Why the Moon
Or should we be asking… “Why not the Moon?”
Earth’s only natural satellite – the Moon – has been patiently holding mysteries awaiting human discovery. Water – the essential resource – is available in much larger quantities than previously thought. Availability of this resource alone indicates that the recent U.S. focus on Mars has seriously underrated the strategic advantage of utilizing the Moon to substantially reduce the required launch mass of Mars missions.
It is now time to embark on preliminary research project planning for evaluation of lunar environmental conditions and quantification of resources. Several early preliminary missions will be needed to lay the foundation for future robotic and manned exploration. We are in a pivotal period where action now will greatly benefit future space exploration.
You can use the moon as a proving ground simply because there are many things … that you’ll do on any planetary or lunar mission that you can rehearse, practice and perfect by going to the moon.Dr. Paul D. Spudis