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LunarMissionOne12 karma

Space tourism will happen, but although it's a great experience it's expensive and dangerous compared to robotic missions like ours - if we blow up we've only lost information (already copied anyway) and equipment. Because of the extra safety requirements, manned missions are always much more expensive than robotic, but where the explorers go, tourists will probably follow at some point. For Earth orbit, "tourists" have already been on the ISS. For the specialist sub-orbital craft now under development, they should be flying safely by 2020. For the Moon, I'd guess the 2030s. For Mars, perhaps a decade later. For both Moon and Mars, we can expect some orbital non-landing trips to start with - like Apollo 8 and 10.

LunarMissionOne11 karma

Right now, we're looking make people aware of our project, of the potential not only for its space science and exploration, not only for its role in the global programme that will lead to Mars via the Moon, but also of the involvement of people all around the World. So the first stage is a mission to the Moon in 2017 via the Pittsburgh based firm Astrobotic, who will take a digital disc of information from anyone, including a photo of your footsteps, shoes or feet for free.......

LunarMissionOne7 karma

I don't think the cost of colonising the Moon would be worth it. If people want to colonise off-Earth, then Mars is much more sensible - and even that is going to be really difficult (terraforming in particular), and may well take a few centuries to get established. There are lots of uncertainties at this time.

Instead, the Moon could well provide a base for science and exploration itself, where specialists visit to work for periods rather like the bases in Antarctica today.

LunarMissionOne7 karma

Yes, we have a formal contract with Astrobotic. Astrobotic has a relationship with SpaceX that goes back some years and has optioned the launch.

The whole GLXP has been subject to serious delays to date, and the more experienced traditional space industry can claim, with a lot of justification, that the difficulties were underestimated. Yet the leading teams do appear to be getting to the point of flight status engineering, under which timescales are more predictable. The 2017 date is the best we can give today, though it's always wise to be risk-aware.

LunarMissionOne7 karma

We have two missions. The first in 2017 with Astrobotic will simply deliver a disc (expect Blu-ray) and not attempt any special longevity – it will be on the surface.

The second mission in 2024 will create a much larger archive and be placed several tens of meters below the surface. This is the one that could survive a billion years, a geological timescale. We shall be researching the digital material for selection over the coming three years and are forming a working group of scientists to oversee the work. But note that the location itself has exceptional preservation conditions – very cold (perhaps -150C), no atmosphere or any fluids, inert (physically, chemically and biologically), and protected by lots of moonrock from cosmic rays etc.