back to article Forget Mars: Let's get someone on the Moon – NASA veteran

The retired NASA chief who sent the first American astronaut into space has said the agency should give up on Mars and focus on putting another astronaut on the Moon. Chris Kraft, who was NASA's first ever flight director before becoming a senior manager on the Apollo programme – the US project dedicated to "landing a man on …


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        1. Chairo

          Re: Great idea!

          This is not a moon...

    1. Suburban Inmate

      Re: Great idea!

      cord from moon to earth orbit. I am soon to be zonked out by a pick n mix of sleeping pills, but if we can lay big fat marine cables it seems plausabe that me might be able to string a longer but lighter one up there in sections and join them. this alone should pick up quite a charge by itself, with a smaller wireless hop to earth.

      1. Maharg

        Re: Great idea!

        The main problem with that idea is that the earth and the moon have this habit of moving independently from one another, so unless we

        A) cover the earth in receivers to pick up these wireless transmitters,

        B) to store the power and transmit it all in one quick blast every cycle

        C) have a number of other wireless transmitters orbiting the earth to bounce the signal off in a way that will not weaken it

        D) have a signal strong enough to pass though the earth and all that iron in the core to the receiving station on the other side.

        Considering I get a headache if I use my mobile phone to long, I don’t like the last idea.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Great idea!

          Run electricity pylons around the equator at the same height. Have, say, the positive wire to the north and negative to the south and let the big moon wires dangle down and brush along them like an inverted train pantograph.

        2. monkeyfish

          Re: Great idea!


          E) Fire a rocket at the moon to change it's trajectory to one more favourable to power generation! I'm sure it wont have any other side effects.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    monkey tennis

    Solar panel factory on the moon, beaming energy back to earth?

    That is even more idiotic than orbiting solar power stations.

    No wonder Elon Musk is taking these guys' jobs.

    1. Rukario

      orbiting solar power stations

      Yes we are orbiting a solar power station.

    2. myarse

      Re: monkey tennis

      Rubbish, once we have harvested all those photons we can stick em in crates and launch them back to Earth via a giant slingshot.

      Low gravity to massive gravity well, what can go wrong?

      Aiming might be hard but with a large enough net we should be good to go.

    3. Don Jefe

      Re: monkey tennis

      Balderdash! Horseless carriages powered by "petrol"? The most proposterous thing since those boys who build bicycles claimed to be building a "flying machine".

      1. Crisp

        Re: Horseless carriages

        "You would make a ship sail against the winds and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck...I have no time for such nonsense." -- Napoleon

  2. Arachnoid

    A good use of a specialist 3D printer

    Using moon dust to build the infrastructure for a moon populace pre the meteor strike on Earth

  3. Dan Paul

    Time to get off this planet for survival of the species

    It is long past time to get off this planet so there is a breeding population of humanity where the warmongering morons here won't easily blow them up too.

    It's gotten to the point where none of the so called "world leaders" have the common sense of an ass. None of them are able to learn from our collective past mistakes, world history or anything at all.

    Shouldn't take too much to realize that if survival of humanity is the only thing that comes out colonization, that's a really good start.

    Building solar panels on the moon is OBVIOUSLY not cost effective, survival is ALWAYS cost effective.

    1. twelvebore

      Re: Time to get off this planet for survival of the species

      So you need to find a source of funding that's not coupled to "world leader asses". While you're at it you might like to take stock that the section of the population that are most efficient at breeding are, broadly speaking, the moron section. The moron section that, once it reaches voting age, votes in the world-leading asses.

      Have you tried firing up a Kickstarter for your Moon colony ambition? Shoudn't be too difficult to find a select group of very rich people who pay to get away from the scum that inhabits this rock to found a new colony of the best and the brightest on the Moon.

      1. Vector

        Re: Time to get off this planet for survival of the species

        Didn't someone just release a movie like that..?

      2. disgruntled yank

        Re: Time to get off this planet for survival of the species

        I like the way you all think--considered, anyway as colonist material.

        I will happily throw in the price of beer or two to assist in the emigration of those who regard the majority of their fellow humans as morons and scum. And if you linger in the doorway after collecting, I'll give you a Kickstarter, too.

      3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Re: Time to get off this planet for survival of the species

        I like this plan... but it has a minor flaw, that once the bickering high IQ peeps have settled things out on the moon and built themselves an ideal society that looks after each other, and has enough food/water/energy for all residents, the eyes of an envious earth cast themselves over the huge distances between the moon and them and slowly, and surely drew up their plans.....

        1. twelvebore

          Re: Time to get off this planet for survival of the species

          Hmmm.... it's been a while since I listened to that album, or even read the book, but I thought it was the "perfect" hi-Q society that was forced to prey upon the Earth-based losers with their envious eyes, etc?

        2. fijired2

          Re: Time to get off this planet for survival of the species

          "The chances of anything coming from Earth..."

    2. Tom 13

      Re: where the warmongering morons

      No matter how fast or far you run, you can never outrun yourself.

      Sorry, I don't recall who first said it, but it applies even if you don't regard yourself as the moron.

