The Moon Could Be the First Stop on the Way to Mars

NASA is considering the moon as a kind of galactic pit stop for astronauts to refuel before they go to Mars.

Could the moon act as a kind of space-faring pit stop on the way to Mars? Samantha Larson from The Smithsonian writes that NASA has considered a quick stop to the moon as a possibility to make the mission to Mars an easier one.


One of the many issues stalling the one-way mission to Mars is the question of fuel. The amount required to get there is tremendous, so one possible solution would be to outfit the moon as a kind of galactic gas station.

The issue would be convincing politicians that the moon is a worthwhile enterprise. As President [Barack] Obama made it clear in a 2010 speech that the moon has been done, "I just have to say pretty bluntly here, we've been there before." But William Gerstenmaier, the chief of human exploration at NASA, explained in an interview with the Houston Chronicle that the moon still has potential:

"If propellant was available from the moon, this could dramatically lower the mass needed from the Earth for a NASA Mars mission."

What's more, a pit stop on the moon could solve other problems regarding food and oxygen supplies.

Gerstenmaier said:

"We have seen and done several studies that look at Mars missions as a logistics and resupply problem. These studies show that resources from the moon could be extremely beneficial for Mars missions."

Though, NASA may not have to convince the government to lead a moon mission. Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks that the “been there done that” missions may be better left to the private sectors to monetize and explore, leaving the unknown frontiers, like Mars, to government bodies:

Read more at The Smithsonian and the Houston Chronicle.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

1 in 100 water molecules started in solar nebulae

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Elon Musk's SpaceX approved to launch 7,518 Starlink satellites into orbit

SpaceX plans to launch about 12,000 internet-providing satellites into orbit over the next six years.

Technology & Innovation
  • SpaceX plans to launch 1,600 satellites over the next few years, and to complete its full network over the next six.
  • Blanketing the globe with wireless internet-providing satellites could have big implications for financial institutions and people in rural areas.
  • Some are concerned about the proliferation of space debris in Earth's orbit.
Keep reading Show less