Russia Wants to Build New Space Station, Extend Life of ISS to 2020


The Russian space agency (Roscosmos) has announced that it will lobby Moscow with a proposal that would see the construction of a new Russian space station in low-Earth orbit. Also, the agency has expressed a desire to extend the operational lifespan of the International Space Station (ISS) until 2020 (the outpost is set for retirement in 2015). Building a Russian space station will aid Russia’s desire to kick-start their lunar program, possibly acting as a staging post for future missions to Mars…

The ISS has been a hot topic over the last few months, but not always for the right reasons. Its construction is behind schedule by at least five years, primarily due to the Columbia disaster in early 2003 plus some funding problems in the Russian space agency. However, despite its problems, the ISS was 76% complete as of July 2008 and it is set for completion in 2010. This may be the case, but the station is scheduled to be retired in 2015, meaning science on the completed ISS only has a period of five years before it is de-orbited and sent the same way as Mir in 2001 (i.e. down).

Could the ISS be modified to travel to Mar<span>s</span>? Credit: NASA/Ian O'Neill
The thought of disposing of the ISS so soon has led to some speculative “alternative uses” for the ISS; one of the most outlandish being the conversion of the ISS into some kind of International Space Ship, retrofitting the station with rockets and sending it to the Moon and/or Mars to act as a manned mothership for planetary activities. Although this excites my science fiction imagination, this possibility seems unlikely (it would be cool though…).

It seems that Roscosmos has made their feelings clear about the whole situation, making an announcement on Thursday wanting to drum up support for an ISS extension to 2020 and start the construction of a Russian replacement space station, forming the back bone of Roscosmos’ ambitions to set up a base on the Moon and then make a manned expedition to the Red Planet.

We will soon propose to our government a project to construct a low-orbit complex, which could serve as a foundation for the implementation of the lunar program and later on – the Mars program,” Alexei Krasnov, director of manned flight programs at Roscosmos, said in a news conference in Moscow on January 29th. “These are our intentions, but we are working hard to ensure that these plans get adequate financial and legislative support from the government.”

The Russian space agency has often been criticised for having ambitions exceeding their budgets, but this is an interesting proposition. The biggest obstacle (apart from the funding bit) would be to convince the other ISS member states to continue funding the mission. “We are considering the extension of ISS service life at least until 2020, but this decision must be adopted by the governments of all 15 countries participating in the project,” Krasnov said.

The idea of having a Russian space station is not very hard to imagine, after all, Roscosmos has the experience of designing, constructing and living on the Mir space station (with the assistance of the Shuttle-Mir Program intended to forge a collaboration between the US and Russia in the run-up to “Phase 2” of the space relationship: constructing the ISS), and they have a very robust existing launch system. All this will be a valuable infrastructure toward supporting the construction of a new manned outpost.

Although this announcement sounds very exciting for Russia, the space agency is beset with financial woes of its own; the idea of embarking on an expensive space station project probably wont be entertained for very long…

Source: RIA Novosti

43 Replies to “Russia Wants to Build New Space Station, Extend Life of ISS to 2020”

  1. I’m thinking…. space hotel?!? Surely the ISS could be sold rather than burned up once the US decides to cut off funding in a fit of short-sighted isolationism.

    But wait, we have a new administration now, and a new NASA chief soon. So, who knows? Maybe we won’t bow out and leave all future innovation to China, India, Russia, Japan, and private entities after all…

  2. What exactly makes the ISS “obsolete” by 2015? Is it “wear and tear”, technology, too much radiation? Because I’ve always thought if you buy top of the line you should be able to repair your way to longer use, and I think the Russians are right on this. Furthermore, they might have the booster technology to actually move that gargantuan beast out of Earth’s gravitational well. If so, what about putting it at L-5 and using it as a waystation for the manufacture of Solar Power Stations, an old but venerable idea who’s time may have come???

  3. Dump the ISS in just a few more years? When it’s not even complete yet? How outlandish!

    If it is truly retired just a few years after is is finally complete, then I feel that the US taxpayer did NOT get their moneys worth out of this project! Not to be believed!

