Tag Archives: moon base

Water Found on the Moon’s Sunlit Surface

Using the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) NASA researchers have made a stunning discovery regarding the Moon, finding that water is present on the natural satellite’s dayside, as well as its colder nightside. Hydrogen traces had previously been found at the lunar south pole, which experiences near-constant sunlight, but researchers did not believe this was related to water molecules.

This illustration highlights the Moon’s Clavius Crater with an illustration depicting water trapped in the lunar soil there, along with an image of NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) that found sunlit lunar water. (Credits: NASA)
This illustration highlights the Moon’s Clavius Crater with an illustration depicting water trapped in the lunar soil there, along with an image of NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) that found sunlit lunar water. (Credits: NASA)

At a virtual press conference researchers Paul Hertz, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters, Washington, Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Casey Honniball, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, and Naseem Rangwala, project scientist for the SOFIA mission, NASA’s Ames Research Center, Silicon Valley, California, discussed the findings with journalists from across the globe.

“We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon,” says Hertz.  “Now we know it is there. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about resources relevant for deep space exploration.”

The team’s results could change our fundamental understanding of Earth’s largest natural satellite, and also how water forms and survives in the depths of space.

The findings are significant as previously NASA had believed that water could only be found on the Moon’s nightside and in deep cavernous craters, where it may be hard to reach. Scientists had believed that water of the sunlit side of the Moon would be boiled away as a result of the lack of atmosphere and from constant exposure to the sun.

Casey Honniball offers two possible explanations as to how this water found itself at the lunar south pole; suggesting that it could have been delivered by solar winds, or by micrometeorite impacts.

If the later is the case it could relate to two possible mechanisms. Not only could micrometeorites deliver water to the surface, but the heat from these impacts could also fuse together two hydroxyl molecules, thus creating a water molecule. If this is the case, the water is likely to be sealed within tiny glass beads, about the size of a pencil tip created by the immense heat of impact.

If the water is locked up in these glass beads, they would provide an excellent protective measure to prevent water from being lost to space or evaporating as a result of the Moon’s harsh conditions.

Scientists using NASA’s telescope on an airplane, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, discovered water on a sunlit surface of the Moon for the first time. SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that allows astronomers to study the solar system and beyond in ways that are not possible with ground-based telescopes. Molecular water, H2O, was found in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth in the Moon’s southern hemisphere. This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places.
Credits: NASA/Ames Research Center

How Much Water Have NASA Found?

Previous measurements of hydrogen signals from the moon’s sunlit side had been associated with hydroxyl molecules, which at a 3-micron scale at which observations were performed, is indistinguishable from water. SOFIA’s observation was conducted at an improved 6-micron resolution, thus allowing astronomers to confirm the presence of water.

“Prior to the SOFIA observations, we knew there was some kind of hydration,” says Honniball, the lead author who published the results from her graduate thesis work at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa in Honolulu. “But we didn’t know how much, if any, was actually water molecules – like we drink every day – or something more like drain cleaner.

“Water has a distinct chemical fingerprint at 6 microns that hydroxyl does not have.”

Naseem Rangwala points out the amounts of water found, equivalent to roughly a 12oz bottle of water in a cubic meter, is extremely spread out.

Whilst the observations are only of the Moon’s surface, if the water is contained in glass beads then it is expected that these beads could find their way deeper beneath the lunar surface.

SOFIA will now conduct follow-up observations looking for water in additional sunlit locations and during different lunar phases to learn more about how the water is produced, stored, and moved across the Moon. 


SOFIA is the world’s largest airborne observatory, a modified 747 that cruises high in the Earth’s stratosphere. From an altitude of 38,000 — 40,000 feet SOFIA’s onboard 2.7-meter (106-inch) reflecting telescope is able to capture a clear view of the Universe and objects in the solar system in the infrared spectrum, untroubled by the obscuring effect of 99% of the atmosphere’s water vapour. It is this unobscured view that has allowed it to capture data that led to this astounding new discovery about water on the Moon.

