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Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 08:48 GMT 09:48 UK
What do you think of Nasa's Moon plans?
Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 Lunar Mission
What do Nasa's plans to send a crew to the Moon mean for the future of space exploration?

The US space agency has announced plans to send a crew of four astronauts to the Moon for a one-week stay by 2020 onboard the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV).

Nasa plans to use rocket technology for the CEV, similar in concept to Apollo, and will retire the space shuttle in order to pay for its replacement.

The mission will enable preparations for a semi-permanent lunar base, where astronauts would make use of the Moon's natural resources for water and fuel.

What is your reaction to Nasa's plans to send astronauts to the Moon for a week? What do you think of plans to set up a lunar base?

This debate is now closed. Please read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Any trip to the Moon or Mars would just be more expensive tourism
Jeremy Goodwin, Boston, USA
The Bush administration continues to abuse and use governmental agencies that once had an actual purpose for short-term political stunts. We've been to the Moon before, and there was essentially nothing there. I'm all for Moon-mapping satellites and unmanned expeditions, but it's far past time to retire the shuttle, let the space station fall into the sea, and get down to some serious scientific business rather than the too expensive and scientifically dubious manned missions. Any trip to the Moon or Mars would just be more expensive tourism. Leave that to those who have too little sense and too much money.
Jeremy Goodwin, Boston, USA

Why send people? It is more expensive due to safety concerns and biological support systems. What do we hope to learn by going back to the Moon? Much more real science can be done with probes and unmanned vehicles like the rover and deep impact.
Mike, New York, USA

It will be a great step towards a future mission to Mars, but hardly a leap after we made it to the Moon in less than a decade the first time. How could it possibly take 15 more years after all of the technological advances since 1969 and the R&D for the space shuttle?
Mitch, Los Angeles, CA

I am thrilled that Nasa has announced its plans for lunar exploration. What is needed now is a clear commitment to a permanent base on the Moon that will serve as the start of further manned exploration of the Solar System.
David Bennington, Ruislip, UK

We should concentrate on unmanned exploration at a fraction of the cost and fix what is broken on our own planet before considering manned flights.
Tony Palmiotti, Chuluota, Florida

I really do not see the point of returning to the Moon. We have been there, done that. There is little scientific value in these new missions, and I see it as nothing more than a big publicity stunt.
Marc Labuhn, London, UK

I think it is an excellent idea to go back to the Moon and create a more permanent presence. I think this should be coupled with real efforts to develop and deploy the Space Elevator to reduce transit costs, and to ensure a sustainable space strategy.
Greg, Toronto, Canada

Charity begins at home, the moon's not going anywhere
Lucy Boyce, Pennsylvania, USA
I think it's a waste of money in a country with poor families who are homeless and struggling after recent natural disasters. USA should put the pork spending on hold and share the wealth with the least of her citizens. Charity begins at home, the moon's not going anywhere. There will be time for that later.
Lucy Boyce, Pennsylvania, USA

I think the idea of manned exploration of space, and a permanent lunar base is wonderful. I am afraid that NASA may fall back to the usual suspects for building this technology. Hopefully, once the base is there it will be much easier to bring in the private sector.
Chris, College Park, MD

I think they should be thinking how to fix the federal deficit, social security, and Medicare. Instead of doing missions in moon.
Joel, Yonkers, USA

At last a clear goal for space and something spectacular to capture the imagination of our children and inspire them. This type of achievement will be essential to secure the future of our species.
Michael Riley, Gloucester, UK

I think it's ridiculous that this is the best NASA can come up with when they are receiving literally billions of dollars of government assistance, ie our tax dollars.
Ben, Roanoke, Virginia

It's about time. There are so many sceptics that feel it was all a hoax back in 1969. Let's show those idiots that we're the only country to put man on the moon.
Robert, Ft Lauderdale, USA

Except for our advancement of science, NASA's plan to colonize the Moon and launch to Mars is a horrendous waste of taxpayer resources. I challenge any and all scientists to stand up and face the truth. This programme cannot be justified on a scientific or economic basis.
Will Smith, Holmes Beach, FL USA

