General Question

squirbel's avatar

Why haven't we been to the moon in 41 years?

Asked by squirbel (3971 points ) November 1st, 2010

We’ve overcome so many technological problems. We made our processing chips smaller and faster, we made our televisions more vibrant and flatter, we made our telephones smaller and more mobile… we have touchscreen tech for pete’s sake [equivalent to magic ^.~]

We’ve unraveled the human DNA, as well as many other species. We’ve harnessed the ability to answer most questions in physics, with the LHC.

So why, when I was listening to a scientist interview on NPR’s SciFri, did I hear him say “It’s extremely hard to conduct a lunar landing”? Why, in fact, have we not gone back?

If we ever even did. I am seriously doubting, and Neil Armstrong is looking more and more like a fake as I think about it. If you’re wondering why I’m asking only now, close to 30 years old – it’s because I never had one iota of interest in space exploration, or its history.

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85 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

Personally, I think there are far too many issues for our development here to be concerned with expending resources on lunar landings. When it’s more necessary or productive, we’ll concentrate on it (although I would like to know what the deal with the wet parts of the moon actually are).

squirbel's avatar

Didn’t answer the question. Thanks though.

iamthemob's avatar

sure did – we’re not going because we don’t need to…resources better spent here on earth…consider this earlier question, and the attached article. It’s about spending resources where necessary. ;-)

YoBob's avatar

The basic reason is that we went there and found that, as we suspected, it is essentially a great rock in space with no compelling reason to send any more people there.

However, now that we have discovered water and have our sights set on a jumping off point to mars that might be changing.

AstroChuck's avatar

The last manned moon landing was in December 1972. That’s just under 38 years ago, not 41.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

There’s no good reason to any more. As you noted, we’ve been there, done that. We beat the Russians—which was most of the whole point of the exercise—and there isn’t any gold, oil, uranium or anything else of real value to us at this time. Other than the potential for a way station for deeper space exploration at some undetermined time in the future.

So, no need for it… now.

flutherother's avatar

All you can do when you get there is come back again. You could bring back some moon rocks but we have already done that. Once we have the ability to set up a permanent base on the moon it will be worth going back but not until then. Incidentally, at the present time, I think that planning to send men to Mars is crazy.

Plucky's avatar

I think it’s because of a “been there done that” attitude. NASA isn’t interested as much I guess. But they have their sights on more Mars exploration.

Pandora's avatar

It all comes down to financing. Is it really worthy to spend billions on each trip to the moon. We’ve already discovered what the moon is made of. Nothing extraordinary. If we begin to build, how many more billions should we spend and risk how many lives, before its a waste of time and money.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some things we can do but I don’t think its necessary to land on the moon. Satelites already get a ton of information we need.

marinelife's avatar

You doubt the moon landing actually occurred? That is seriously crazy.

cazzie's avatar

Oh… but we HAVE been up there… the latest experiment was really exciting….

http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/200910162

cazzie's avatar

And the mission to Mars… they are seriously considering sending astronauts up there on a ‘one way’ trip.

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Plucky's avatar

@marinelife Doubts about the original moon landing are actually quite common.

kevbo's avatar

IMHO, we were sold a number of phony moon landings/missions vis a vis the Apollo program a n d there is (and has been) activity on the moon that is not for public consumption. So the position splits the difference between “the moon landing was real” and “the moon landing was fake.” It’s more like “we’ve been to/are on the moon, but not in the way that was depicted.”

If you look about at applied technologies, this is the only area where we have regressed so thoroughly. Just about every other avenue of applied technology has only increased in its ubiquity and efficacy.

If you look at online presentations delivered by Richard Hoagland (a well-known moon hoax conspiracist type) or read his book, you will see multiple examples of how original Apollo mission photos from the lunar surface contain photographic artifacts that really have no natural explanation. (The visibility of these can be easily enhanced by filtering and processing the photos in Photoshop.) Most commonly the artifacts manifest as “glass geometries”—what appear to be incredibly elaborate glass structures rising up from the surface to a towering height. Hoagland postulates that these “glass ruins” are evidence of an alien or prehistoric civilization that once inhabited the moon.