  4. I am an unfashionably huge fan of the ISS, and have spoken up in its defence too many times to count when the terms “orbiting white elephant” and “financial black hole” have been used, but if it is de-orbited in 2015 even I would throw my hands up in despair and admit it was a waste of money and we’d have been better off spending the money on something else instead. It would be an almost criminally stupid thing to do, wasting all that technology and hardware and ROOM! There are so many possible uses for ISS, but I guess they all will depend on non-NASA access to LEO coming sooner rather than later. But come on, burn it up so soon?!?! I could literally bang my head against a wall whenever I think of that. This is why many people “Out there” think space exploration is a waste of money – everything is so disposable. It’s like sinking an ocean liner, or nuclear submarine, after just one voyage. It’s bad enough that we’re going back to a pug-ugly capsule after a generation of a beautiful shuttle (I know the scientific and engineering and safety reasons, but still… it’s a splashy-down *capsule* after years of graceful landings on wings… our astronauts deserve better… it just rankles with me) but to just throw away the ISS like that would be – well, unforgivable, I think.

  5. Where does does the 2015 date come from anyway? If sending it all the way to Mars is not feasible can’t we park it a higher orbit in order to extend its life. What about adding more and more solar panel arrays and have it provide beamed power propulsion.

  6. Stu’s right. Just a reflection of the continuance of the American ideal of the consumer disposable society. IMO it is a reflection of the unwillingness to work together for the good of the planet and continue obsessing about their own country’s perceived superiority or importance.
    Based on past historical event when economic times were not that good, comes the call for isolationism and reflection. America did so in the American Civil War, prior to WWI, the Great Depression, and prior to WWII.
    Clearly at the moment the usual narrow single-minded vision of America does not go beyond its four- election cycle. The ISS is very inconvenient at the moment, and like Obama says; ” those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits,… because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.” He also said “sacrifices have to be made.”
    It also looks like other countries no longer wish to be tied to the American space programme, and wish to strive to their own goals and direction – knowing full well of its endless failure and broken promises of the future. Others will go to the Moon with or without the U.S., and unless you are willing to co-operate and work together as an international team, well, you will just become more and more irrelevant.

  7. Russia is said to be planning to build a PRODUCTION LINE on orbit. Maybe thats they’re aim.

    This is probably good news for India since Russians have always helped the Indian Space program without any strings attached.

    The next Chandrayaan-2 is an Indo-Russian rover mission.

  8. Well it’s so nice to know that the Shuttle program is coming to an end soon and the USA will have no access to space on its own. The ISS? Well it only cost $100 billion, so just burn it up…

    Isn’t it nice to know that in the past 40 years the space program have not put a human on any other planet in our solar system, they’ve not even landed back on the moon and we did that with a pocket calculator and a pencil.

    What happend to the old days when there were men with the vision and the balls to inspire inspire everyone on Earth and give us a new hope?

    After four decades the only piece of hardware NASA will have to show for itself is a robot called Spirit sitting on Mars that doesn’t even work anymore.

    This might sound a little harsh and emotionally driven, but if NASA wants public approval, they had better get their act together – big time.

    It takes the Russians to express any creative thought or even have the balls to suggest that they have inspirational ideas.

    Is it just me or does anyone else find this incredibly embarrassing, visionless, stupid and wasteful?

    Griffin? Sack him. Get someone, anyone else in who isn’t going to set the space program back 20 years.

  9. In my opinion, the use of space station is in the future, will permit the exploration off the Europa, Titan, Enceladus, etc. Teams of scients can stay in orbit to use telepresen (Because you can’t trust on A.I. to conduce a submarine in Europe, for exemple, with milions of thinks who can be wrong). To make this work, in this beging of century, we most develop artificial gravit (like Arthur Clark imagination), and protection for radiation.
    So ISS is very important, and can’t be waste. Sorry my terrible english

  10. When are people going to learn that space stations and the moon have very little to do with trips to mars. At best, they are just practice.

    There is no reason for a mars ship to visit the ISS on the way to mars, and certainly no reason to stop at the moon first.

    BHR you are a bit insane.

