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U.S. Reportedly Considering Manned Base on the Moon

May 12, 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 Monday.

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

It quoted National Aeronautics and Space Administration Administrator James C. Fletcher as saying: "I think the right way to go to Mars is by way of the moon."

The magazine said NASA will begin issuing contracts this week to aerospace firms to provide studies on the feasibility of a lunar base.

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

The cost of establishing a permanently manned base between 2005 and 2010 is estimated at $80 billion spread over 20 years, the same cost, as measured in current dollars, as the Apollo program.

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