The results from the Photoshop processing are all but undeniable, and there certainly are prism-like artifacts visible to the naked eye even without the processing, but the “glass city” hypothesis is very likely wrong.

Instead, another conspiracy researcher type known as Jay Weidner posits that the artifacts are actually created by a special effects technique used during that period. The technique is a precursor to the green screen that is commonly used today and is known as front screen projection. Front screen projection projects an image (such as a landscape to be used as a backdrop) onto a giant curtain (called Scotchlite) made of innumerable tiny glass beads. For the filmmaker or photographer, it creates the ability to shoot a human scale foreground along with a vast and realistic background landscape all within the confines of a studio.

The article that explains all of this as it relates to the moon landings is here.

So, I’m pretty much settled in the notion that the images for public consumption were engineered pretty heavily to create a sort of fairy tale version of the Apollo missions. I could only speculate as to the reason why other than to protect secrets.

squirbel's avatar

@PluckyDog Wow! That’s a somewhat hilarious link… I was just doubting it because scientists have been saying they ARE still interested in landing on the moon – while at the same time mentioning its difficulty. I put two and two together in my head [sorta late, I know], and thought of the question I posted here.

I read many science journals monthly, and listen to numerous science podcasts. Where is proof of NASA’s disinterest? While I don’t pay attention to space-science related podcasts, SciFri [a leisurely-listen] differs from your [collective] view that NASA doesn’t care anymore.

In fact, they are up in arms because Obama just gave a speech telling them to focus on deep space, and leave the moon to the private industries.

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squirbel's avatar

@marinelife So I’m not allowed to doubt? I’m supposed to believe everything every scientist tells me, just because it’s science?

I prefer to live like a wolf, rather than a sheep, thanks.

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mrentropy's avatar

Hoagland is not a moon conspiracy theorist person. Not when it comes to the argument of the US having sent astronauts to, and on to, the Moon. Unless he’s changed greatly since the last time I kept up with him, he was very much of the idea that we most definitely did land on the moon.

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kevbo's avatar

@mrentropy, right… I should have been more clear on that point. His moon concerns are more about stuff on the moon that NASA isn’t telling the public about.

mrentropy's avatar

@kevbo Now we just have to worry about the rest of his outlandish ramblings. Which would be awesome if it were all true.

As for the Question, I think that if we were interested in setting up manned missions to space again we’ll be awfully sorry we don’t already have a presence on the moon, since that would be the best place to launch from. But aside from the fact that there’s no money scientific value, it would be hard to convince the general public that we need to go to the Moon since there are “so many problems here on Earth” anyway. Despite the fact that the money would never go to these “other problems” anyway.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@squirbel you’re allowed to disbelieve in the moon landings, certainly. But then you can’t ask “Why haven’t we been back?” if you believe that we were never there in the first place.

And I’m firm in my belief that we did land there, and that there’s no strategic reason to do it again—right now. In a way this mirrors the European discoveries of the New World in pre-Columbian days. Columbus wasn’t the first European to land in the New World. Portuguese fishermen had been landing there (inadvertently) for a long, long time when they were blown off their fishing grounds by storms and carried to what is now the Eastern US, where they would repair their boats, winter over if they had to, and sail back home in the spring.

But there was no strategic reason for the large-scale exploration and discovery trips that were made after Columbus when the strategic and economic value of the place became obvious.

If we find something on the Moon—or if it becomes strategically necessary to have a presence there to thwart someone else’s military ambitions—then we’ll be back in short order. Until then, we all know it’s there and that we “could do it if we had to”.

lillycoyote's avatar

I think the lunar missions were a result of a sort of “perfect storm” of history, technology and leadership that simply hasn’t been repeated. It was something driven by our competition with the Soviets for supremacy in space, Kennedy was a charismatic president who completely backed and promoted the U.S. space program and the American people were extremely enthusiastic and supportive of the space program at the time. Priorities have changed, there is less support for the U.S. space program now and I think most people don’t see any compelling or valid reason to spend limited resources on returning to the moon.

Here’s the Wikipedia article on the The Space Race if you’re interested and are unfamiliar with the history.

