NASA Had Been Designing Lunar Bases for Decades Before Armstrong First Set Foot on the Moon

Credits: NASA

The wish to look at the Moon and wonder how life would be is natural. After Buzz Aldrin’s tour of the Moon in 1969, it was out for the world to see that the Moon is a magnificent desolation.

Scientists and fiction writers always knew how empty Moon felt way before the Apollo missions took place. But by the late 19th century, every being on the planet started seeing the Moon as a potential outpost, including the former Soviet Union, NASA, and the connected personnel.

The sheer interest in deploying an outpost on the Moon had both sides planning intricate details for their ideas of a moon base.

While creating a base on the Moon seems like a strategic motive, many scientific reasons also factored into creating these outposts. Recently published in Acta Aeronautica, a historical treatise highlighted some of the etched plans for the moon bases.

The treatise showed the ideas behind these bases, specifically from the U.S. Side. The ideas seemed practical and relatively strong as the plan would have boasted the U.S. technology and its capability to be the first one to reach the Moon.

Since its creation in 1958, NASA has set out to design bases on the Moon. The U.S. Army and Air Force were already inclined to explore the space and had sent many proposals floating through for the authorities to review.

According to their plans, The United States aimed to get their people into space before the Soviets could. One of the ideas brought to the table in 1958 by the U.S. Air Force was “Project Luman.” The project depended on three objectives, following which the Military astronauts were able to land on the Moon for the first time in 1964.

The first footstep on the Moon’s surface was named “Man in Space Soonest” (MISS). Once the United States reached its objective, it aimed to implement Lunar Reconnaissance (LUREC). Under this project, the U.S. aimed to launch an orbiter to reach the Moon. Once the orbiter reaches the Moon, the orbiter will be followed by the Human-crewed lunar landing and initiate the return phase.

Once the orbiter returned, the plan involved putting more people on the Moon, with 1964 as a deadline. Neil Armstrong had promptly chosen the group of astronauts that would be part of the trip to the Moon.

However, the plan got shot down by the U.S. Air Force and rebooted as Project Mercury. Even so, Neil Armstrong still managed to fly to space and became the first person to walk around on the Moon. Nevertheless, The U.S. Army had no intentions of lagging, and they developed Project “Horizon.”

Although short-lived, Project Horizon was a feasibility study for a military base on the Moon. The project Horizon also included the German-US rocket man, Wernher Von Braun.

Wernher dug in roots and emerged as the first director at NASA. Yet, the study conducted by the Army in efforts to construct a base on the Moon continued through Project Apollo.

Part of the Apollo Project was the development of the Saturn V, a rocket that evolved with the development of the Saturn I7.

The Air Force wasn’t short of ideas, and they had a devastating plan rolled up their sleeve; A secret plan from the U.S. Air Force suggested deploying a nuclear bomb to the lunar start and blowing it to pieces. The plotters insisted that their idea had reasonable scientific grounding. However, seeing that the Moon still exists, it is clear that their idea flopped.

Other planners, however, suggested commendable ideas, such as setting up long-term habitation on the Moon. These planners put together living modules set to be placed under the Moon’s surface. Creating an underground city on the Moon will mark the visitors on the Moon safe from hazards, including meteorite bombardment, surface hazards, and radiation.

The plotters also brainstormed to deploy natural resources to extract living elements like oxygen, water, and other materials that would allow habitation. The utilization of this resource got the name In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU).

The ISRU has become a part of current-day planning for creating more bases on the Moon. Not only the bases on the Moon, but this plotting will facilitate infrastructure benefits on the Mars Mission too! Various initial plans for lunar mining are based on NASA’s hopes of lunar bases within the decades and Mars habitats for the future.

The history of the moon base mission contains various projects that have never been able to escape the drawing boards and come to reality. However, the genius of the plotters wasn’t wasted; These plans are a shadow of the world’s history when the two “Best and Brightest” countries in the world faced difficulties with aims high to the sky.

It has been approximately 55 years ever since Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon for the first time. Although the plan he executed to achieve MISS was put to life in the early 20th century, the works behind them set the groundwork for the Apollo missions and many more plans. The ideas held enough potential to echo the current space scenario!

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