Time for a Moon Base?

Forum moderator Geoff linked to a short article about Russia’s Space Agency considering reviving plans to build a lunar base. In the late 1950s the US Army studied the feasibility of constructing a lunar military outpost. Under the name “Project Horizon” the aims were:

“to develop and protect potential United States interests on the moon; to develop techniques in moon-based surveillance of the earth and space, in communications relay, and in operations on the surface of the moon; to serve as a base for exploration of the moon, for further exploration into space and for military operations on the moon if required; and to support scientific investigations on the moon.”
Of the several sites proposed this was one of them in Sinus Aestuum south of the Imbrium Basin.

In this wide view an arrow marks the proposed site.

In terms of lunar exploration it would have made a great site with opportunities to sample the rays of Copernicus Crater and explore Eratosthenes Crater and the pyroclastic deposits of Rima Bode yielding valuable dating and geologic information. More details can be found on the the LROC News system  site where these pictures are taken from and which featured the proposed lunar base last year. Thanks to forum regular kodemunkey for providing that link.

The “Project Horizon” document is lengthy and makes fascinating reading. It’s easy to forget that it was written half a century ago and 2 years before Yuri Gagarin made his historic spaceflight. But the plan never progressed beyond this feasibility study and lunar bases have remained the stuff of science fiction. Will this new attempt to revive the idea meet the same fate?

Here’s the NAC of the Sinus Aestuum region: M129350565L

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