And if you don’t believe that we went to moon, that it was faked, in spite of evidence to the contrary… well, I suppose if you try hard enough you can convince yourself that any historical event has been faked. How do you know you’re not being lied to about everything? How do you trust that anyone is telling you the truth about anything?

kevbo's avatar

@mrentropy, yeah, I think some of his stuff is disinfo, but if you want to see anomaly-ridden NASA photos of the moon and Mars thoroughly dissected, he’s a pretty comprehensive source.

Plucky's avatar

@squirbel I don’t know about “proof” of their disinterest. I just posted my thoughts of “why” humans haven’t landed on the moon in so long.
The Space Race was basically the main reason for the landing in the first place though. Once that was done and other “unmanned” journeys ..it seems the importance dwindled. In case you are interested, there has been talk of the Soviets doing a Jupiter moon landing in early 2012.
Whether or not the original moon landing was real, I would like to think it was real. But you never know.

squirbel's avatar

@cyanoticwasp @marinelife My disbelief only occurred today, and I said as much. Not even 2 hours ago. I’m still on the fence, so it’s perfectly normal to ask “Why haven’t we been back?” Why do you think a human would come to a concrete belief in less than two hours?

Second, why haven’t we been back, if only for monetary purposes such as mining?

Regardless of whether NASA as a whole has “supposedly” given up on the moon, you know human nature – there are people who are still in love with the moon and want to know everything about it. How do you balance the fact that for every single thing that exists, someone exists who is interested in that thing? I can’t stand the idea that humans just “don’t want to know more”. It’s foreign and repulsive to me.

marinelife's avatar

@squirbel I believe that you meant to address your last post to @CyanoticWasp.

Monetary purposes such as mining> The cost of traveling to the moon, mining without an atmosphere and then bringing back the ore (or processing it up there and bringing back the finished product) are astronomical (tongue firmly in cheek). Since there are still plenty of resources here on Earth, it is not cost effective to pursue.

While I applaud your desire to “know more”, it competes with a large crowd of people who feel there is plenty to fix on Earth without spending the kind of money moon exploration and settlement cost.

squirbel's avatar

Oops! You’re so right!

/bows

It just bothers me to think humans have given up on thinking about something. We spend more than that on war, and that’s not “worth” thinking about.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@squirbel

Ah, okay then. As I noted, you can’t hold both beliefs together; that’s a clear indication of cognitive dissonance, or holding diametrically opposing ideas to be equally true and valid. Pick one, build a hypothesis, and we can discuss that rationally. I’d be happy to argue either side, except that I do believe we have been to the moon, and I also believe that we never had an economic rationale for doing that.

meiosis's avatar

It was a dick-waving exercise. I imagine that Mars will be the target the next time the USA feels the need to wave its dick around.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@meiosis that would still be a better idea than Iran, wouldn’t you say?

squirbel's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Actually, one can hold both beliefs together, in a holding room of sorts – and you are correct – it is cognitive dissonance. But that’s not a bad thing as your answer intimates – cognitive dissonance occurs in those actively seeking solutions.

Would you like a copy-pasta of what cognitive dissonance is? Surely it’ll help you be less condescending.

Here we go -

Wikipedia: Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions.[2] Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.

Random Philosophy site:
http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/cognitive_dissonance.htm

Psychology.org:
http://tip.psychology.org/festinge.html

Random Education Theory site:
http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/dissonance.htm

I could go on, but I suppose you’ll use google to help yourself.

lillycoyote's avatar

@squirbel, what NASA wants and would like to do is different than what it is going to get the political, public and financial support and funding to do.

And @CyanoticWasp, I think what you’re describing is closer to what George Orwell, in 1984, called Doublethink rather than cognitive dissonance. :-)

Nullo's avatar

NASA got caught up in von Braun’s orbiter-and-space-station idea (part, AFAIK, of a more comprehensive space program), which didn’t have enough funding and so was chopped down to just the orbiter. That’s where we’ve been since, what, the 70s?