SOFIA-- here seen soaring over the snow-covered Sierra Nevada mountains with its telescope door open during a test flight--has allowed NASA to make a major new moon discovery. SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft. (NASA/Jim Ross)
SOFIA– here seen soaring over the snow-covered Sierra Nevada mountains with its telescope door open during a test flight–has allowed NASA to make a major new moon discovery. SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft. (NASA/Jim Ross)

SOFIA’s main purpose is to observe the Universe in the infrared spectrum, spotting objects and events that aren’t observable in visible light. The fact that it is mounted aboard a modified 747 means it can make observations from any point on Earth, a feature that has made it particularly useful for spotting transient events. This includes eclipse–like occurrences of Pluto, Titan–a moon of Saturn, and MU69–a Kuiper belt object also known as Arrokoth, which earned the nickname the ‘space snowman’ due to its bowling pin-like shape.

What is astounding about SOFIA’s observation is that it was made during a test of the telescope as the renovated 747 flew over the Nevada Desert on its way back to its home base in California. The telescope itself isn’t usually used to view relatively bright objects such as the Moon. Instead, it would usually be used to observed dim objects such as black holes, star clusters, and distant galaxies.

“It was, in fact, the first time SOFIA has looked at the Moon, and we weren’t even completely sure if we would get reliable data, but questions about the Moon’s water compelled us to try,” says Rangwala, SOFIA’s project scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. “It’s incredible that this discovery came out of what was essentially a test, and now that we know we can do this, we’re planning more flights to do more observations.”

Water, Water, Everywhere. But is there a drop to drink?

This new discovery contributes to NASA’s efforts to learn about more about the Moon, in the process supporting its goal of deep space exploration. The big question is how accessible is this water and can it be used by a future mission?

In this multi-temporal illumination map of the lunar south pole, where the team has discovered the telltale fingerprint of water molecules. Shackleton crater (19 km diameter) is in the centre, the south pole is located approximately at 9 o’clock on its rim. The map was created from images from the camera aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Credits: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

The researchers are clear that answering many of these remaining questions will require getting down to the surface of the Moon The data collected by SOFIA will be of use to these surface mission, particularly for the future NASA mission  Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER). VIPER will take to the surface of the Moon to create a water resource map of its surface, which can then be used by future missions.

“Water is a valuable resource, for both scientific purposes and for use by our explorers,” explains Bleacher. “If we can use the resources at the Moon, then we can carry less water and more equipment to help enable new scientific discoveries.”

If water can be mined from the Moon, it could fulfil a variety of use, including the synthesis of oxygen for astronauts, and even the creation of fuel. Understanding what form the water is in is key to understanding how to extract it.

“Finding water that is easier to reach is important to us,” says Bleacher. “If it is locked up in glass beads it may take more energy to retrieve than if it locked up in the soil.” That means NASA will be looking to discover what state the water is in.

All this comes ahead of NASA’s 2024 Artemis program which will see the first woman and the next man sent to the lunar surface. This will be in preparation for NASA’s next major goal, human exploration of Mars, which could begin as early as the 2030s.

In addition to these practical applications for future space exploration, a deeper understanding of the Moon enables astronomers, cosmologists, and astrophysicists to piece together a better picture of the broader history of the inner solar system and the possibility of water existing deeper in space.


Two men and two women spent 200 days in a virtual Chinese moon base. Here’s what happened

Four Chinese volunteers spent 200 days in a simulated space lab in Beijing, breaking the record for the longest stay in a self-sustaining cabin. They had no input from the outside world, grew their own food, and handled their own waste.

Four volunteers lived in the sealed lab to simulate a long-term space mission with no input from the outside world. Image credits: China National Space Administration.

China’s lunar base plans are becoming more and more serious, but before they actually send astronauts there, they want to know how they can handle the rough conditions on the moon — so they set up a “virtual” base, here on Earth. They called it the Lunar Palace.

The Lunar Palace has two plant modules where pretend astronauts can grow and harvest their own food, as well as a living cabin with living facilities. The cabin is basically a 42 square meter area (450 square feet) containing four sleeping cubicles, a common room, a bathroom, a waste treatment, and even a room for growing animals.