Let the private sector take over
Ben, London
I'm all for space exploration but I can't help feeling that this is a knee jerk reaction to the Chinese proposals and that we are not going to progress past our current achievements. Let the private sector take over. I'm sure Richard Branson is keen to give it a go.
Ben, London

This is a splendid idea for the future when there's no disasters to pay for and seniors have good med care, etc. This is a really, really bad time to allocate money for something that is about as needy as a cancer on a boar. Want to know how to pay for rebuilding after major disasters? Cut off funding for going to the moon. This is so absurd. Why not hit on the corporations to pay for this shot?
Laura, Las Cruces NM USA

I think it's great how the US is planning to continue the study and exploration of the moon. The moon does not belong to one nation, it belongs to everyone. Exploration has been key to mankind. We might discover new ways of energy we never thought existed before.
Scotty Kramer, Bel Air, Maryland US

As an engineer in the UK space Industry for 25 years, I applaud NASA for their 'can do, will do' attitude, but I cry with shame and disappointment at the short-sighted and pusillanimous attitude of the UK government to space over the years.
Stuart Hurst, Stevenage, UK

Been there, done that, worn the tee shirt. Absolute waste of money that could be much better spent on this planet. Funny that most of the UK replies are all for it and most of the US replies are dead against it. Guess who's going to have to pay for it, think that might have anything to do with it?
John, New Milford, USA

Everyone seems to be missing the prime motivation for sending US astronauts back to the moon - politics. It's the beginning of a new space race, this time with China as the "enemy". China launched their first astronaut last year, and shortly thereafter announced plans to go the moon. America was forced to follow suit to protect its political advantage. The rest is PR and budgetary rationalization.
Marc Rogers, Cambridge, UK

I am a scientist with an interest in planetary research. Another manned mission to the Moon would be close to the bottom of my list of planetary science objectives. Some of your readers suggest that a manned base on the Moon can be justified because at some time in the future we will need to escape Earth and live elsewhere. Unfortunately, we will never be able to survive long term beyond Earth as we evolved here. Technological evolution is clearly faster than physiological evolution, but by its very nature is prone to frequent catastrophic failures.
Ian, Pittsburgh, USA

Whether a worthy scientific accomplishment or not it seems a costly endeavour for a government that is in debt.
Alex Strong, Carbondale, IL

A wasteful publicity stunt to mitigate the closure of the Shuttle Programme
Mark Fulford, Southampton, UK
There's no science in this. It's simply a wasteful publicity stunt to mitigate the closure of the Shuttle Programme. Instead of using old rocket technology to go to a rock that holds few secrets, why isn't Nasa spending the money on truly expanding the frontiers?
Mark Fulford, Southampton, UK

$104bn!? Is this really necessary? This is an astronomical amount of money being spent towards something that's been done before. Why can't one get commitment from government (especially the US in this case) to apply a fraction of this to real world problems like hunger, famine etc? I think it's crazy.
Michael Vaughn, Maidenhead, Berkshire

Ironic how we know less about the deepest oceans of the planets than we do about the moon.
Shahid Dadabhoy, London, UK

Why don't we internationalise these missions to share costs, pool expertise and lessen the chances of lack of political will ending space exploration? We should be aiming to go the Moon and eventually to Mars and beyond for the sake of humanity so let's all have a stake in it.
Paul Owen, Birmingham, UK

Two cheers for NASA. It's great news that they are getting back into the manned flight business. Also that they are designing a new craft to get to the Moon and then to Mars later. A solid "boo" for the time and money they wasted in the 80s and 90s on designing a Shuttle replacement...it should be flying now not in another 5 years.
John R Smith, UK

A truly visionary misuse of national resources. A government of the people and by the people ought to spend its treasure on the people, not on really nifty space travel.
Wes Andrews, Seattle, USA

Use robots instead of humans
Tom Branch, Phoenix, AZ, USA
Use robots instead of humans. Robots are expendable, and the technology developed would be useful on Earth. Robots don't need oxygen, spacesuits, food, water, etc, and they don't need to return to Earth.
Tom Branch, Phoenix, AZ, USA