If you’re interested in challenges to the fake-Moon-landing conspiracy, check these guys out.

squirbel's avatar

But it seems they’ve had the funding all along… Obama just recently cut it off and redirected their aims… Neil Armstrong and other proponents are up in arms about it.

http://www.space.com/news/neil-armstrong-nasa-plan-senate-100512.html
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/florida-unemployment-acute-space-coast-jobs-threatened-end/story?id=12019380
http://online.indianagazette.com/articles/2010/10/29/news/doc4ccb02fa60e26508320450.txt

Bah, linking stories is tiring. Here’s the google link to news.

lillycoyote's avatar

@squirbel Thanks for the links. I’ll have to look into it. To be honest, I have been so caught up in the mid-term elections and other issues that I haven’t really been paying attention to Obama’s NASA and space policies and I should be paying attention because I’m actually a big supporter of the space program. I think we should be doing more. I don’t think that science and the space program v.s. “fixing things on earth” is necessarily an either/or proposition.

squirbel's avatar

He’s basically told NASA “Stop focusing on near space and putting men on the moon, focus on deep space and leave the latter to private industries.” But this was happening this spring, not recently.

Nullo's avatar

@squirbel NASA gets its funding cut fairly often. Obama’s cut was merely the most recent. :\
What really ticks me off is how he tried to turn it into a Muslim outreach program, to make them “feel good” about the Arabic contributions to science and technology.

crazyivan's avatar

Because Kubrik’s not around to help NASA fake another one!

(I’m kidding by the way. We definitely landed on the moon. Kubrik was definitely not involved.)

kevbo's avatar

@crazyivan, how do you definitely know this?

crazyivan's avatar

Because everyone I’ve ever spoken with who has any credential whatsoever supports it. Every attempt I’ve made to verify the claims of the hoaxers is easily invalidated and generally rests on a horrible misunderstanding of physics. Also, the fact that literally hundreds of thousands of people would have to be in on the “conspiracy” without a single one giving up the goat makes it kind of ridiculous to hold on to the idea that it didn’t happen.

All geologists would have to be in on it, 90%+ of astrophysicists would have to be on it. Almost every individual that worked with NASA for a twenty year span would have to be on it.

Further, the technological advancements that came out of the space race are consistent with the technology needed to reach the moon, which would mean that if it was faked we actually figured out how to do it, got everything working perfectly and then faked it. It would mean that every geologist who ever examined a moon rock did so with a nod and a wink. It would mean that scientists from at least 38 countries have agreed to keep the lie alive. Keep in mind that most of these people would have nothing to gain by lying and everything to gain by telling the truth.

Further, the thin shreds of evidence offered up by the hoaxers are easily falsifiable or they are speculative. No relevant evidence exists to show that we didn’t land on the moon and mountains of evidence exist to suggest that we did.

Doubt is a good thing and is often the path to wisdom, but doubt for the sake of doubt is not only the road to ignorance, it is also the destination.

lillycoyote's avatar

@kevbo How do any of us actually know anything? For example, how can we know, how can any of us be absolutely certain that the Chilean miners getting trapped and rescued wasn’t some elaborate fake and hoax? It wouldn’t be that hard to pull off. Are you sure that that whole thing really happened?

squirbel's avatar

The chilean miners is completely believable because you have family accounts on twitter, as well as public news. The fact that there are personal accounts makes it more believable.

Next.

squirbel's avatar

Ok, same question, new tack.

Why, if landing on the moon was done in the spirit of competitiveness, haven’t any other countries landed on the moon? Why have we been allowed to hold the title of “Country-who-put-a-man-on-the-moon” for 40 years?

Taking into account the human’s desire for greatness and curiosity.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Same answer as the yachtsman who told Queen Victoria in the first-ever race for the Twenty-Guineas Cup (now “America’s Cup”), “Your majesty, there is no ‘second’.”

squirbel's avatar

I know you meant that in jest, but I cannot accept that all other countries would give up the opportunity to explore for themselves.

Simply cannot, because of the truth that is human nature.

marinelife's avatar

@squirbel Perhaps a European consortium could handle a moon launch, but otherwise, it has not been done because of the scope of the project and the prohibitive cost or, alternatively, the lack of the technology.

kevbo's avatar

@crazyivan, sorry… my question was more about your statement about Kubrick than whether we landed or didn’t land. Like I said (and may have glossed over and/or misinterpreted), I believe we did land, just not in the manner portrayed. And, I don’t think that is terribly inconsistent with the reasoning you supply. A geologist can get a moon rock in any number of ways without necessarily knowing how it was obtained.

