NASA To Deliver Space:1999 Scenario Only 25 Years Late (Veiled Subscription Pitch)

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From the LA Times, via the Indy Star:

An international team of astronauts will live and work at a permanent moon base to be built at one of the resource-rich lunar poles within two decades, NASA announced Monday.

Earth's first off-world colonists will cruise the surface in a lunar lander that will function like a low-gravity pickup truck, possibly journeying to the dark side to build the most ambitious collection of observatories ever constructed, NASA said.

"We will build up to the point where we are staying 180 days, and then we will have a permanent presence," said Doug Cooke, deputy associate administrator for exploration systems.

The permanent base could be operational by 2024, officials said.

More here.

More information on Space: 1999 than even Martin Landau and Barbara Bain combined could want here.

Recall Tim Cavanaugh's blast on how NASA fights the future with Gerry Cooney-like success.

Subscribers to Reason's award-winning print edition have likely already devoured Associate Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward's excellent story, "Space Travel for Fun and Profit," about private-sector space entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Robert Bigelow who are pushing the envelope when it comes to space tourism (and readers have almost certainly read the compelling sidebar to the main story, "Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex in Space but Were Afraid to Ask"). And subscribers are also being delighted–as we live and breathe, my friend, as we live and breathe–by other fantastic stories such as "The Pinpoint Search: How super-accurate surveillance technology threatens our privacy"; "Is Liberalism Dead in Central Europe?"; and "The Myth of the 'Values Voters."

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  1. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  2. The only thing the government should be doing on the moon is building a massive jumbotron that would spell out messages like USA = #1. It would be paid for by advertising.

  3. Did I miss the vote in Congress where the money was appropriated for this lunar base?

  4. You know, I have too much money… It’s hard to know what to do with it all. Perhaps I could buy a car without electrical problems, or spend it on my children’s education, or a nice spa for my house.

    Or wait! maybe a bunch of people can take my money and build observatories with it… on the fricking moon! Ah, that will rescue me from the tyranny of having to choose what do spend my income on! I’m sure my wife will be happy driving a car with no interior light for a few more years. I’ll go tell her the good news now; she’ll be so thrilled!

    Sigh, at least it’s not being used to kill people…

  5. I think it’s an insult to Martin Landau and Barbara Bain to mention them in the same breath as Bush and his face-saving pipe dreams. The appropriate comparison to this administration’s take on NASA would be the aptly titled Far Out Space Nuts

  6. Now i have the damned 1999 theme song in my head. Thanks.

  7. That was awesome, Jesse.

  8. Forgot about that S.S. song! But I think the Bush Administration’s policy making is more in line with this (particulary Operation Iraqi Freedom):

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=t-ow8lN86i0

    And Bob Denver’s character was appropiately named “Junior” …

  9. “We will build up to the point where we are staying 180 days, and then we will have a permanent presence,” said Doug Cooke, deputy associate administrator for exploration systems.

    I’m a little skeptical about the sourcing for this story. A deputy associate administrator speaks as an authoritive source for NASA? Right. Like I speak on on behalf of the United States.

    C’mon, now!

  10. We’re already destroying the environment on this planet. Do we really need to export this destruction to other worlds?

  11. Oh lord, “destroying the environment”? WHAT “environment” on the MOON?!?! (Where is the Army Corps of Engineers to save those lunar wetlands, when we need them?!)

    Maybe the moon base WOULD be useful if we could chuck all the environmentalists, anti-WTO protesters, and fundamentalists up there, along with all the Moonbase Alpha nuclear waste …

  12. as far as we know, other planets (satellites, etc.) don’t have a biosphere to destroy. we could potentially relieve pressure on endangered terrestrial ecosystems by space exploration and colonization

  13. Dan T. – You’re off the rails again, man. Come on back over here to where the rational folks are… Cause the Moon doesn’t even HAVE a friggin’ atmostphere!

  14. What destroying the environment?

    I am warm, my air is clean, I have clean water, I fear no predators, I have all the food I can eat.

    My environment is the best it has ever been!

  15. “Sigh, at least it’s not being used to kill people…”

    Yet.

    Something tells me they aren’t planning to staff this moon base with accountants and sousaphone virtuosi.

  16. True, the moon has almost no atmosphere, but our moon will almost certainly be a stepping stone for further space exploration.

    Everywhere man has explored and expanded, he’s left a wake of destruction. I don’t see space being any different. We should get our own house in order first.

  17. P Brooks,

    “Sigh, at least it’s not being used to kill people…”

    Yet.

    True,

    My first introduction to libertarian principles was Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”

    I haven’t forgotten how the the colonists wrested their independence from the United Nations

  18. Will female lunar staff be required to wear purple wigs?

  19. Hey, guys, if you want to go beat up on a troll, Juanita is back in this thread:

    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/117045.html#comments

    Unlike Dan T., she doesn’t seem to feed off responses, she just does it for her own amusement. So beating up on her won’t make the problem worse.