Spending the next 15 years figuring out how to go to the moon in more or less the same way as was done, by then, almost 50 years ago seems a waste. We must set our goals on something better. Mars must be the place to go!
Svein Normann, Singapore

It seems to me that the money could be better spent fighting disease, bringing clean drinking water to the world's peoples, eliminating hunger and fighting the roots of poverty.
Brett, Eugene, USA

It's an aerospace industry grant sold to the public by appealing to very naive, tribal concepts. The money would be better spent researching super fast trains, renewable energy, AIDS medications, or even workable interplanetary engines.
Pavlos Papageorgiou, Edinburgh, UK

Let us hope that this new venture proves as successful
Brian, Cambridge, UK
The original Moon landing project gave impetus to major advances in many scientific fields, including computer technology, materials, medicine and communications. The indirect spin-offs have been immense. Let us hope that this new venture proves as successful.
Brian, Cambridge, UK

Once again, we are confronted with a debate of moral issues. Is it right that a rich country should spend so much on space travel? The amount that is being spent on space travel is enough to feed Africa for two months. Space travel is not essential but to some, it seems more important than lives.
Catherine, Suffolk, UK

It's time to start putting money into the research of our own planet and stop drawing people's attention to gallivanting around the stars. We know more about the moon then we do about our own home. The 100 billion dollars intended to go into the next walk on the Moon would do much more for humankind in the research of global worming and climate change.
Ian Ford, Halifax, NS, Canada

Although we have problems to solve on Earth, we probably always will , so we may as well start attempting space exploration. We might even find some answers out there that will help at home.
Bruce Leaf, NYC, USA

Fantastic news! The money spent on this will help produce new technologies that will help us on Earth. And the cost will be just a fraction of what is spent on the military. Can't wait!!
Kevin Elliott, Oxford, UK

The current state of aeronautics at Nasa is a sad one
Bill, Albuquerque, USA
As a general aviation aerodynamicist, it pains me to see yet another program bent upon removing the "first A" from Nasa. That is, Aeronautics. The current state of aeronautics at Nasa is a sad one, with many of the wind tunnel facilities at Ames and Langley having already been shut down with little hope for revival. In addition, the pittance of funding these facilities has been given over the past couple of decades forced them to become "profit centres" in order to survive. When this didn't work, the facility was either shut down or its use contracted to another, for-profit party. This rubs me the wrong way, especially since our tax dollars paid for the facilities in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I think it would be crazy to NOT aspire to explore space, but seeing as more people fly in airplanes instead of spaceships (at least for the time being), I think focusing a little more on aeronautics wouldn't be a bad idea.
Bill, Albuquerque, USA

Has anyone considered that our illustrious President may have less than innocent plans for a moon base? Consider the amazing bargaining power the US will gain in world politics with a military base on the moon. Also consider the thought that perhaps the US government believes that since we are the only country to have sent a manned mission to the moon, that that entitles us to proprietary rights for the entire moon and its resources. Greater economic power. Greater military power.
Aaron, Ann Arbor, Michigan

It's not so long ago that George W Bush was talking of sending astronauts to Mars and like his father he has given up on that. Despite more than adequate funding Nasa can only emulate its achievements of 1969 by reaching the Moon. If anything the lack of progress is abominable.
Dave, Sale, Cheshire

I believe the agency's mandate for space exploration has ultimately expired
Josh, St Louis, MO
While I applaud NASA for moving away from the fundamentally flawed shuttle, I believe the agency's mandate for space exploration has ultimately expired. Their resources would be much better spent in the support and administration of private space endeavours, rather than consuming taxpayers' money on what amounts to socialized land speculation.
Josh, St Louis, MO

If I recall correctly, a few years ago NASA was planning to send man to Mars by 2020. I am quite disappointed by the news today, as I am quite interested in space exploration and the everlasting postponing of all these activities is a shame.
Dominika Dudova, Prague, Czech Republic