@lillycoyote, hopefully my response above clarifies my specific point. I provided a rationale that Kubrick was involved and was contradicted “definitely” but without any supporting information. I wasn’t attempting to ask for proof of the existence of the universe, just evidence that Kubrick was definitely not involved.

In general, I think the moon landing hoax vs. non-hoax paradigm has done a pretty effective job of convincing people of one half-truth or the other and has done an excellent job of keeping the “truth-truth” away from the public’s imagination.

squirbel's avatar

@marinelife Thank you for your answer.

Regarding prohibitive cost: What has prevented other countries from attempting and achieving the same? Other countries are not limited by our capitalistic society that is America, thereby are not limited directly by prohibitive costs? Just asking as I think the questions.

Sometimes today I have felt like an atheist in a room of believers who believe just because they were told it was true. And presented with reasons why the atheists were wrong and they ate those up too. So understand – I’m still on the fence with what I believe and I’m not attacking the concept, I’m just trying to gain more understanding through questioning.

As for the lack of technology – that’s hard to swallow. We had the technology in the 60’s, and all other technologies have advanced to the point where 60’s people would think they were magic… so why hasn’t that tech advanced? This was posed in my original question.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

A line from The Right Stuff helps to explain some of the ‘why’. I’ll have to paraphrase, because I don’t have the book in front of me, but I recall the gist of the statement very well:

“A hundred thousand parts go into making up a Saturn V rocket, each from a lowest bidder. It’s amazing that it worked at all.”

Aerospace technology isn’t very widespread. It’s pretty damn specialized, even 50 years later.

kevbo's avatar

@CyanoticWasp, we have so many objects in orbit now that there is talk of the dangers involved in approaching and breaching orbit and of the need for space nets to collect objects that are no longer useful. We are supposedly approaching the horizon of commercially viable space tourism. We also just launched a (semi)secret spaceplane into orbit. I think, like every other industry and applied technology, we’ve streamlined the rocket ship significantly enough to discount that explanation.

kevbo's avatar

edit:: ... and as you may have glossed over…

lillycoyote's avatar

@squirbel There were also reliable news stories regarding, lots and lots coverage by the media of every facet of the Apollo program up to and including the moon landing, there were personal and first hand account from not only the astronauts themselves but from hundreds of people from the scientist, engineer and other personnel at NASA and the Johnson Space Center in Houston to the people who manufactured and constructed the Apollo space crafts and launch systems, the people who got the rockets ready for launch, everything.

The “moon landing” was not simply an isolated event that could be faked in a studio.
There was a huge infrastructure, both a material and personnel infrastructure that supported the space program in general and the Apollo program in particular. And, a lot of coverage by the media all over, all the way through. The “space race,” the space race, was pretty damn big deal back then.

Did they have an entire “fake” aerospace industry and space program so that the thousand and thousands of people who worked in those industries, at NASA and at the Johnson Space Center wouldn’t figure out that the moon landings were a hoax? That’s just crazy, if you ask me, to be honest.

kevbo's avatar

What @squirbel said

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squirbel's avatar

Never once have I suggested that I believe in a conspiracy. So please stop treating me like I have. I only learned about all the conspiracy theories once Plucky posted the link in his response.

I am asking questions that came into my mind after hearing a scientist interviewed on SciFri. I’d appreciate scientific answers to my questions rather than conspiracy-theory debunking.

PLEASE FOR GOD’S SAKE PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT I’M ACTUALLY ASKING!

Cruiser's avatar

Bottom line @squirbel is no county right now has the deep pockets to launch a few patriot explorers their citizens would hang them by their toes for blowing the kind of money a lunar landing would take. The real science is in surviving in space….learning how to build a place to live in and survive as self sufficiently as possible. We are going to need to colonize either space or a nearby planet which is why you see so much collaboration on the international space station. Those in the know are aware it is a matter of time before earth becomes overwhelmed by the presence of man and it is time to figure out what our next option will be and landing on the moon is not the answer we need or are looking for! Landing on the moon was just learning to park the car so we can take those longer road trips! ;)

lillycoyote's avatar

@squirbel

I apologize if people, including myself, have misunderstood you, but I believe I have been paying attention and this is how I got there, to my post above:

@crazyivan said:

Because Kubrik’s not around to help NASA fake another one!