The main focus of the experiment was to see how the Bioregenerative Life Support System (BLSS) functions over a longer period of time in a lunar-like environment. Within the BLSS, humans, animals, plants, and microorganisms are expected to co-exist together safely. Astronauts grow their own food in the form of experimental crops, and they also manage their own waste.

Of course, a secondary objective of the study was to see how the volunteers would withstand the psychological stress of being isolated in such a small cabin.

The four volunteers were biomedicine students from Beihang University, and they handled the situation quite well, the module’s chief designer Liu Hong told Xinhua. As if the entire experience wasn’t challenging enough, the lab hosting the experiment experienced unexpected blackouts. This “challenged the system as well as the psychological status of the volunteers, but they withstood the test,” Liu said.

Not much else has currently been disclosed about the experiments and the mental state of the participants.

It’s not the first time such an experiment was carried out at the Lunar Palace. A successful 105-day trial was carried out in 2014. However, this type of experiment has been going on for a long time, since the Soviets had three people spend 180 days in a similarly closed ecosystem in the early 1970s.

In recent years, China has spent tremendous sums to advance its space program, and the results are showing.

Ultimately, China wants to build its own moon base within a decade, potentially in a partnership with the European Union. The Chinese Space Program is one of the world’s most active, advanced, and successful. Aside from the moon base, they want to establish a crewed space station (much like the International Space Station), send an unmanned rover to Mars, and exploit the Earth-Moon space for industrial development — namely, developing space-based solar powered satellites that would beam energy back to Earth.

A lunar base concept drawing. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

China and Europe have talks to build a ‘Moon Village’ together

A high-ranked Chinese official from the country’s space agency recently revealed that China and the European Space Agency (ESA) could partner to build a moonbase together. For some years, China has been dabbling with the idea of building a moon base on its own. A joint venture with an arguably more experienced partner like the ESA, however, will improve the odds of success.

A lunar base concept drawing. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

A lunar base concept drawing. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Two heads are better than one

The space race of the ’60 and ’70s was more about a show of force between two sole superpowers, the USA and the Soviet Union. After the latter collapsed, space flight and exploration suffered as the USA saw little incentive to go farther than any ‘commie’ has gone before. The last human boots touched down on the moon in 1972 and since then NASA’s budget gets pressured with cuts every year. That’s what happens, basically, when space exploration becomes a show of military might and brawn, not an honest scientific endeavor.

But then the International Space Station happened — a massive international collaboration spanning 15 different countries. The $100-billion space station is the most complex international scientific and engineering project in history, but also the largest structure humans have ever erected in space. Inside, there’s more livable room than a conventional five-bedroom house. It also has two bathrooms, gym facilities, and a 360-degree bay window.

No country could have single-handedly engineer and finance such a huge project. Built brick by brick, so to speak, the ISS has been constantly upgraded since its first module was launched from Russia in 1998. It’s a testament to how countries can band together for the common good of science and humanity.

Well, some countries at least. China was never allowed to contribute a nut or bolt to the International Space Station because the United States always objects out of concern that China would use the tech access to advance its military program. But a lot has happened in the last 20 years.

“The Chinese have a very ambitious moon programme already in place,” said Pal Hvistendahl, a spokesperson for the European Space Agency, in a statement. “Space has changed since the space race of the Sixties. We recognise that to explore space for peaceful purposes, we do international cooperation.”

China’s first manned flight only took place in 2003, or more than 42 years after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin return from Earth’s lower orbit. It’s catching up fast, though. Its first space station, the eight-ton Tiangong 1 (Heavenly Palace) launched on 29 September 2011 and hosted two three-person crews between 2012 and 2013. The nation’s second space lab, Tiangong 2, launched last year — the final preparation before China launches a full-fledged space station in 2020. Also last year, China launched a “hack-proof” quantum communication satellite on a 53m-tall rocket designed, like anything they do, by Chinese engineers. Despite it having a budget five times smaller than NASA’s, the Chinese space program made 14 successful launches in 2013 compared to NASA’s 19 and Russia’s 31.

