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May 9-15, 2016 / Vol 35, No 19 / Hawai`i Island, USA

6 May 2016, 20:15 UTC
May 9-15, 2016 / Vol 35, No 19 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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A New Moon Rising

Around the world international, national, independent and commercial interests are increasing enterprise toward the Moon, embracing collaboration over confrontation. Science and policy leaders in the USA are only beginning to recognize the exceptional progress made by relative newcomers to the club of multiworld capabilities. The China Chang’e lunar exploration program, with the only active spacecraft operating on the surface of the Moon, is rapidly advancing toward sample return and potential crewed capabilities. India, while planning Chandrayaan 2 Moon lander for 2017, is operating the interplanetary Mangalyaan Mars Obiter mission and launching indigenous rockets at price points that frankly bewilder American heavyweights like NASA and Boeing. Japan, Korea, Europe, Russia all have lunar missions in various stages of development. NewSpace ventures with rapid-development, low-cost ethos are aspiring towards the Moon for commerce, science and culture. Alexandra Hall (Space Portal, NASA Ames) and Charles Miller (NexGen Space LLC) recently published a study proposing that America could develop an Evolvable Lunar Architecture with permanent human settlement on the Moon by leveraging commercial partnerships within the existing NASA deep space human spaceflight budget of US$3-4B per year. Long distracted from logic and reality of necessities / opportunities on the Moon, ...

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