(I’m kidding by the way. We definitely landed on the moon. Kubrik was definitely not involved.)

@kevbo replied:

@crazyivan, how do you definitely know this?

I said:

@kevbo How do any of us actually know anything? For example, how can we know, how can any of us be absolutely certain that the Chilean miners getting trapped and rescued wasn’t some elaborate fake and hoax? It wouldn’t be that hard to pull off. Are you sure that that whole thing really happened?

and you @squirbel said

“The chilean miners is completely believable because you have family accounts on twitter, as well as public news. The fact that there are personal accounts makes it more believable.

“Next.

The implication there, in your statement, seemed to be, well at least what I inferred from that statement was that you found the story of the Chilean miners beleivable in contrast to the moon landing, which didn’t necessarily find believable. I’m sorry if I, and others have misunderstood or misrepresented your position.

mrentropy's avatar

And, anyway, once the US astronauts left the Moon all the night clubs shut down so there’s no real reason to go back.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@mrentropy you need to be here more often. Please.

squirbel's avatar

@lillycoyote while I appreciate your apology, you clearly should not have made that mistake after reading this thread completely from the beginning. Geez I hate what fluther has become. Can’t have an academic conversation anymore. /rantoff

lillycoyote's avatar

Well, to be fair @squirbel you, yourself, said your details:

So why, when I was listening to a scientist interview on NPR’s SciFri, did I hear him say “It’s extremely hard to conduct a lunar landing”? Why, in fact, have we not gone back?

If we ever even did. I am seriously doubting, and Neil Armstrong is looking more and more like a fake as I think about it

While you didn’t say that you actually believed in any conspiracy with any certaintiy, you did say that you are “seriously doubting” that we ever went to the moon and that it was “looking more and more like a fake” as you thought about it

.
What were we supposed to make of that, of those statements and others that you made?

Maybe you are the one who should have been more clear about you position rather than getting all bent out of shape because people may have assumed a little too much based on your own statements.

squirbel's avatar

No, @lillycoyote – you are wrong. Entering a state of doubt does not mean one has gone to the extreme of actually believing a conspiracy. It isn’t one extreme or the other.

Please try again.

Why is fluther polluted with non-academic thinking? Geez.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Oh, I see. So you think that we’re just “mistaken” about having been to the moon, then?

squirbel's avatar

I started doubting yesterday, and came to Fluther to find the reason for not returning.

What else is there to question?

Nullo's avatar

@squirbel Neil Armstrong is rather strongly of the opinion that he did, in fact, set foot on the Moon.

If you start wondering if we ever went to the Moon, review the evidence. Lots of people think that we did go, a conclusion supported variously by testimonials, video footage, samples, and the fact that people actually watched the Saturn Vs lift off from Canaveral.
Doubt in the face of such evidence requires that you assume that at least part of it was faked. Once you have deceit, you must have a deceiver; in an organization the size of NASA, that requires collusion, which, once things turn sour, mutates into conspiracy.

And hey presto! You’re a conspiracy

cazzie's avatar

and NOONE even notices the link and discussion about the latest moon experiments I brought up…. Anyone want to change tack and discuss them with me?

mattbrowne's avatar

Because we know that we can do it.

squirbel's avatar

I’m simply asking why we haven’t returned. Finances is a flimsy reason, if you think of everything else we accomplish for more dollars. What would be the reason other than money?

Nullo's avatar

Correction: @kevbo pointed out that it’s Aldrin, not Armstrong, throwing punches in the video.

squirbel's avatar

@cazzie I read your links, I just didn’t find it relevant because my question was regarding human contact with the moon’s surface. :(

mrentropy's avatar

Finances are a huge part of it. Nobody wants to spend a lot of money to go someplace that we don’t really have a reason to go to. Even science research doesn’t seem to be important enough, and I’m not sure what kind of research anyone would want to do there.

cazzie's avatar

But it might LEAD to human contact on the surface. The next question is… can we build hydrogen rockets on the moon by mining the water there? How MUCH water is in those craters?

