Tuesday, December 05, 2006

US plans permanent base on Moon

from the bbc:

US space agency Nasa has said it plans to start work on a permanently-occupied base on the Moon after astronauts begin flying back there in 2020.

The base is likely to be built on one of the Moon's poles and will serve as a science centre and possible stepping stone for manned missions to Mars.

The US has already said it plans to build a new lunar spacecraft to succeed the last Apollo mission in 1972.

Funds will be moved from space shuttle flights, due to be scrapped in 2010.

The structure of the base and the exact duties of the astronauts stationed there have not been decided.

Nor is it clear when the base will begin functioning.

NASA officials could not confirm mounting industry-wide speculation that executives from Wal*Mart's start-up sister company, Luna*Mart, and Starbuck’s own Moonbucks, would be accompanying the first historic return flight, but they did confirm that a vast retinue of heavily- discounted retail items, and fresh barista-prepared coffee would be available 24-7 for the astronauts during the mission.

President Bush, when pressed for an answer, grinned and replied “You know, this is one heck of a step towards an all-out push toward moon-wide american domination – eat that, Bejing!”.

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