  11. Despite the bizarre 2015 retirement date and Obama’s “sacrfices” I don’t think the ISS will be abandoned.

    Keep in mind, the “space race” still exists, albeit at a much slower pace. There is no way the US would “sacrfice” a military advantage (or the possibility of losing it) to another country.

  12. Dear Conic, no matter what’s going on with BHR, but I don’t like it that as soon as the governmental tax bureaucracy has managed to transfer the money of the people to the eggheads, these dudes believe that this plentifulness is their own. Those deciders are given the money of the people but in return don’t feel the least inkling of being only servants themselves.

  13. “When are people going to learn that space stations and the moon have very little to do with trips to mars. At best, they are just practice.”

    When will those with ‘Mars Fever’ realize that space stations are worthy activities *in their own right?*

    When will they realize that the Moon is a worthy goal ‘in its own right?*

    Were not ‘finished’ with LEO, there’s still much that cries out to be done there by humans, we’re not *finished* with the Moon, just because of six landings there, decades ago.

    And we won’t be ‘finished’ with Mars after the first few landings there, and some people will surely be insisting we stop that and go on to the moons of Jupiter?

    We understand this with unmanned probes. We continue to send them to the Moon, Mars and other places where we’ve supposedly ‘been there, done that’ because we know there’s more to be learned, and newer technology to learn it with. Why should manned exploration (and, where possible, development and commercialization) be any different?

    We can’t get into LEO on a regular, economical basis, in order to assemble, check out and dispatch ships to those places. (The biggest problem with ISS is that it;s still too hard/expensive to *get* to.) Instead of doing the un-sexy grunt work of developing better technologies for better, practical RLVs, we go back to launching capsules on expendables, and pretend we can afford to support and sustain space stations OR lunar bases OR NEO visits OR Mars expeditions this way.

    Until we wake up to creating a decent spacefaring infrastructure that can sustainably support the MANY things we want to do, rather than engage in ‘planet-hopping,’ none of this can either start, or continue for very long.

  14. BHR Says:
    February 1st, 2009 at 6:51 am
    “In my opinion … in this beging of century, we most develop artificial gravit (like Arthur Clark imagination), and protection for radiation.
    So ISS is very important, and can’t be waste. Sorry my terrible english”

    Of course, a spacestation design using rotation for the generation of gravity, that would be a real novelity in spaceflight. But never any space agency has attempted to realize this concept.

    Also, at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford and the universities of York and Strathclyde they have tested a “mini-magnetosphere” as powerful deflector shield for space vehicles against high energy solar particles. They hope to have a working full size prototype within five years.

  15. Frank Glover’s conception of “creating a decent spacefaring infrastructure that can sustainably support the MANY things we want to do” might be a keystone to success.

  16. Right on Stu and also Sci Fi Si – ISS has taken so long to build and cost so much it surely makes sense to keep it in use for as long as possible – not take it out 5, or even 10 years after completion! One problem – Nasa and/or the Russians HAVE to work out a more efficient way of getting there! For now I shall continue to enjoy watching her passing overhead – weather permitting of course! 🙂

  17. STU and Frank Glover are both Dead on the Money.

    The idea of just letting potentially useful equipment burn up in the atmosphere still bothers me, especially in the context of a space craft capable of housing humans.

    The prospective value of a Space Station in my mind is this, *if* we get to the point where we can actually build interplanetary ships in space, we can park them at the station and not have to design every space craft to reenter an atmosphere or actually land on any thing.

    A much smaller ship could be used to ferry crew to the station from which they might board a larger vessel designed without the constraints placed on a landing craft.

    At any rate, dumping the I.S.S. would be testimony to the failure of a government without long term vision for the population of the earth, much less those members of it’s parent society.

  18. All I know is that the first footprints made on Mars won’t be made by an American, neither will the next steps on the Moon. Not that I care, but it is a shame that its starting to look like the U.S. government really only cares about space exploration when it is a competition. 40 years after landing on the moon and thats as far as we’ve gotten? We should have been on Mars long ago, or at least some kind of permanent lunar base.

