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moonbase plans

back in the news is the US plan to establish a permanent human-occupied base on the moon, as a preparation point for future missions beyond, namely a manned mission to Mars.
Long range and ambitious plans they are, as there are technologies that don’t exist yet for such an operation.

The moon is not for the faint of heart. It is a lethal place, without atmosphere, pelted constantly by cosmic rays and micrometeorites, plagued by temperature swings of hundreds of degrees, and swathed in a blanket of dust that can ruin space suits, pollute the air supply and bring machinery to a screeching halt.
“It’s like Magellan. You send them off, and maybe they come back, maybe they don’t,” said planetary scientist Wendell W. Mendell, manager of NASA’s Office for Human Exploration Science, during an interview at the recently concluded Lunar and Planetary Science Conference here. “There’s a lot of pathologies that show up, and there’s nobody in the Yellow Pages.”

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