  4. Stevie


    Notwithstanding the fact that the original moon landing were a publicity stunt as much as a serious scientific endeavor, I'm with the man.

    Before you scream and leap I'm a huge pro-space nutjob who counts meeting Carpenter and Shirra as high spots in my life, and who took time out of a family vacation this year to go look at the rockets at Kennedy Space Center even though I've seen them all many times before and started doing so when all there was to look at were some rockets guyed in a field and a bus tour to the then-unglazed observation platform miles from the pads themselves (which were still in regular use I might add).

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Bah!

      The correct term is Patriotism Enhancing Mission, not 'publicity stunt'

    2. asdf

      Re: Bah!

      >Notwithstanding the fact that the original moon landing were a publicity stunt as much as a serious scientific endeavor

      Publicity stunt is a definitely a more polite term than I would use (ie. US dick waving). At first reading I thought I was going to read drivel from a moon landing hoax birther but quickly realized my mistake.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Err, so what do we do for power in the 2 weeks per month during which the lunar power station is in the dark ? ( not to mention some interesting environmental problems, such as the dust & temperature range )

    1. Don Jefe

      Build two?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Where would you put the second one? That shadow is caused by Earth, which is between the Moon and the Sun.

        1. Robin 3

          There is a difference between a lunar eclipse an a new moon.

        2. Annihilator

          Erm, the moon going dark (new moon) has nothing to do with the earth's shadow. The moon is always lit by the sun in the same way the earth is. The "dark" side of the moon isn't literally dark, it's just that half is always facing away from the earth due to the tidal lock.

          The moon does pass into the earths shadow, roughly twice a year, known a a lunar eclipse, but only for a few hours.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            There is no dark side of the moon, really...

            Matter of fact it's all dark

  6. Tom 7

    Interesting idea.

    While trying to get the energy from a lunar solar array back to earth is a complete nightmare the idea of manufacturing solar panels on the moon is interesting. No need for vacuum pumps! Might be worth investigating. Then some of the panels could be returned to earth and others used to power a moon railgun and a fuck off laser that can be used to power missions to Mars and Beyoooooond.

  7. RISC OS

    Good idea...

    ... once the power lants are up and running we just need to run a cable from here to the moon so that half the world could actually use it - assuming that is the US makes the power cheap enough that the half the world wants to actually pay the price for it

  8. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


    Stop bickering, go somewhere, anywhere, already!

  9. Chris T Almighty

    That's no moon.

    It's a Power station.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: It's a Power station.

      Just so long as it isn't an iPowerStation. And assuming you beat Apple to the Patent Bazaar with documentation.

  10. Dick Emery

    Screw the moon!

    Where is my damned space elevator!

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Screw the moon!

      Wrapped around the equator of Mars (almost twice) with the ballast rock going hell bent for leather out of the system. Didn't you get the memo?

  11. Coen Dijkgraaf

    All energy eventually becomes heat

    So he is proposing to capture sunlight that strikes the moon, convert it to energy and then pump it down to Earth? All energy eventually becomes heat. So unless other power generation on Earth is retired and replaced with this energy coming from the moon (not going to happen), then he is adding more heat to Earth. Ever heard of Global Warming?

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: All energy eventually becomes heat

      We'll just move the Earth further away from the sun until our population increases to the point where having a sun is a liability. If we can bring in a couple of farming worlds and get some reactionless drive technology from the Outsiders, we won't need any sort of solar systems to live in at all.

      Clouds of Magellan, here we come.

      1. Katie Saucey

        Re: All energy eventually becomes heat

        Drop me of at the nearest Ringworld please.

  12. Ben Holmes


    And there folks, is your problem right there. Nothing on this scale will ever be done again because

    1) It can't be done in one political cycle

    2) The direct benefits to those in power in the short term are not readily quantifiable.

    An so the endless cycle of underfunded grandstand projects such as SLS continue, whilst NASA slips further and further into obscurity.

    I love NASA, I really do. But the budget stranglehold placed on them is laughable. The fact that they get so much out of their meagre handout is amazing, and the missions they run are a constant source of fascination to me. BUt will they ever do anything as big as the moon landings again? I doubt it. The will is there, but the cash...the cash dried up years ago.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: 'eventually'

      " The will is there, but the cash...the cash dried up years ago."

      Actually the cash is there, but the Legislature deems it can only be spent on building a rocket whose single launch will consume roughly 1/12 of the whole NASA yearly budget (not just the human space flight bit).

      And probably 80-90% of that mass is propellant, the single most easily subdivided element of the whole structure.

      Once you know that fact you have to ask why NASA has wasted decades talking about the importance of on or orbit transfer and gauging but not actually doing something about it.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: 'eventually'

      The will disappeared long before the cash did. Now the cash flows as works projects to buy votes for Congress critters. Hence why it seems to be in disarray. If understood as a different version of a welfare project, it makes perfect sense. Assuming of course one approves of welfare projects.