They need money and a REASON to go. They aren’t just going to go up there to go up there, not with public money, not with research money. Private people might want to go like they go up Everest and the like.. ‘because it’s there’ but science programs don’t work like that. Keep up with what NASA and the European Space Agency is doing and look at what they’re working on. It’s interesting stuff with a purpose. They’re trying to solve problems and answer questions. A lot of those questions were answered with the past visits to the moon, and unmanned probes are starting to answer new questions, which might raise another question that can be answered by a visit, by astronauts.

lillycoyote's avatar

@squirbel I think the basic reason that we have not returned to the moon in the past 40 or so years is that we have been unable to reach a “consensus” on whether or not we return to the moon. It think this article, Should We Go Back to the Moon for Helium 3?, gives a pretty good overview of what some of the issues have been regarding going back to the moon.

The article, from October 2009 begins:

Ever since the 40th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landings, NASA has been trying to decide whether or not we should return to the Moon. However, the answer to whether NASA decides to start a Moon colony will depend heavily on how much funding NASA receives, and what scientific value can be gained by going back to the Moon.

(And, yes, the author does say “moon colony” and that is not what this is a discussion about but I think his points are important)

I think those are the core issues.

Financial resources are an important factor in this, not necessarily in terms of whether or not there are funds available, but whether or not there is the public and political will and support to spend those funds on returning to the moon. The other question,” what scientific value can be gained by going back to the Moon?” That’s important too. Is there a valid scientific reason for humans to go back to the moon? Manned, or womanned, space exploration has always been, and continues to be, an inherently dangerous enterprise. The three man crew of Apollo 1, the first manned lunar flight were killed on the ground, we barely got the Apollo 13 crew back alive and we have lost two Space Shuttle crews, one as recently as 2003. This plaque and small aluminun astronaut, a memorial to Fallen Astronauts was place on the moon’s surface in 1971 by the Apollo 15 crew. If we can continue to explore and research the moon with robotic technology, such as the Lunar Rover, is it necessary to risk the lives of our astronauts if there isn’t a valid reason to do so?

Without getting the American taxpayers, the politicians and the scientists to all agree, to reach a consenses on whether or not manned flights to the moon are worth the money, the effort and the danger, well, we just never got back to the moon.

As I and others have mentioned, the U.S. manned lunar missions were driven by particular historical forces and had one basic goal and that was to beat the Russians to the moon and to establish ourselves as the dominant “space power.” I think we’ve been kind of in a “now what?” state, to a certain extent, ever since. What “should” the be the focus of the U.S space program after it accomplished it’s intial goal? That’s been a matter of controversy and debate ever since, I think.

The Constellation program would have returned us to the moon, but Obama nixed that one. Was he right or wrong to do that? I don’t know. The program has critics and supporters and I’m not going to argue about who’s right and who’s wrong.

Highway_Star's avatar

When the $64,000 question is asked “Why has NASA not gone back to the moon in over 40 years?...no human has gone more than 350 miles above the earth since then” . By the way the moon is 240,000 miles away.

I love it and have to laugh when I hear the same old 2 excuses;
1) Too expensive
2) Been there done that – No need to go back (no resources there)

Let me address #1:
Let’s agree that being able to land on the closest celestial body (the moon) is the single most greatest achievment of mankind. You expect me to believe that is not worthy of going back on a regualar basis. There should be a small city of scientists up there by now!
No, instead NASA has wasted billions of dollars spinning circles around the earth.

2) No need to go back? OMG really? That would be like Christopher Columbus after having reached the New World and returned with a couple of natives and coconuts, says “been there, no need to back”. C’mon people give your heads a shake!
As for resources, how do you know that there are not any resources there? in all the lunar landings, where there any drilling? All I remember seeing was someone drive a golf ball and pick up some rocks off the surface (no drilling).

I firmly believe that if it REALLY happened that countries (USA,Russia & China) would find the money to fund something of that magnitude! It would be too big an achievement to sweep under the rug.

Stop drinking the Kool Aid.