  19. President Obama will be selecting a new Administrator soon. God help the man, or woman, for they will inherit an organisation bogged down in a swamp of bureaucracy, swaddled in enough red tape to wrap up an aircraft carrier and held back by politicians with no vision, passion or sense of the grand.

    NASA seems like an agency without a heart and without a soul, without a true, definite purpose in life that will get The People behind it like Apollo did all those years ago. It might have been given the goal of returning to the Moon, and I have absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the amazing people who work for NASA will work towards achieving that goal until they drop from exhaustion, but the harsh truth is that very few people Out There, in the real world, care (clicks fingers) THAT about the Moon program. It’s old news. It’s not exciting, or inspiring. Tell people about NASA’s plans to return to the Moon – as I do very, very often in my Outreach talks – and I swear there’s no fire or spark in their eyes as they listen. They nod, and look at the pictures, and watch the animations, then say with a sigh “But what’s the point? We’ve been there, done that, already, haven’t we..?”

    And it pains me to say this, but they’re right. There are very, very few space enthusiasts/supporters/geeks more rabid or passionate than I. But as much as I want to support it, and feel excited and inspired by it, the Return to The Moon leaves me absolutely 1000% unmoved and uninspired. Astronauts on the Moon! Building a base! Exploring! YES! Woo-hoo! It should fill me with wonder, and awe, and fire, but… no… it doesn’t. It has no sense of adventure, no grandeur, and I can’t get out of my head the image of the Return To The Moon as a little more than a historical recreation, a space age Renaissance Fayre.

    “We went to the Moon with Apollo. Why are we doing all that again?” someone asked me sadly at the end of a talk I gave not so long ago, and although I desperately, desperately wanted to support the plan, and support NASA – an organisation I love dearly – I was genuinely stuck for an honest answer. But I guess the only answer is, cards on the table, hand on my heart, I DON’T WANT US TO GO BACK TO THE MOON! I want us to go to Mars!

    No, not just because, as some of you might have guessed, I am a Mars nut; this goes beyond my own personal obsessions and fascinations. It just makes sense! We don’t have to go to the Moon to go to Mars, we just don’t need to! And I can’t get my head around the fact that when there’s so much interest in the search for life Out There, NASA is committed to spending a gagagillion dollars going to a world where there can’t BE any life! It’s crazy! One of NASA’s Prime Directives – possibly its most important one – contains just three words: Follow The Water. So where are they sending astronauts? To the Moon, a world drier than the bottom of one of Gandhi’s sandals – a world where there’s NO WATER!

    Every schoolkid – and even a few adults – knows what the acronym “NASA” stands for. But NASA needs to relaunch itself and forge a new future. NASA needs to redefine itself.

    NASA Needs Another Summit to Attack.

    And that summit is the discovery of life, and that life is probably waiting to be found, right now, on Mars.

  20. Silver Thread

    so it does not look like STU and Frank Glover are both Dead on the Money.

    Mr. Glover claims that “were not ‘finished’ with LEO, there’s still much that cries out to be done there by humans, we’re not *finished* with the Moon, just because of six landings there, decades ago. And we won’t be ‘finished’ with Mars after the first few landings there“, while “STU” confesses that “the Return to The Moon leaves me absolutely 1000% unmoved and uninspired.

    I am more convinced by Frank Glover’s view which is that the values of goals in space should be regarded independently from each other so that the core issue is to establish a much more exploitable infrastructure for space exploration.

  21. People, I share your pains and grief, but one must remember, N.A.S.A. does desire to do all these objectives also that the public desires. True as it is, crashing the I.S.S so soon after completion, (if it gets that far), is a matter of financial and resource problems that stem from political and corporate origins. This issue, while understood by most people, is made even more compounded by technical problems that still remain unresolved, i.e. a practical and cost reasonable launch system mostly. I don’t see recovery systems technologies lacking to much, but it could use some inhancement as well I guess.

    This new/old capsule idea is N.A.S.A.s’ short cut. Personally, I think It is an attempt to salvage N.A.S.A from placing both feet in their grave. One must also realize, that space exsploration is not in the governments intrest list much because it is the intrest of the population “minority” and not the “majority”. Plus, it does not generate a positive cash flow of large capitol for the government to support the endevor beyond military and emediate services, i.e. spy sats or communication sats.

