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Holding the Moon

24 Oct 2009, 19:35 UTC
Holding the Moon
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October 22, 2009This is a very exciting and busy period, for which there is scarcely time to write about. The Augustine Committe Report was released today, giving the President options for continuing in Space. One of those options, the Ares 1-X test vehicle has been rolled onto the Launch Pad 39-B for an October 27 launch. Nearby at Launch Complex 40, the SpaceX Falcon 9 will soon attempt a launch. Though friends at NASA sometimes scoff at private space, Elon Musk may be the best hope for shuttling crew to orbit. Whether to land again or just orbit, the goal is still the Moon.This is a piece of the Moon, a real lunar sample from Apollo! How much is it worth? We can take the cost of the Apollo program, about 200 billion in constant dollars, and divide it by the 381.7 kg of material returned for a market price of 50 million per kilogram. This little bag cost almost as much as my Naval aircraft.Of course Apollo had other benefits. It jumpstarted technology and science education in the US, leading to uncounted technical advances. It inspired a whole generation to study math and science. The famous Earthrise photo from ...

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