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U.S. Considering Manned Moon Base, Magazine Says

May 11, 1987|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — The United States is considering a manned moon base to assert its leadership in space, Aviation Week and Space Technology Magazine said today.

The moon base is gaining support as an option that would be quicker to achieve than a major exploration of Mars and would help prove the technology to make such a mission possible, the usually authoritative magazine said.

It quoted NASA Administrator James C. Fletcher as saying, "I think the right way to go to Mars is by way of the moon."

The magazine said the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will begin issuing contracts this week to aerospace firms to provide studies of a lunar base.

It said Fletcher and other senior space officials have been briefed on a moon base plan that would return U.S. astronauts to the moon as early as the year 2000.

The cost to establish a permanently manned base between 2005 and 2010 is estimated at $80 billion over 20 years--the same cost, as measured in current dollars, as the Apollo program that landed a man on the moon in 1969, the magazine said.

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