China’s space program also set its sights after new milestones. In 2013, it landed a small rover on the lunar surface which continued to relay back for years. This gave Chinese engineers enough confidence to plan a similar mission on the far side of the Moon for 2018, which would be world’s first. In 2020, China also wants to send a rover to Mars, joining the race with ESA and NASA.

“You will see the Chinese quite visibly begin to match the capacity of the other spacefaring powers by 2020,” predicts Brian Harvey, space analyst and author of China in Space: The Great Leap Forward.

“Science is becoming more and more important in the Chinese space programme,” Wang Chi of the National Space Science Centre, Chinese Academy of Sciences, told The Guardian last year. “We are not [just] satisfied with the achievements we have made in the fields of the space technology and space application. With the development of the Chinese space programme, we are trying to make contributions to human knowledge about the universe.”

China’s biggest ambition, however, is to send a Chinese astronaut to the moon and, ultimately, build a lunar base. It tentatively wants to achieve this by 2030 but now with the help of the ESA, it could happen far sooner.

Hopefully, the two can move beyond just ‘talks’. After all, China and the ESA are already working together. After China returns samples from the far side of the moon, some will arrive at ESA labs for study.


NASA plans manned outpost on the far side of the moon


An artist impression of a view from the far side of the moon.

At the beginning of the year, we reported how NASA, despite being faced with drastic budget cut-backs, had an audacious plan of building a human-tended waypoint on the far side of the moon. Suspended in space, hundreds of thousands of miles away from Earth, astronauts would care to this outpost by conducting experiments in deep space, as well as on the surface during jumps to the moon itself, and provide a sort of lunchpad for eventual long term missions to neighboring asteroids or even provide the last footing before a manned landing to Mars itself. Recently, the agency has revealed more details concerning their plan, but although no exact figures concerning its cost have been reported, experts believe Congress would deny it, despite its extremely interesting prospects.

The outpost would be placed at the Earth-Moon liberation point –  place in space where the gravity of the two bodies roughly cancel each other out, allowing for a semi-stationary placement. This point has been identified as the Lagrange Point 2, a spot about 38,000 miles from the moon and 277,000 miles from Earth. Compared to the current largest space station, the International Space Station, which is a mere 200 miles above Earth, this severe distance raises a lot of questions, some still answered by NASA officials.

A possible monumental feat or just another dummy plan slated for the NASA archives?

If a permanent manned mission is to be commissioned for the waypoint, then the astronauts stationed there would be at a severe risk. No one can hear your scream in space, but at least on the ISS, thanks to its rather close proximity, there’s still a chance at rescuing the crew in case of a severe malfunction. Then, there’s the issue of space radiation. That far away from Earth’s protecting magnetic shield, the outpost would be at the mercy of radiation, again something that hasn’t been addressed in NASA reports.

Concerning it’s actual conception, apparently NASA will use some parts  left over from the $100 billion International Space Station tenures, which will be carried by a massive rocket and space capsule that it is developing as a successor to the retired space shuttle. For now, international partners Russia and Italia have been announced. The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Space Launch System rocket, which are being developed at a cost of about $3 billion annually, are slatted for their maiden flight in 2017 – alleged construction of the outpost would start 2 years later.

Here are the six strategic principles which require implementation for the operation to have a real chance at being funded, as described in a NASA memo from a few months ago:

  • U.S. commercial business opportunities to further enhance the space station logistics market with a goal of reducing costs and allowing for private sector innovation.
  • Multiuse or reusable in-space infrastructure that allows a capability to be developed and reused over time for a variety of exploration destinations.
  • The application of technologies for near-term applications while focusing research and development of new technologies to reduce costs, improve safety, and increase mission capture over the longer term.
  • Demonstrated affordability across the project life cycle.
  • Near-term mission opportunities with a well-defined cadence of compelling missions providing for an incremental buildup of capabilities to perform more complex missions over time.

An outpost on the far side of the moon: why?