    The Apollo capsules were never EM sheilded, but was used for lunar missions out of a lack of knowlege of the dangers of intersteller space travel to the moon. Today however, N.A.S.A. does know the dangers present. The space shuttle was designed to be reuseable, but never intended to leave Earths magnetosphere. That in itself should tell you where intrests lay for space exsploration. Add to this the afore mentioned huddles and problems, and I think you will have a good picture of the future of the U.S. space program and any international involvements. Plus the economic state the U.S. & world is in, does not help this matter eather.

    Let us not fool or lie to ourselves. We are not truly ready for a Mars mission “just” yet. Lord knows, I’m in a hurry to go there too. But, we do need to prove ourselves and abilities. i.e. “How long can you stand being in a 12 foot cube with your spouse? It IS, a rather long trip to Mars and back. ABOUT 18-20 month trip, one way. Now compound that idea with working and confrounting technical problems along the way too. Most people here on Earth can’t get along even with everything they need right at hand. So, with that thought in mind, we take the I.S.S., we skip the moon, and got straight up the middle for the T.D., a Mars mission…………..someone is not coming home is all I can imagine. A Mars mission will have a lot to do with attitude.

    A lunar mission is a nice and bad idea also at the same time. The idea project does have merit, and it’s a nice dream for the minority, but, it’s a horrible nightmare and waste of funds for the majority. A complete catastrophie for everyone maybe. Why? Because the payoff for the investment involved would be a great let down to everyone. No one would profit permenance, or monotary gain from the mission/s. An article on some page in a book or paper in history is all that would ever be truly achieved.
    Plus the loss of another 50-100 billion taxpayors’ dollars. Think about it people, just where have we gone with all that we paid into the apollo missions? How many missions? Still we’re not there permenately?

    We have spent 100 billion on a space station. Even that is not perment. We spent billions on a space shuttle fleet, that only lasted about 20 years. I’m not trying to defend anyone or any organization here, but we must realize a few things here. Namely one, that the space pioneers are the corporates that contract with the U.S. to build the tech needed for these projects. Two, they control the price tag on them, and billions don’t seem to be laying around everywhere like junk mail in your inbox, and there seems to be a shortage of people to commit the cash donations needed also. Including me.

    That may be because of N.A.S.A.s’ history, or that most are too poor, or that the corporates charge too much, etc. etc. or all of the above. One thing is for sure, anything we do, will be short lived, and cost to much to everyone in some way or another, and many will complain about it. I for one, like many, is not happy about the decommisioning of the shuttle fleet so soon, or the decommissioning of the I.S.S. so soon eather. I would love and welcome the idea of how to salvage the I.S.S. and/or the shuttle fleet. But lets face it. Who’s going to liston to us? You don’t have money, they don’t have intrest. Sadly, thats a fact. So in this light, I don’t see a lunar mission anytime soon. A perment lunar base? Well, I’ll let you do the math on that one.

    I suspect we should get comfortable with high priced boxes of cheaper computers and cam-corders for space probes and the idea of an old style tuna can capsule for a space craft to do nothing more then be a sevice module to only orbit Earth in LEO, and do a poor job of inspireing much intrest for future space exsploration or public commitment.

    P.S. I know I probably have typos and spelling issues. …Don’t care. 🙂

  22. I was never too much fan of this spacestation project!
    It is too expensive and has few direct and pratical benefits (in the current reality). But, since we have it there up in space, running fine, why not to keep it? Money? C´mon, the world isn´t ruin… yet. Cut some jobs in the goverment and you have money enough to send to man to mars (jk).

    I know is not that simple… but I have a point, you must agree!

  23. I know this may kind of sound a little sarcastic, it’s not ment to though, but here is an anology:

    Why not build a row boat to antartica? One day we’ll invent the way to go faster with a gas engine, but until then we can row there and set up a base with a pup tent and start a colony with 4-8 people to live in the tent. We’ll take some fire logs with to stay warm, and some seed to plant a garden for food, and 10 batteries for the flashlight to see with in the night time and this trip will only cost you $5 million dollars and it will be a permenet base where you can live, work, bred and build whatever you like.

