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Moon as a Spaceport

Why don’t we build a spaceport located on the moon surface first, before sending a mission to mars?

If we want to have a permanent settlement on the red planet we have to start thinking on reducing the time travel to Mars significantly. This time could be reduced by using the low gravity of the Moon and from there launch our future mission to mars. By reducing the time travel the supplies will reach the red planet in a shorter time, the astronauts will not be as much affected by the danger of the radiation, meteorite impact, the loneliness of space, etc.

If we use the low gravity of the Moon we can reach higher speed with the same amount of fuel (used to launch a ship from earth), and maybe using the same rocket propulsion existing today, just accelerating the ship for a longer time until it reaches the speed needed.

I think that this could be better achieved in a three step process. First the crew is launched from earth to the ISS in a ship liked for example Orion. From there the crew takes a space vessel that it’s only been used to transport astronauts from the ISS to the Moon. Finally in the Moon the crew boards a bigger ship that has been assembled on the surface that it will take them to Mars.

This project will cost a lot, so NASA will have to ally with others space agencies, as did with the ISS.


Submitted by fcolathrop 2 years ago

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(latest 20 votes)


  1. The question titled Moon base as an intermediate step was merged with this question.
    2 years ago
  2. Status Changed from Pending Approval to Active
    2 years ago
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    2 years ago

Comments (10)

  1. How do we prevent Mars exploration trips from ending in only a flag and some rovers left to sit with only a handful of astronauts ever to have been there? Don't we want to maintain presence on Mars continuously by astronauts until eventually a colonization can take place?

    Wouldn't making a permanent moon base be a logical intermediate step before risking travel to another planet that is orders of magnitude further away? Wouldn't a thriving scientific laboratory as a Moon Station in conjunction with the ISS ensure the government's and people's confidence in our ability as a space-faring species to ultimately make the next step in sending humans to eventually permanently reside on Mars?

    2 years ago
  2. That strikes me as unnecessarily complicated and a waste of time and money. I think developing a heavy lift vehicle for direct launch, conjunction class missions makes a lot more sense and is far more feasible.

    2 years ago
  3. Agreed completely, Moon can not only serve as a base for launches but also as a fuel depot, we have been working since the 70's on Regolith samples and we have strong reasons to believe that moon has untapped resources.

    Moon can server as a testing ground for us before we make the move towards mars, and eer since the discovery of water on moon, it's been more likely that we'll invade Moon prior to landing on Mars.

    2 years ago
  4. Okay, let me put it this way, what evidence do you have that a spaceport on the moon is in any way a desirable goal in the foreseeable future, assuming the goal is manned exploration of Mars? What you describe makes me think of the 450 billion dollar "plan" from the '90s which congress wouldn't go near with a ten foot pole. Such approaches have since been ripped to shreds. Show me some compelling sources and I'll consider changing my vote.

    2 years ago
    1. fcolathrop Idea Submitter

      Sean, one of the main purposes of building a spaceport on the Moon is to take advantage of the low gravity of it and from there initiate a big propulsion to accelerate a spacecraft to a high speed using the rocket technology we have now. A direct launch from the Earth will take about 6 months to reach Mars. Maybe it will take decades to develop a good and efficient propulsion system that can let us short the time travel. We can sit and wait, or we can act and use what we have. Also building on the Moon will have other benefits, as learning about outer space construction or maybe we can find other resources unknown yet. That is the exploration spirit.

      Of course it will cost a lot, that’s why NASA has to work together with other space agencies and governments.

      2 years ago
  5. You go to the moon as a test for the technology needed to go to mars also to explore and possibly mine potential resources for use. Also u could build your craft in lunar orbit after prebuilding on earth and flying to lunar orbit. Assembly in lunar orbit would not only be easier but would avoid space junk and other objects in leo. The idea of using the iss is not really practical or necessary except as stage on return from lunar or martian missions as a quarantine stop.

    2 years ago
  6. I'm not sure traveling to the moon first would speed up or reduce the cost of a mission to Mars. However, visiting the moon for purposes of learning how to live on another body in the solar system and developing landing techniques is beneficial.

    2 years ago
  7. Yup,I agree with Brett Wood.We should certainly start practicing to live in low gravity!!!!!!!!!!

    2 years ago
  8. When humans first began navigating the seas they didnt just cross the Atlantic or the Pacific in hollowed out logs ? It took time to develop the skills needed to produce seaworthy craft and the accompanying navigational expertise which allowed us to eventually conquer the oceans . It makes absolutely no sense to me to " skip " the moon and not utilize it as a port and testbed for our more ambitious endeavors and aspirations within the solar system as well as utilizing the Moon as a " Forward Observation Base " equipped with optical and radio telescopes which will pay dividends in the future when we're ready to explore beyond our own solar system .

    2 years ago
  9. It will be really difficult for us to adapt to Martian gavity

    2 years ago