  20. Jeff P.,

    You act like SHADO doesn’t already have a moonbase with purple-haired women. Don’t be naive, man!

  21. Damn. Jeff P. beat me to it.

  22. You want to talk environment? The impact of removing that much of our atmosphere will be catastrophic. Air doesn’t grow back, once it’s gone it’s gone forever.

  23. Wow! And on the very day that LRC unveiled its space-themed Christmas Gift Guide!

    God must be watching from his house on Jupiter, laughing his ass off. The Moon? Geez, good luck getting everyone hyped up about that.

  24. UFO took place in the futuristic world of 1980, when Nehru jackets and silver jumpsuits were big.

    If SHADO still has a base there, it’s a 20+ year old relic, and probably abandoned an old World’s Fair site.

  25. Ahem.

    “abandoned LIKE an old World’s Fair site.”

    Carry on.

  26. It might not look like a good investment now, but what if they find oil on the moon? It’ll pay for itself, and it will be a lot easier to bring democracy to the moon than to that other place we’ll have bases in 2024.

  27. Or wait! maybe a bunch of people can take my money and build observatories with it… on the fricking moon! Sigh, at least it’s not being used to kill people…

    Truer than you know. Most of the times when the human race made great advances in technology it was the result of being in a war and needing the technology to win an arms race. One of the few exceptions was the U.S.-U.S.S.R. space race, where both sides had to invent the technology to win the race to land a person on the moon and get him back safely. Among other things there was the need for computers that would function in a lunar module instead of a clean room, an early model of the one you are using to view and respond to H&R.

    So don’t worry. You’ll get your money’s worth.

  28. “True, the moon has almost no atmosphere, but our moon will almost certainly be a stepping stone for further space exploration.” – Dan T.

    And this is bad how? I mean, really, it’s hard to screw up the environment of a dead rock hanging in a vacuum.

    “Everywhere man has explored and expanded, he’s left a wake of destruction. I don’t see space being any different. We should get our own house in order first.” – Dan T.

    Uh, yeah, except in the first world, where technology is overcoming such problems with technological ease.

  29. You know, I always had a little trouble buying the Red political faction in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars series. I couldn’t imagine anyone would seriously object to the terraforming of, or exploitation of resources on, Mars.

    Dan T., you have just made that series a tiny bit more enjoyable for me.

  30. Everywhere man has explored and expanded, he’s left a wake of destruction.

    Damn that Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin! Leaving a wake of destruction in my Petri dish!! All the polio viruses they’ve killed and left homeless. Oh the non-humanity!!!

  31. like a low-gravity pickup truck, possibly journeying to the dark side…

    Excuse me, the moon rotates with respect to the sun. From our perspective, there is no “dark side”, only a far side.

  32. Larry, Lary, Larry…

    Couple of points:
    1) Most technological advancements do not have their genesis in military research or interstate competition. True, this is becoming less and less the case due to the state muscling out private competition in charitable field of funding science research.

    The Soviet union had some extremely brilliant scientists. One need only to look at the inventions and new technologies they pioneered, to see that governments do not produce “their money’s worth” by funding research.

    2) I just finished next year’s budget. The highest priority item we feel we can not afford is a new car. If our taxes were halved, we would be purchasing that car very soon. That foregone car purchase leaves my family poorer. The chance that some technology arising out of these government moon bases will at some distant time in the future benefit me is worth less to me, now, than a new car bought next year.

    3) If the government hadn’t wanted a simple way to produce tables so that artilerymen could more efficiently murder their fellow men, the advent of the computer would have taken a different path. However, we would have computers nonetheless, perhaps sooner than we actually did, perhaps later. But they would have been produced. In other words, you shouldn’t credit the government for computers and the internet any more than you credit the government for the airplane.

    To sum up, if you want to fund a moon base, fine – DO IT WITH YOUR OWN DAMN MONEY, AND LET ME CARE FOR MY FAMILY!

    My money’s worth my ass.

  33. Jeff P.,

    Old relic? We’re up here defending you from aliens every. . .single. . .fucking. . .day. The truth? You can’t handle the truth!

    We did buy the sun sphere from the 1982 World’s Fair. Looks great outside my lunar office’s window.

  34. Stephen Hawking says that we need to colonize other planets if humans are to survive. Of course, he’s kind of weird.

  35. Sidebar: Homer Hickam wrote a novel a few years ago about a renegade scientist who on his own initiative defies the NASA bureaucrats and flies to the moon in a “borrowed” space shuttle (trust me – it sounds more plausible in the book). I was thinking they should make a movie about it. William H. Macy would be great in the lead with Hallie Berry as his girlfriend…

  36. You know, I went to the 1982 World’s Fair. It was actually pretty cool. One thing that struck me was that Hungary’s exhibit was focused very much on Dr. Rubik’s cube.

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