I don't see why NASA is worrying about taking people to the moon when they can't even get their space shuttle to fly simple missions to the space station without worrying constantly about it blowing up when returning to earth. Maybe they should fix that problem and get the international space station up and running first.
Sheryl, Wisconsin, USA

I'm all for it. However, why is it taking this long? We've been there in 1969. Why is taking another 50 years just to go back to the same place?
Mike, New York, USA

As important as it is to return the moon, their plan seems rather outdated
Josh, East Northport, NY, USA
As important as it is to return the moon, their plan seems rather outdated. They're using much of the same technology they used in the 60s. For over $100bn, I would expect to see something new.
Josh, East Northport, NY, USA

I wish some people would stop going on about how much of a waste of money these missions will be. In America, $20 billion is spent on cosmetics each year, who thinks cosmetic companies should be shut down?
Paul Anderson, Liverpool, UK

Unless going to the moon will help scientists find a better source of alternative energy, I think it is an absurd proposition. This is typical of one of the most budget-crippling, poorly run, lack-lustre government programmes we have. Its about time we allow the privatization of space travel to take effect, and watch real capitalism work its wonders.
Onofrio Pirrotta, New York

$100 billion is just $1 a day per US citizen for a year. Seems like a bargain to me. You get a lot of research and technology for your money plus a great view when you get there.
Geoff Lane, Bury, Lancs

Excellent and exciting news! But to spend such enormous sums of money on landing a handful of people on the moon while there are millions of people here on earth who are dying of disease and starvation is morally wrong. If the ultimate goal is to make our planet better, isn't the best place start here on earth? Whilst such projects are praiseworthy, sometime they sound like outright nonsense given the "mess" in which the world is in right now.
Ahmed Bugri, Paola, Malta

Waste of money. I would much rather see many, many more unmanned missions pushing the limits on robotics, AI, and mechanical engineering.
Joe Borkowski, Brussels, Belgium

Surely the object now should be to be able to create a station on the moon capable of sustaining life. Science fiction, maybe, but "moonbase Alpha" is what we need to achieve. Just to repeat what was accomplished 30 years ago is stupidity, and wasteful. We need to move forwards, not backwards.
Keith, Sunderland, UK

This is a great leap forward from the space shuttle program. A renewed NASA moon mission can only lead to advancements in research techniques and technology. I applaud this decision of our government for this great news. I hope the first crew is diverse and representative of the broad spectrum of nationalities in the United States and the world.
Brad, Chicago, USA

Why would we want a semi-permanent base on the moon?
Jim Whitehouse, Woodstock, Connecticut
I think it's a folly. Why would we want a semi-permanent base on the moon? We have enough people in need on our planet earth that I believe would receive more benefit from the resources which would go to this effort.
Jim Whitehouse, Woodstock, Connecticut

If our species is going to survive it will, at some point, need to leave this planet. Hopefully, we will be sufficiently technologically advanced to do this in large numbers. So, I'm definitely for NASA's plan - which unlike many of the linear thinkers here suspect, will actually have a positive economic effect right here on Earth, right now.
Harry Webb, Broadstairs, UK

Great news! It is in man's nature to explore the unknown. From the start of history, every time we have taken a step forward, to explore the unknown, we have found benefits for all mankind.
Randy Robbins, Hamburg, NY USA

I believe a moon launch is completely unnecessary and hope that the government will re-direct this money to other socially beneficial programs that actually need it.
Casey, Kansas City, USA

Excellent news. It's about time man started to look to the long term future and got back on the discovery trail. Sorry to all the nay sayers - the wheel was invented and we did get engines and good medicine despite your negativeness.
George, Chelmsford, UK

I used to think that these kinds of efforts were uplifting and moved humanity forward. Now I think it is the arrogant expenditure of the wealthy. It is a mockery to spend huge amounts of money on something that we can live without when so many people are literally dying for lack of food and medicine and shelter. That same money could make life bearable for so many sufferning people.
Kathryn, Seattle, USA

