NASA Aims To Give The Moon A Moon Of Its Own

No, NASA didn’t hire Q from the set of Star Trek in their latest and most interesting plans, but the results won’t be so different as news starts circulating on their ideas for our closest companion, the moon. In a hearing played out before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science and Space, known as “From Here to Mars,” NASA outlined the future endeavors of the American space program which included colonies on both Mars and the Moon. But one of the wildest ideas NASA put on the table was to bring a moon to the moon…so to speak.

The mission will be to send a manned ship to a nearby asteroid and take it, or a chunk of it if it is too large for their goals, and send it rocketing to the moon where it will orbit for several decades, allowing scientists to study it more in-depth. William Gerstenmaier, an associate administrator at NASA, spoke at length about the plan on Wednesday, and he could hardly contain his excitement.

“We’re going to grab a piece of the solar system, we’re going to deflect it around the moon and insert it into a distant retrograde orbit around the moon where our crews can go visit,”Gerstenmaier exclaimed. “To think we’re moving a piece of the solar system for our use that will allow us to learn skills and techniques that we need to push the human presence into the solar system, that’s a pretty awe-inspiring statement.”

While the thought of being able to watch a “mini moon” circle our own from our back yards is pretty cool sounding, fears have arisen that perhaps we are trying too hard to play God.

dual moons

“We know that the moon is already moving incrementally away from the Earth each year and that some day this could affect our own “sweet spot” position in the solar system.” Jim L. spoke in reply to Huffington Post in a recent article on the NASA project. “Encouraging it to move away from us at an even faster rate by the impact a large enough asteroid…might not be the best idea in the world, no pun intended. “

Fortunately for those opposed to the idea, it will be a while before any of this is put into action. Because of recent budget cuts, NASA will have to work on smaller projects to help restore the public faith which they lost after the second space shuttle disaster. This will give them plenty of time to make sure their calculations are correct and to make sure that doing so is safe for the astronauts who will run the mission. To that end, NASA has already committed funds to do long-term studies on the effects of space on humans and if long trips out in space are something our bodies are able to adapt to. However, with President Obama only extending the budget for the International Space Station until 2024, and broader cuts threatening them, NASA will be force to move at a snail’s pace.

“Sequester is part of the budget for the next eight years, unless we can change it,” spoke Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who led the hearing. “There are some of us in bipartisan discussions right now that are trying to change that. But limited funding is a reality over the course of the next several years.”

With Vladimir Putin promising to have a moon base by 2030, NASA scientists have begun to feel discontented with what they have to work with, citing the depths of the cuts to the loss of morale.

“It’s like buyer’s regret, right? When you order your food in the cafeteria and you look over and see what somebody else has ordered, and immediately what’s in front of you isn’t appetizing enough,” Gerstenmaier said. “I think we have to ignore that a little bit and look at what we’ve got in front of us and what this country can do, and not be ashamed of what we do.”

Still, in a country that once dreamed of space louder than any other nation, and led the world in space exploration, watching us fall so far behind with little light at the end of the tunnel weighs heavy. But in the end, even if all we can do is put a rock in orbit around the moon, at least we will have something to keep an eye on those crazy Russians in their colony with.

Follow Inquisitr’s William Brisby as he explores the wondrous events that will be coming soon to our celestial silver screen in his out of this world article:

Then see if the Jet Propulsion Lab has stumbled upon a new exomoon: