollo program), but stay there, build bases, and use it as a laboratory for future Mars missions (NASA's "Constellation Program"
) -- and to perform that mission, they need all new
equipment. The Apollo equipment was not designed to do that job.
The new equipment being designed -- the Ares 5 Heavy Launch Rocket, the Ares 1 Crew Launch Vehicle, the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, and the Altair
Lunar lander -- are being specifically designed for an extended
Moon program -- a program that includes extended stays on the Moon, such
as Moon bases.
The Ares V will be the largest heavy lift vehicle humans have ever made -- it will be able to launch payloads into low Earth orbit double the weight
the Saturn 5 could and payloads 9X the weight the shuttle can lift. The Ares V will be needed to launch the equipment required for an extended moon
stay -- and the equipment required for a manned Mars Mission.
When it comes to launching payloads to the Moon
, the Ares would lift payloads 50% heavier the the Saturn 5 could launch. NASA's Constellation
Program involves building bases on the Moon as a precursor to a manned Mars Mission -- as mission that will require a long stay (the Earth and Mars
are only close enough for travel between them every two years -- so an entire Mars mission will be over two years long).
Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle
Ares V Heavy Launch Vehicle
The Orion Crew Vehicle and Altair Lunar Access Module are being specifically made to handle larger crews. The Orion will be able to take 4 astronauts
to the Moon and the Altair Lunar Model will be able to put all 4 of those astronauts on the Moon -- not astronaut will be left in lunar orbit while
the rest of the crew walks on the Moon, such as was the case for the Apollo program. The Orion would also be able to take 6 astronauts to low earth
orbit (say to the ISS or future space station), thus replacing the shuttle as a crew vehicle. The shuttle is being retired in a year or so anyway, so
a crew vehicle replacement is needed.
Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle
Altair Lunar Access Lander
So a brand new mission (not one that is simply "go to the Moon") requires brand new equipment -- and brand new equipment requires a lot of money.
NASA's budget was HUGE in the 1960s, so in some respects I'm not that surprised they made it to the Moon so quickly. If NASA had the same budget
(afetr inflation, of course) they had in the 1960s, they would definitely get back to the Moon by the planned 2018 date.
I'm not surprised NASA is asking for more money.
[edit on 6/22/2009 by Soylent Green Is People]