Wonderful news, but why the wait
David Price, Perth, Australia
Wonderful news, but why the wait. Since I was a little boy I've wanted to see space exploration continue at a rapid pace. We should have already been to Mars and be planning now to explore the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Our world is vastly over populated and we should concentrate on what is out there and not waste our money on saving lives on Earth.
David Price, Perth, Australia

I was only 20 months old when the moon was last visited. It's fantastic news. I'm sure there are many of us who can't wait until 2020!
Keith Lamb, Lincolnshire UK

What is the purpose of going to the moon? We can't even be good stewards of the Earth. What an enormous waste of money that could solve many of the world's ills. Space travel serves absolutely no purpose and is a wanton waste of humanity's resources just to feed a few egos.
Maggie Browning, France

In the quest to create self-sustaining bases on the moon we may develop technologies which will enable us to live in vastly more environmentally friendly ways. Let's go!
Danny, Kendal, England

It's madness to neglect the serious and urgent problems of the planet while indulging in hugely expensive space travel. Healing the environment and bringing justice to human beings should come first.
Dzhims Steilijs, Riga, Latvia

I think that it is wonderful that new plans are being developed to continue exploring space. At the moment a lot of money is being spent on space probes, which despite being academically interesting, don't really get us anywhere. I believe the time is coming where all countries need to pool together to explore the universe in a much more efficient way. The idea of returning to the moon should surely pave the way to creating a manned base on the moon, which would provide a more useable platform for further missions.
Andrew Johns, Bristol

I worked on Apollo-Skylab in the late 60s and welcome the overdue porposed return to the Moon. However I am appalled that they plan to continue using the heavily polluting solid fuel boosters. They were designed to keep build costs down and could easily be replaced by low pollution liquid fuelled designs based on tried and tested systems.
Colin Ledsome, London, UK

I'm glad that we're going back to the moon, but I find it rather depressing that by the time NASA put astronauts on the moon again all of the original Apollo astronauts may be dead. Leaving a fifty year gap between visits to our nearest planetary neighbour is a terrible shame.
Nik Whitehead, Ex-Pat in Iceland

This is a wonderful thing for humanity. I understand that some are concerned that the money is not going to be spent on more 'Earthly' causes, but we should all realize that NASA doesn't throw its money into some black hole. It goes to hundreds of thousands of civil servants, contractors, suppliers, professors, and students alike. These people (several thousand of whom reside in areas affected by Katrina) use this money to support their families and develop technologies that improve our lives. Besides there are better ways to solve our "Earthly" problems than to throw NASA's money at them.
Brandon, Massachusetts, USA

Awesome! I say it's worth it just for the chance to really see what's out there with human eyes. However I do believe the benefits will be substantial and that we shouldn't wait any longer. As my mom keeps telling me: "If you keep waiting for the best time to have a baby, you'll never have one!".
Andrew Guenther, Fairfax, USA

The science that could be gained from such an exercise does not appear to warrant the enormous funds it would involve
Richard Baker, UK
As somebody currently working in the field of space research, I am slightly surprised by Nasa's decision to attempt a return to the moon. From a scientific point of view, the science that could be gained from such an exercise does not appear to warrant the enormous funds it would involve. Nasa would be better to invest their money in ventures such as Hubble or robotic missions to the giant planet.
Richard Baker, UK

NASA's plan makes no sense. We thought that astronauts were sent to the moon long time ago. All this space exploration is nothing but a waste of taxpayers' money.
Abdallah, Chicago, USA

I find myself defending NASA with one hand and scratching my head with the other. Sending people to the Moon is fine if there's some business case behind it, but why not send robots instead? NASA needs to come up with something more meaningful if they want to get wide public support. On the other hand, NASA's budget is only $55/year per US citizen, and the PR alone is worth that. See what I mean?
Dale Greer, Dallas, USA

I was 12 and remember being allowed to stay up late and looking up to the moon - it was a clear night - Neil Armstrong had just said "The Eagle has landed". My models of the LEM and Saturn V were on proud display. Who would have thought back then that I might be a grandad when man next went to the moon! Better late than never. But I still have my old model of the Saturn V and it remains on display.
Simon Mallett, Maidstone, UK

Again? What for? Space is overrated. Throw hundreds of billions of dollars at anything, be it sea exploration or a new particle accelerator, and it will create spin-off technologies, so that's a lame argument. How about doing something new for change, like building a mega-telescope?