  13. NomNomNom


    All we have to do is stage a chemical weapon attack on the moon and the americans will want to launch a rocket up there

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: plans

      # All we have to do is stage a chemical weapon attack on the moon and the americans will want to launch a rocket up there #

      Lots of rockets and damn the cost. We have teach those bastards right from wrong.

  14. Allan George Dyer

    Half the Earth?

    So the next World War will be fought over control of the light side of the Moon?

    Me? Pessimistic? And who stole my bloody glass!

  15. DJO Silver badge


    Once you have the generating capacity on the moon build a nice big accelerator to make anti-matter, ship that back to Earth to some simple matter annihilation power stations, I mean what could possibly go wrong?

  16. Colin Brett

    We have to get off this rock

    I've upvoted a couple of earlier posters (Dan Paul and Ben Holmes) because I agree with their sentiments.

    Where Dan's point is concerned, I'm with Stephen Hawking, who said "I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space". If we haven't left Earth in significant numbers before then, then the human race will be blasted back to the Stone Age. Look at the Shoemaker-Levy comet impact on Jupiter. That's a near miss in spatial terms. If it had hit the mid-Atlantic, where would we be?

    Ben's point is the main problem:

    "An[d] so the endless cycle of underfunded grandstand projects such as SLS continue, whilst NASA slips further and further into obscurity."

    The technology, the brains and the desire (Elon Musk and even Richard Branson) either exists or is on the drawing board right now. What we (as a species) lack is the political will to make it happen.

    Heck. Rant over.


  17. WatAWorld

    What practical reason is there for going to the moon ?

    A. "There's no practical reason for going to Mars. But there is a practical reason for going to the moon."

    I was around in the 1950s and 60s I always read they went to the moon because :

    1. Spirit of competition:

    a) to get there because the Soviets wanted to get there

    b) to get there first because the Soviets wanted to get there first.

    2. Technology driver/demonstrator: The goal could have been anything, just something to emotionally inspire taxpayers and engineers.

    JFK, #1 that's what he said. And later presidents said variations of #2.

    B. "And furthermore, if you really want to go somewhere, get out of this solar system."

    As with the moon, to get there we started with unmanned sub-orbital missions, then orbital missions, then a manned suborbital mission, then manned orbital missions.

    Step-by-step, develop some technology, test it out, develop the next step, test that.

    C. In the big scheme of things scientifically, sending a man to the moon was a waste of money. Anything a man could do on the moon could be done more cheaply by equipment.

    So far as I know, most of the geology and astronomy learned from the Apollo project was learned from the unmanned missions.

    Moon rocks were brought back, but rather than being really useful as was predicted, they were so useless many of them got lost in drawers.

    D. The moon is not going to crash into the earth. A large asteroid or comet some day will.

    And there is your practical reason for doing what is currently being done.

    E. As for astronomy and geology, there are the unmanned missions giving us way more bang for the buck than any manned mission.

    F. All that is missing from today's NASA is the cowboy rocket hero aspect. That is true. NASA wants to compete with the US armed forces in charisma and propaganda -- but propaganda against US taxpayers is not a proper use of taxpayers money.

    That is how I see it.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: What practical reason is there for going to the moon ?

      Would the fact it is cheaper and more efficient for equipment to raise your children, take care of your wife, do (your favorite hobby) or replace your favorite sports teams make doing it that way a better choice?

      Cost and efficiencies are the tools of accountants, ineffective politicians and off-brand super villains. A non-military mission of exploration needs no justification for its existence. It exists because it is right and good that Humans expand on our knowledge and abilities as individuals, as nations, as a species.

      Our species innate desire to learn and explore, our ability to adapt to what we find over the next hill is a large part of what makes us somewhat special. Unlike other animals we do not have to wait for fate or happenstance to dictate where, or even if, our species survives and thrives. We have a very special ability, an evolutionary advantage in our desire for more questions and the ability to build on the answers to those questions. It is not only foolish to ignore that advantage, it is the purest folly for the ultimate survival any species to to fail to utilize its advantages.

      I say back to the Moon with Man. On to Mars. On to places no one has ever seen.

      I also say we need a non-alien 'Space' icon.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: What practical reason is there for going to the moon ?

      Look up interviews with Steve Squires about the usefulness of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. He states that a human geologist is able to accomplish more in an afternoon than both rovers can accomplish in a year (martian year). Since he couldn't expect to go to Mars himself, the rovers were the next best option.

      Human exploration garners much more interest and excitement as long as it's breaking new ground and making exciting new discoveries. Now that ISS is built, it could be manned by robots for all most people care. Going back to the moon with autonomous rovers and mindless mining robots isn't going to make for riveting campaign speeches.

  18. Herby

    There is one resource on the moon!

    Two words: Helium 3

    Yes, it is used to do lots of stuff, and the moon has some in reasonable quantities.

    As for light/dark moon. That is caused by its 28+ day orbit around the earth which has only one side pointed to it. The SUN's view is entirely different, and that is what causes the phases. To have constant solar power there, you need the panels on opposite sides of the moon. That will work except when there is a lunar eclipse that will shadow things. Even then the one on the back side of the moon can't be effected as it doesn't see the earth (or its shadow).

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