Sunday, July 23, 2006

Could Private Industry Beat the U.S. Back to the Moon?

I saw this artcile about Space Adventures' new offer to let people do a space walk outside the ISS. They said the first one could happen around 2007 or 2008. But then there's this sentence:

"The following year, the firm plan to go one stage further and launch the first commercial trip around the moon."

I can't find anything on Space Adventures' website about moonshots. But NASA's Crew Exploration Vechicle that will replace the shuttle and also serve as transport to the Moon isn't suppose to be ready until 2011. And even then, it will be at least another 7 years before the next moon landing.

Now, going around the moon and landing on the moon are, of course, two very different things. A round trip with no stops is much less complicated and requires less fuel and fewer supplies. So getting there and back is a much simpler goal and easier to achieve. Maybe private industry will do fly-bys of the moon for a decade while NASA addresses the much more complicated task of landing and colonizing.

But in the meantime, can anyone spot me $100 million?

*Disclaimer: I have no inside info on any of this. This is just me being a space geek.

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