July 20 is the date that marks a giant leap in the history of mankind. That is the day when man set foot on the moon. It’s 46 years since Apollo 11 transported Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin safely back home from the surface of the moon. It’s in this backdrop that a study, partly funded by NASA, has revealed the brighter prospects for the coming decade, reflecting how far mankind has progressed with moon exploration over these years.
Carried out by NexGen Space LLC with a 21-member team of former NASA administration members, the study explains the scope of developments for NASA with moon exploration in the coming decade. Covering a detailed assessment of the timeframe and stratagems for future moon landings, the study also takes a step forward by explaining the prospect of setting a human abode in the lunar surface.
And, if NASA gets involved with the work for it right away, we could see this happening in just over a decade from now. Spadework for this involves multiple robotic trips and human journey to the moon for missions like Hydrogen probing, prospect study, base set-ups etc. The first of those could take place by 2017, suggests the study.
Measures have also been outlined to contain the set-up cost within the current budget allowed for human spaceflights. This will require NASA to tie-up with companies like SpaceX, Orbital ATK or the United Launch Alliance for a public-private partnership, similar to the way in which they are currently carrying out the operations for International Space Station supply.
Currently, NASA’s lunar missions are tied with their Space Launch System program scheduled around November 2018. The heavy expendable launch system would only be probing the lunar orbit, with no plans as of now to make any touchdown on the moon’s surface.