The space outpost’s potential missions include regular scientific deep space experiments, some of which currently not possible on the ISS, study of nearby asteroids, dispatching robotic trips to the moon that would gather moon rocks and bring them back to astronauts at the outpost and ultimately lay the ground-work for the most ambitious space goal yet: putting man on Mars’ surface.

via Orlando Sentinel

A high resolution image taken by NASA's LROC shows a 100m deep cave inside the moon's surface. (c) NASA

Russia wants to build a base in the Moon’s underground tunnels

A high resolution image taken by NASA's LROC shows a 100m deep cave inside the moon's surface. (c) NASA

A high resolution image taken by NASA's LROC shows a 100m deep cave inside the moon's surface. (c) NASA

Back in 2008, the Japanese Kaguya spacecraft made a fascinating discovery when it found a metres-deep cave in the Sea of Tranquility. Amazed by the find, NASA had its orbiting Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) to have in the depth scan of the area, which came back with high res images, like the one above. Scientists believe these are actually entrances to a complex labyrinth of lunar tunnels. Now, one of the most renowned Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev claims that these caves are actually an idea spot for placing a colony.

“They could be entrances to a geologic wonderland,” Mark Robinson of Arizona State University, principal investigator for the LRO camera, said in 2010. “We believe the giant holes are skylights that formed when the ceilings of underground lava tubes collapsed.”

The lunar tunnels are thought to have formed during the moon’s early history, when it had active volcanoes and streams of lava used to flow in tubes.

“This new discovery that the moon may be a rather porous body could significantly alter our approach to founding lunar bases,” said Krikalev. “There wouldn’t be any need to dig the lunar soil and build walls and ceilings. It would be enough to use an inflatable module with a hard outer shell to — roughly speaking — seal the caves.”

The moon’s surface is extremely harsh, and any eventual based built on it would get exposed to copious amounts of radiation and meteor showers. Underground, however, such a based would be ideally placed, protected a number of hazardous factors. It would be, in fact, a lot more cost effective, as well, since instead of building walls or setting up modules, an inflatable tent would be put to use, with its hard outer shell sealing the tunnel. Boris Kryuchkov, the deputy science head at the training centre, estimates that the first lunar colony could be built by 2030.

Krikalev has more than two years cumulative time in space, is the first Russian to fly aboard the space shuttle, a MIR astronaut on several missions, part of the first International Space Station crew, a return as mission commander for another crew a few years ago.


Nuclear fission power plants – a viable power source for outposts on the Moon or Mars

As space agencies around the world, predominantly NASA, are considering building outposts outside Earth for the most likely far distant future, various difficulties need to be cared for. One of the most bugging and precarious one is the matter of energy generation. Without energy, you don’t have electricity to power labs, green houses, you can’t have oxygen – there’s no way to maintain life. It’s a no-brainer, I know, but it’s a point that needs to be taken very seriously, and scientists have been hard at work devising power generation solutions for some time now.

Everything seems to be pointing to a sole solution, with almost no viable alternative next to it – nuclear fission plants. Yes, tomorrow’s Moon or Mars bases will be most likely powered by nuclear energy. It’s incredibly efficient, it’s safe and, equally important, it’s cheap.

RELATED: Japan plans a Moon base by 2020, built by the robots, for the robots

“The main point is that nuclear power has the ability to provide a power-rich environment to the astronauts or science packages anywhere in our solar system and that this technology is mature, affordable and safe to use,” says James E. Werner of the Idaho National Laboratory

A nuclear power plant in your briefcase

Outer space fission nuclear technology will be a lot different from your conventional behemoth nuclear power plants you still today on Earth, though. Conventional nuclear power plants span across hectares of land and need huge cooling tanks. Nuclear fission power reactors designed with cutting-edge technology can be sized to as little 1 1/2 feet wide by 2 1/2 feet high, not bigger than a carry-on suitcase and can provide a humangous power compared to its size, making them ideal for extraterrestrial outposts.

Works on such reactors is already in place, as Werner and his colleagues from the DOE Idaho National Laboratory are painstakingly designing and modeling the reactor, develop fueling solutions, as well as a small electrical pump for the liquid metal cooled system. A working demonstration is scheduled for 2012, part of a project jointly made possible by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Dept of Energy.

