Argument: Colonizing the Moon would be too expensive to justify
(diff) ←Older revision | Current revision | Newer revision→ (diff)
Gregg Easterbrook. "Moon Baseless". Slate. Dec. 8, 2006: "How much will it cost? NASA said Monday it can build a moon base for about the $10 billion per year it now spends on the (soon-to-be-retired) space shuttle and the space station. (The agency also says that the international community will soon begin funding the space station, but no nation has agreed to this.) Considering that the space station and shuttle cost about $10 billion per year, a moon base might cost much more. The space station is 200 miles away and only goes up, never comes down. The equipment for a moon base would need to be accelerated to a significantly higher speed than was required for the space station, and that means a lot more fuel and a lot more expense. Moon-base ships will also need lots of fuel to descend to the lunar surface, and some will need still more fuel to blast off again. Remember, launching the fuel is a major expense. The Apollo program spent about $135 billion, in 2006 dollars, to place about 50 usable tons on the lunar surface. Even an austere moon base would need 300 or 400 tons of structure, equipment, fuel, vehicles, and life support—and probably more. Suppose today's technology allows for lunar-rated materiel to be built and placed on the moon at half the cost of the Apollo project. This quickly gets you to a program cost of at least $300 billion to build the moon base."
John Glenn, NASA's first man to orbit the Earth, said in 2007 that he though the idea of a Moonbase was a bad idea, calling it "questionable" and pointing out that to pack the huge amount of equipment on board the future Ares V rocket will be "enormously expensive."