It's about time. Space exploration needs an injection of excitement, going to the moon again will recapture the imagination of people, another small step for mankind.
Mark, Solihull, UK

To all those calling attention to the plight of those affected by Katrina, can I just point out that this is actually good news for them too, as these new moon rockets (re)use space shuttle components that are produced and tested at facilities in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Ian, Saffron Walden, England

I think the entire space program is a huge waste of money. How can we think about sending people to the moon, when our children's school programs are being cut, when some people don't have enough food on the table or can't make the rent or send their child to college? As fascinating as space exploration is, we need to concentrate on our own planet and its inhabitants.
Jessica Price, Salem, Massachusetts, USA

I'll believe it when I see it. The USA has a long history of announcing these bold, headline-catching space ventures in a blaze of publicity and then quietly cancelling the funding when the hoo-ha dies down and they realise how much it's going to cost. Look how long it took to agree on what the Space Station was going to be like, and how much "white elephant" factor the politicians managed to add in the process.
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

Now, if I remember correctly...didn't we go there already? And if I'm up on current events, I believe China announced plans to go to the moon as well. Interesting. Not that I mind billions of dollars that should go to education and transportation being used to go to the moon again.
Heather Lynn, Virginia Beach, VA, United States

The comments about spending the money on more worthwhile causes always amuses me. I have worked for almost 20 years in the space industry now and it is often the same comment: The money would be better spent on helping the poor. I agree money spent on the poor to try and solve their problems is a good cause. Money spent on solving the very serious problems the planet is facing, pollution, is money well spent. But money spent on space research and science in general is also well spent. Part of it is curiosity, the drive to go for the unknown, the drive that got us where we are. Not all is sunshine I know, but we did gain a lot from science.
Berend Winter, Horsham

What most people think is a huge useless rock is in fact a rich supply of raw material for future nuclear fusion reactors
Mark Holland, Sheffield, England
Nasa has been jolted into action to go back to the Moon because what most people think is a huge useless rock is in fact a rich supply of raw material for future nuclear fusion reactors - a virtually limitless power source. The Chinese realised this and have had the foresight to be leaders in moon helium 3 mining. Nasa, not wanting to miss out is only following suit.
Mark Holland, Sheffield, England

Despite my interest in space exploration, in this day and age, with the problems of the earth so clearly in everyone's face, surely we can do something a little more useful with $104bn, such as solving world poverty, developing clean and safe energy sources and eradicating death in the Third World from diseases that can easily cured if anyone cared? The USA doesn't have a decent public healthcare system, so how can this ever take priority? I'm not saying that spaceflight has not brought advances to anyone's everyday life (where would we be without cling-film?), but this decision is rather politically incorrect and shows total disregard for the 80% of world population that need help in developing their life on Earth, not in space.
AJ Heikoop, Windlesham, UK

Nasa and the Defence Contractors must be laughing all the way to the Bank again. Is it me or does it seem that little has been achieved since the 1970's? Looking at the concept and vehicles about to be deployed, science has not delivered any really new technology at all. It would be better to spend the huge sums of money on assisting the poor in today's America!
M Hewitson, Northallerton

I am sure this will be a sight to remember, (especially with surroundsound and a live high-definition broadcast- please Nasa!) Of course there will be naysayers but they must realise that space exploration does more for the Earth and humanity at large than another couple of billion dollars thrown at badly done conservation efforts. I can't wait!
Adam, Dundee, Scotland

We have seen what natural disasters can do to our fragile planet, our grip on life is feeble. We need to extend our domain beyond it's confines and move out to the planets and onward to the stars.
Dave, Birmingham, England

A Crew Exploration Vehicle launched atop a solid rocket booster? Doesn't sound very safe to me (solid rockets cannot be turned off once they are ignited). The Russians have much superior technology developed for its Buran shuttle that could be adopted here, and that is safer to boot.
Akram, Cambridge, MA, USA

