Scientists and engineers are working hard on solving problems and inventing new technologies to make a permanent base on the Moon possible. The base will be a preparation for a manned trip to Mars.
Scientists and engineers are hard at work studying technologies that don't yet exist and puzzling over questions such as how to handle the psychological stress of moon settlement, how to build lunar bulldozers and how to reacquire what planetary scientist Christopher P. McKay of NASA's Ames Research Center calls "our culture of exploration."
The moon is not for the faint of heart. It is a lethal place, without atmosphere, pelted constantly by cosmic rays and micrometeorites, plagued by temperature swings of hundreds of degrees, and swathed in a blanket of dust that can ruin space suits, pollute the air supply and bring machinery to a screeching halt.