NASA boss Michael Griffin said the costs for a Moon base won't be sky high, but he doesn't really know how much it will be:
"You ask what things will cost, I don't know yet," said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, a detail-oriented engineer. "We just rolled out a very preliminary architecture."
Griffin's lack of specifics is partly because NASA is budgeting its large cosmic construction projects differently, more "pay as you go" than "get there at all costs."
It's a departure that outsiders call either a brilliant way to avoid cost overruns and sticker shock - or a blank check that will end up squeezing taxpayers.
"Typically a habitat is less than the cost of large rocketry," Griffin said in an interview with The Associated Press as he awaited a space shuttle launch that was foiled on Thursday.
Last year, NASA said it would cost about $104 billion leading up to the first moon landing, now scheduled to happen by 2020. But that doesn't include the cost of multiple and continuous moon flights and the price of building and running the newly unveiled lunar outpost.