|Originally posted by jstricker:|
NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Agency (Administration, at one time).
It's "Administration" not Agency. I don't know that it's ever been "Agency."
The ISS is teaching us how to live and work in space for long durations, among other things. That has to be done before we can go farther. Setting up a moon base before we realize the long term effects on the human body in a microgravity environment and ways to deal with that would be pretty dangerous. The ISS is a necessary stepping stone to the moon, just as the moon is a stepping stone to Mars and beyond.
As for discussions about the moon for defense platforms, etc., it's too far away to be practical for anything we can imagine today. The mean distance to the moon is 384,400 km. It takes an Apollo spacecraft 2 days to get there. Any weapon short of a LASER weapon would be noticed days or at least hours before it got here.
Orbital platforms would make much more sense for any type of weapon or defense platform. At least those can be made geosynchronous - unlike the moon.
The moon also has lots of natural resources. Helium-3 is abundant, which will make a fantastic fusion fuel, once we get fusion working. Yes, I know that's a big delay, but we know the science of fusion is sound and we will eventually figure it out. It's just a matter of time. It's not a theoretical way to generate energy.
The moon's rotation matches it's orbit, which means we always see the same side of the moon from the earth. The other side is always facing away from the earth. That would make an ideal location for a space telescope.