I am a bit surprised that Nasa is planning this return to the moon in an updated but otherwise very similar way to the Apollo programme. I would think that planning a permanent base on the moon would be a better long-term idea. A permanent base on Mars would be even better.
Theo Stauffer, Zurich, Switzerland

I don't think that a layman even has the slightest clue of the long term plans of space exploration. For most people lunar exploration is just a good news story and a thrill for their imagination. But I also believe that it is this adventurous nature of man that enabled him to achieve so much for human comfort and happiness. All I can say is that Earth is our planet, we have a right to know our neighbourhood. Good luck to Nasa.
Agha Ata, Houston, USA

What a bitter disappointment, a larger copy of Apollo! A great step backwards - throw away 90% of your vehicle every journey. We're going back to the Moon on the cheap ("go as you can (afford) to pay"), when we should be going back to establish a permanent outpost to ensure mankind's future, to start exploiting the Moon's resources, a stepping stone to the rest of the solar-system, and to motivate the next generation. When will people realise that the only viable future will be to leave the planet and start commercially exploiting the Solar System. Granted it's a long-term investment, but we need radical solutions to solve the threats facing this planet, and some of them can only come from space.
Richard Olearczyk, Oxford

It will be wonderful to be able to look up and know that we have dared to explore the unknown once more
Mark, Basingstoke, Hampshire
Fantastic news. I saw the original Moon landings as a kid and remember the excitement of those first tentative steps. With so many sad things happening here on Earth, it will be wonderful to be able to look up and know that we have dared to explore the unknown once more.
Mark, Basingstoke, Hampshire

For what ultimate purpose, just to satisfy ourselves that we can do again what we did three times three decades ago? And what if the mission fails? The next excursion to the Moon should be designed to establish a permanent base as a follow on to a permanent orbiting space station and as a preparation for a manned mission to Mars. This cannot happen if the space shuttle is retired before a suitable replacement is developed and deployed first. This grandstanding to secure taxpayer support is bad science, bad engineering, bad management of resources and is another of Nasa's ill conceived boondoggles. If it fails catastrophically, it will make us wonder if we should have a manned space program at all.
Mark, USA

A highly sensible decision which will be greeted by all. At long last Nasa has decided not to rest on its laurels but to prepare for a semi-permanent lunar base using the Moon's natural resources for water and fuel. Perhaps the Russians and Europeans should also chip in; this could be an excellent collaboration effort and just why not?
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium.

This is a political move. The Chinese have already publicly stated they are going to the Moon, so I guess we have to go again. I am all for space exploration, but wisdom should prevail, not politics, on where we go and what we do!
Matthew Hoffman, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

I think that this is great, further exploration is impossible without taking the next step on the Moon. One can't imagine trying to send anyone to Mars without having them build a semi-permanent facility on the Moon. Which also leads to the possibility of making things cheaper in the long run.
Greg, Cherry Valley, USA

It might be time for private companies to come in and start investing into space exploration
Darryl Hall, Berkhamsted, UK
This is completely ludicrous, since the 1970s, technology surely has improved somewhat? It seems like it might be time for private companies to come in and start investing into space exploration, waiting on the United States Nasa to send humans out into space is a waste of time. Much more could have been done since the 1970s to improve space travel and generate some sort of revenue? Such as mining on the moon and providing an outsource of hydrogen fuel which could be used as a "fuel station" for space crafts. I feel like the space race is only just about to start!
Darryl Hall, Berkhamsted, UK

I have often regretted that the US stopped the Apollo program in the 1970s. The whole space program up to that point was an incredibly moving experience. However, I don't think the US should get back to the Moon until Nasa can get its act back together by hiring the right people to do the job.
Muriel Rodriguez, Detroit, USA

What an absolute waste of money. I'm sure this will be just the news those suffering following 'Katrina' will want to hear. Again priorities have to be closer to home and money should be spent on those that need it.
Martin, Stoke, Staffs