Nuclear fission is attained when the nucleus of an atom is split into smaller parts by introducing a neutron. In the case of uranium, the most common radioactive material used, these are binary. The nuclear reaction obtained leads to a tremendous burst of energy which is then converted into mechanical energy, before finally being stored as electrical energy.

Some of you might ask why not use solar energy? It can’t get cheaper than that. Well, solar power, while used today to  power every commercial satellite hovering Earth, as well as the International Space Station, isn’t that efficient and has a highly limited power generation capability, at least with present solar cells.

“The biggest difference between solar and nuclear reactors is that nuclear reactors can produce power in any environment,” Werner explained. “Fission power technology doesn’t rely on sunlight, making it able to produce large, steady amounts of power at night or in harsh environments like those found on the Moon or Mars. A fission power system on the Moon could generate 40 kilowatts or more of electric power, approximately the same amount of energy needed to power eight houses on Earth.”

With fission technology to power an outpost, you could build one even in a crater. While the physics behind nuclear fission is the same for the huge power plants on Earth and the high-tech reactors planed for lunar outposts, there are a number of important discrepancies between them, size being the most evident.

“While the physics are the same, the low power levels, control of the reactor and the material used for neutron reflection back into the core are completely different,” Werner said. “Weight is also a significant factor that must be minimized in a space reactor that is not considered in a commercial reactor.”

If the technology can be successfully tested, it will definitely provide the forefront for future space exploration programs, used to propel man made objects or man himself much farther into space than ever before.



An artist impression of what a lunar base might look like. (c) Ars Nova Blog

Government officials introduce bill directing NASA to build a moon base

An artist impression of what a lunar base might look like. (c) Ars Nova Blog

An artist impression of what a lunar base might look like. (c) Ars Nova Blog

In what can be considered a highly ambitious project, but quite highly unlikely to get passed bill, Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., has introduced H.R. 1641, the “Reasserting American Leadership in Space Act” or the “REAL Space Act” or simply the “Back to the Moon Bill,” as its named in the vernacular. The key brief of the legislation is a directive to NASA to plan not only to return to the moon, but to also build a permanent outpost there – it is outlined below.

“The National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall plan to return to the moon by 2022 and develop a sustained human presence on the moon in order to promote exploration, commerce, science and United States preeminence in space as a stepping stone for the future exploration of Mars and other destinations. The budget requests and expenditures of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall be consistent with achieving this goal.”

This is all fine and dandy, but with an ever thinning NASA budget, one can only wonder where does this bill gets any solid ground to base on from. During the Bush administration, NASA was instructed to prepare and develop solution for long distance travel which would allow for trip first to the Moon, and afterward to Mars. When the Obama administration came to office a detailed and through analysis of these plans were made which revealed that neither the budget and schedules planed by the previous administration allowed for any such project to come to fruition. As such, the report recommended we give up on Mars, skip the Moon, and focus on developing the technology to enable long-duration space travel.

In response to the Obama administration cancellation of the Constellation program, government officials and space enthusiasts alike have been critical of the decision, which leaves NASA with no particular goal for the development of such long-duration space travel technology. Well, there is one – traveling to an asteroid.

The bill tries to offer a goal to the already passed and currently in development of such technology – building a permanent moon base. Outlined reasons in the report for going through such a plan are military (space is called the “ultimate high ground”), economic, and educational related, all for a a strong US presence in space. A moon base would offer an important outpost for further research, especially Moon water research, and provide an important logistic factor (refueling). All in all, the bill indeed is in par with the current Obama priorities, since the developed technology speculated would offer support for sending construction materials to the moon.

The fate of H.R. 1641 is uncertain, although it currently has four supporters. Even if hypothetically it passes the full House and Senate, and ultimately survives a veto from Obama (not gonna happen), giving the volatile political climate and the long terms in which it is formulated, it’s highly unlikely it will offer any concrete directions for NASA. It’s a start however, one which might bring in some more realistic ideas and bring human space travel back in the eyes of the administration, maybe in the future administration to come at least.