    Does this sound similar?

  24. Our total surface operation time for any off world mission is less than a month… you’re going to spend almost a year on the surface of Mars in some of the potential scenarios.
    Our ships will have to operate for even longer unassisted in space and perform flawlessly for the crew to return home. Not only is it a long mission, its also the largest payload sent outside of earth orbit.

    That is one hell of a envelope expansion on the first try. We’re not even talking about surviving the trip or dealing with crew issues yet. Just getting there is going to be a bitch.

    The lunar base is a nearby place to gain experience on the cheap. It also makes a good low gravity laboratory and a place to practice using local resources.
    A lunar mission would expand our capabilities for a mars mission. Possibly upgrading it from a simple visit to viable destination for its own base.

    If we can’t master doing moon missions for the long term, a mars mission will be an extremely dangerous PR stunt at best.
    We’ve got to grow past that kind of childishness.

    Space has to be developed.

  25. money spent doesn’t cease to exist.. it provides jobs..wages/salaries..which are spent on goods and services..which create jobs.. rinse and repeat…..

    money is the grease that keeps the wheels turning, only if it is spent! (not hoarded)

    a stimulus package for the ailing US economy could very well include funding of NASA projects… better in my opinion, than bailing-out corrupt bankers/lenders.

  26. They’ll extend the ISS mission just like they did with Phoenix, Spirit and Opportunity, Cassini, Hubbell etc. It makes no sense to de-orbit a multi-billion dollar asset, and that’s why they won’t do it.

    When they are through with the ISS, then it should definitely be turned into a commercial space hotel or an international heritage site or something like that. SpaceX will be able to get paying customers to the space station, and Burt Rutan’s phase three program will probably be operating by then too.

    As for Moon versus Mars: Mars is the better scientific objective. The Moon is ready for commercial exploitation, and soon, colonization. We will do both, but the Moon will come first because it’s easier and less expensive.

  27. I have to vote for the moon. There is so much we still don’t understand about it, it is a goal for space tourism, it is likely home to vast numbers of pristine metoerites from all over the solar system, including earths deep past. It’s an ideal site for a ‘super’ radio telescope. If we put money into developing earth orbit and the moon we can make our presence there closer to permanance. Moon and earth orbit arn’t stepping stones, they are worthy goals in their own right.
    The search for life on mars seems to be bouyed up by an almost insane optimism about a freeze dried desert. The oportunity with mars is to spread life to it.

    If we want to look for native life off earth we know we should be looking at the moons of the giant planets, and we won’t be sending manned missions there in my lifetime.

  28. That was a bit negative of me, sorry, I’d just missed my lunch! I would love to see people on mars, but I want to see us go back to the moon to stay, and develop earth orbit, more. Stu says that he can’t shake the image of the return to the moon being a recreation of ‘glory days’. I can’t shake the image of a mission to mars being a one off glory shot, leading ultimately to nothing. And I just don’t buy the idea of life on mars anymore. I really believe that life could make a home there, but the more we learn the more it seems that, at the moment, nothing actually does. A trace of methane in the atmosphere is not proof of anything, it has too many plausable explanations that dont need anything biological. If stu’s testimony is anything to go buy the tide of public opinion is against me, but I think development of what we know we can reach is a better adventure than trying to reach mars because of a thousands to one shot there could be life there we’ve so far missed.

  29. The Moon has helium3. 12tons could supply the USA with power for more than a year.

    The space shuttle payload bay can handle it

    The Moon’s a balloon

    We need to start mining the moon & the asteroid belt

    Well ? How about that for a free enterprise prize ?

  30. All this boils down to reduce the cost getting to space.
    The day we start sending ships 10 trips or more per month to LEO with the cost of 1 Space shuttle trip holding similar capacity as the shuttle per trip, I’d say we’re in business for the moon and mars and LEO.


  31. You write fancy Mr. One Citizen, but, just hold on a minute…. You mean to tell me you want the Chinese and the Japanese and the Indians to get to the Mars first? MAX says ” Space has to be developed.” I agree, it’s a frontier and not you or I can stop the entrepreneur from taking the risks and the profits from it. I would just hate it to be ESA, or JAXA or any other space industry doing it before us.