Moon exploration is an excellent idea, much better than doing nothing, and a lot more practical than Mars. There are plenty of valuable resources on the moon (such as helium 3), and it is a logical 'base of operations' close to Earth. Establishing a permanent lunar colony would be much more useful than planting a flag on Mars. If we try to wait until all the problems on Earth are resolved first, mankind will never reach the stars. Besides space exploration has the potential to solve some of our problems on earth by acquiring new sources of energy and raw materials.
Bill Beasley, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

I'm tired of "save Earth first" replies. Our greater understanding of Earth's climate has come from the space program. Its solution will also come from there too, it is necessary. No new age rhetoric will help. Forward to the Solar System and beyond, let us live up to our potential, we cannot stay in the cradle for ever, its time to grow up.
David, London

First preference must be given to clean our home, the Earth
Vijay, India
Human exploration and habitation of the Solar System is inevitable. But the first preference must be given to clean our home, the Earth. More focus and research grants should be allotted to the clean energy research by all nations. If Moon re-exploration results in new clean energy sources, the trip could be of great help to humans and to our home.
Vijay, India

Fantastic, it's about time we went back, can't wait to see the event when it happens.
Paul Gray, Cwmbran, Gwent

Seems like something of a "make work" project for Nasa, something to keep them occupied until it's time for a manned Mars mission. I'd prefer to see more focus on things that excite the imagination a bit more, such as more unmanned probes to the outer planets in the Solar System.
Brian, Kansas City, USA

If there is money, I think it is a great idea. Extended space travel and research must be an ongoing commitment. If I was a certain rich Englishman, I would also make sure an English astronaut was on board.
Jonathan, Washington, DC

Simply magnificent news. Here's hoping that it goes as planned. I remember watching Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon and now I am looking forward to seeing someone else do it (and hopefully with better TV quality this time).
Robert Agar-Hutton, Luton, UK

Been there! Done That! I think Mars should be next to visit on the list.
Debbie, Edinburgh, Scotland

With new technology the sky is no longer the limit
Ellie, Lincoln, UK
I think it's great! Although we have gone to the Moon before I don't think we achieved as much as we could regarding farther space travel. Now with new technology the sky is no longer the limit!
Ellie, Lincoln, UK

In terms of priorities, I think a lunar base should be pretty far down the list. Every country, not just the US, should be focusing on how to get "space ship Earth" cleaned up. When we are finally able to manage our own ecology - then maybe we can look at colonizing the moon.
Tom Hunsberger, Canadian in Mexico

Sending people to the Moon or Mars at this point would just be another stunt. We need a cheap way of getting into orbit around the Earth first. Until that happens, any human exploration beyond Earth orbit will be unsustainable.
John, Denver, CO, USA

It's amazing that there is so much money (and therefore prestige) involved in space travel. Yet when it comes to protecting the nation there simply isn't enough money for all round health care, for repairing or adjusting protection for the people threatened by natural disasters (eg New Orleans), etc. I guess the priorities in today's society remain linked to the primeval instincts as harboured by rulers of the world since day one. Progress with regards humanitarian priorities must rank with those of our cavemen ancestors.
Lil Visser, Lelystad, The Netherlands

I think the timing for this announcement is awkward. Hurricane Katrina has revealed that we have more important human problems to fix on planet Earth than to go to an alien dead planet.
Akin, Virginia, USA

Fifteen years to reach the Moon again is hardly ambitious. Don't be too surprised if the Chinese are already there.
Johnny W, Hull, England

Well it might settle the debate over whether they actually went there in the first place! Some will say it's money wasted, but if we are (humankind as a race) to push into space then we have to start somewhere.
John, Oldham, UK

Excellent news. Nasa has spent years on the science aspect of its mandate, now the actual use of the abundant resources in space is on the horizon. The naysayer's opinion is that money could be better spent else where, the fact of the matter is that these endeavours raise the standard of living for everyone, whether they know it or not!
Raf, Derby

Nasa plans return to Moon by 2020
19 Sep 05 |  Science/Nature


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