Highway_Star's avatar

@CyanoticWasp
You wrote the following;
Portuguese fishermen had been landing there (inadvertently) for a long, long time when they were blown off their fishing grounds by storms and carried to what is now the Eastern US, where they would repair their boats, winter over if they had to, and sail back home in the spring.
(Not trying to be funny, I’m serious) I am curious to know where you got that information from because from what I know about Columbus and his times, is that no one dared venture too far for fear of falling off the edge of the earth. So they were always within eye shot of land. He had to convice them otherwise.
The vikings on the other hand did land in Canada before Columbus’ time…but they went back more than 6 times LOL

Highway_Star's avatar

@crazyivan
The thought that hundreds of thousands of people would HAVE to be on the secrete is funny.
Eveything is compartmentalized. For example. An automotive plant; does the truck driver who picks up the finished cars have any idea how they were made? The person who spot welds on the asembly line, do they have a clue how the engine is assembled? Do any of the people on the assembly line have a clue who deisgned the car they are building? or where the concept for this years design came from? The mechanical engineer that designs the car, do they have any idea who the CEO’s meet with and what deals are made. No to all the questions.
The video feed from the “moon” came from one source and it was controlled by a select few. The dude in Houston has no clue where exactly that feed is coming from, just like you have no clue where I am at this moment.

strangeuniverse's avatar

In 40 Years we couldn’t come up with the money, no – we have visitors in space, ever heard of “Fastwalker from the 1984 satelite info, if you remember they filmed a red light in one of the craters? That alone would constitute enough interest to go back, but they saw alot more than that, I mean does anybody realize that NASA has been covering up UFO activity around all our launches, anyone notices that alot of satelite’s being sent up from Russia and here in the U.S. have been coming back down? We are only being allowed to do so much, anybody remember Captain Bla Ha or however you spell his name, short conversion with NASA soon after launch about monitering the alien craft? There’s alot more to this story than Money & Politics…...

AstroChuck's avatar

Obviously the moon landings were faked. The pictures of the Earth supposedly taken from the surface of the moon clearly show the Earth as a sphere, when every intelligent person will tell you the Earth is flat. I know these things because my foil hat fits my head so perfectly I can clearly pick up Buzz Aldrin’s thoughts.

strangeuniverse's avatar

Cruiser, 2.3 trillion came up missing from the military budget in 2001 – are the citizens hanging anybody by their toes? No – it is not finances that have kept us from exploring, they are having too much trouble hiding the facts that we are being monitered the minute we hit space(actually at launch), Nuclear silos have been shut down by unidentified craft, but wait there’s no off switch on these silo’s – so how was it done, NASA has been censoring pictures from Mars the Moon – I mean I hate to say conspiracy – but everybody – do some real research – dig – a cover-up of over 60 years has taken place -what could be so bad that they would try to hide for over 60 years – it must be bad… look at JFK – any idiot can see he was shot from 2 different directions – but still the cover-up – we’re like little kids that can’t be allowed to know anything interesting -the world we think we know is an illusion

AstroChuck's avatar

@strangeuniverse – That 2.3 trillion missing claim is silly. Especially when you figure the entire defense budget in 2001 was only $289 billion. The comment Rumsfeld made was a reference in passing in a speech to logisticians. It was in regards to the fact that there were decades of data which they are unable to efficiently access because of out-of-date computer systems. It wasn’t referring to a single year.

strangeuniverse's avatar

How do you know for sure? Untold Millions, probably billions go to black budgets, Have you gone over the accounting books for the Military black budgets? No – nobody has – not even Congress knows exactly what their doing with all that money! Why would Rumsfeld say the money was missing on Sept. 10 the day before trade tower attacks, Coincidence? I doubt it! I do not believe for a minute that the money was lost because of out-of-date computer systems, the computer systems in the 70’s and 80’s worked, they were huge computers – but they worked, my father used them in groundbreaking Ion Plating techniques in the early to late 70’s – used to coat the tips of nuclear missles to keep them from detonating prematurely. The government tried to get my father to work on a project that killed everybody that was invoilved with a vicious cancer from radiation. He smartly declined. Yea they are real honest around there. You would probably say UFOs are silly too- that they don’t really exist, brainwashed people believe lame excuses..

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