  32. I’m sure the ISS will be maintained as long as is possible, with no specific date on when or how it should be disassembled.

    Should the Russians proceed with their own installation, my hope is that they will address the very serious health issues that quickly arise in zero gravity.

    Perhaps a small spinning “rehab” module could rejuvenate our bodies adequately to allow for very extended stays in space, either in orbit or on a planetary mission. Until we have passed that hurdle, we are stuck on earth.

  33. yeah thats what we need to do is to let them piggy back on our achivements even though they have the finger on the red button to kill us all-and they are allies with iran… yeah this plan sounds great where can i sign up!!! whats next to let the 1st man on mars to be a serial killer…. no thanks

  34. “I am more convinced by Frank Glover’s view which is that the values of goals in space should be regarded independently from each other so that the core issue is to establish a much more exploitable infrastructure for space exploration.”

    Thank you. I would also add that for those who don’t see experience gained on the Moon as meaningfully applicable to Mars…

    Well, okay.

    *However,* as the solar system has plenty of other airless, low-gravity objects to choose from, I’d say that what we learn on the Moon will have direct bearing on how we operate on those places. (Those who anticipate asteroid mining should take special note.)

    Example: Like the Moon, there are regions around the poles of the planet Mercury where, even at that distance from it, the Sun cannot shine. In the 80’s, radar studies gave us reason that water ice exists there, as well. The technology to operate a base in Shakleton Crater at the Lunar south pole, would be almost *directly* transplantable to the poles of Mercury, should we choose to set up a facility there, one day…

  35. After spending all that money, we’d burn the ISS up by crashing it into the Earth’s oceans?

    Screw the Moon. Send the ISS to Mars with ion propulsion. By the time it gets there, humans should only be a decade behind.

  36. Has anyone had a look at any material that
    has been in “space” for the period of 1 year
    or more? The reason why the spaceshutles
    have to be replaced is simple, because the material has been full of holes! The ISS material will not last much longer than 2015
    maybe. The high speed collisions of fine grade material with any space capsul will
    become a sheeve. There is no material that
    we currently have that can wiyh stand this
    barage of collisions and still be light enough
    to bring us up in space at an exceptable
    cost! Our atmosphere is barely protecting us
    from these cosmic bombardment. When we leave this planet you are subject this “sand blasting” and need protection? This alone
    makes space travel over long periods prohibitive! They should recover the lunar module and look how the material has stood
    up all these years after exposure? The cost of space travel is exsorbitant yes but any trip to mars is one way, the space ship will not be able to return in one piece!
    Why not give a person sentenced to dead a
    change to win a trip to mars? But do not send
    a trained and decent person!

  37. dear lover of space,

    even if the armed forces of America and Russia would be at war with one another on Earth, the Majors, Lieutenant Colonels and Colonels of the Spaceman Corps of the two nations would never continue such a fight on board of the ISS. None of the partners of the ISS does select individuals for the joint missions with a fishy personality. If ever such a madness would break out on earth the men and women onboard of the ISS would stick together like brothers and sisters. No one is allowed to become a spaceman without good reason. And that reason does not strive for madness at all. The men and women who are allowed to go into space have much higher qualities than the average.

  38. Men and women who fly the ISS are human beings and subject to the same problems here on Earth…. To believe otherwise is to make them into something they really aren’t. You have high ideals about them but if you read your history book about the situations they have faced, you will see that they are not different.

  39. dear maudyfish,

    of course I did overtop the banks a little bit … enough to have a clear alternative to the ‘alarmism’ of lover of space.

    lover of space Says:
    February 2nd, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    whats next to let the 1st man on mars to be a serial killer…. no thanks

    I mean, that this “pessimistic” view deserves an “optimistic” reply.

    Otherwise, the Gaussian distribution seems to be applicable to the distribution of human features in the population. Some are higher in the ranking than the average.

  40. After reading the article, I just feel that I really need more information on the topic. Could you suggest some more resources ?

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