Topic of the Week: Home on the Lagrange? - MyMoon

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inline image NASA rendering of a Lagrange Point base beyond the Moon, via Cosmic Log.

An idea that's been gaining steam lately is creating a settlement at a Lagrange Point---specifically, the EML-2 point beyond the Moon.

NASA's new theme song?

Alan Boyle gave a great overview of the idea recently (at his Cosmic Log). With NASA's interest in the Moon waning as private space involvement there rises, having an outpost at this Lagrange point could serve as a gateway for future missions---a stopping-off point on the way to Mars and/or asteroids---and also a good middle-ground project for NASA to take on.

Of course, a lot of people have suggested the Moon itself could fulfill this role.

What do you think? Should NASA set up a Lagrange point base, or focus on getting the Moon set up first? Or, alternatively, just go straight for Mars without messing around at the Lagrange?

For more about the challenges and opportunities of a Lagrange point, check out our webcast this Wednesday at 8p EST with Dr. Dan Lester! He'll tackle the subject---and your questions! Should be a ton of fun.


Dennis M J M.

Wednesday Nov-07-2012

I think lagrange points only make sense for either A) agricultural projects that would be vast and we dont want to or need to sacrifice the land use over. or B) if we've never been outside LEO much yet and need to figure out medical and mechanical effects caused by detaching from the forces of Earth completely.

Personally I think A) is the more likely reason if we do utilize these central points of gravitic effects. Commercial interests on the moon are likely going to be about mining operaions, and they are mining the entire surface basically (far as I know we do not have very substanial samples of much beneath, not to any great depth anyhow). If we want to mine the surface we will likely not be interested in covering said surface up with structures for habitation and gestation. ;p

You bring up a good point about NASA's role. Personally I think the idea of NASA sending up scientists is pretty much kaputs. I think you will see FARR more private astronauts go vs gov't astronauts in the next 10 years. So the point may be moot. NASA will surely still have a role in education and finance of space endeavors, but I do not think it will be a MAJOR player. Market forces may well controll the future of spaceflight far more than even the most severe ambitions of any chief executive officer of the USA.

I think we are making a serious misstep overall when we dont include the opinions of other nations in this discussion as well. What have the Russian, Indian or Chinese governments proposed ? Their answer is the moon. That's it. That's where they want to go. Space bases and then the moon. The fact that NASA and American opinion is so ... shall we say unsure... of what it is doing is the greatest threat it faces.

Perhaps it (the US government) should just be more up front about its desire to get government-directed-"civilian"-control wayyyy off to the back burner of budget appropriations. For the USA it is a completely socialist enterprise that has been sustained remarkably long all things considered.

They randomly stopped the shuttle program and took the funding... what else needs to be said, really.

Demarcus B.

Monday Nov-12-2012

I think a Lagrange point on the near or far side of the moon would be a better use of resources but I know very little about the topic to make such rash decisions. I also read that congress is forcing NASA to use rockets that are not best suited for space exploration. I think NASA should have more direct control/input on the equipment they are going to explore the galaxy with or let commercial space companies take the lead.

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