Robert Zubrin, the president of the Mars Society has lashed out against NASA stating that their plans for a Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway are silly and most of the recent projects launched by the United States space agency useless. In a published in the journal The New Atlantis, Robert Zubrin claimed that NASA has been spending a vast sum of money on various projects with no serious objective.
As per Zubrin, the best way by which NASA's space programs can be elevated to new heights is by building a permanent lunar base. To materialize this project, Zubrin wants NASA to send building materials and various other supplies to the moon. Later, the space agency should begin electrolyzing the large caches of water ice in the Moon's craters to produce hydrogen and oxygen.
A craft named Lunar Excursion Vehicle (LEV) should be used to shuttle astronauts between the Moon and low-Earth orbit.
The Mars Society president argues that lunar poles are the best place to build a human base, as it offers permanent access to solar energy.
"The Moon's poles are ideal not only because they have nearby permanently shadowed craters with water, but because they also feature near-permanently illuminated highlands offering reliable access to solar energy. The poles are thus the clear favorites for a base, as they provide both the raw material and the energy source necessary to manufacture hydrogen-oxygen rocket propellant," wrote Zubrin in the paper.
Zubrin also believes that building a permanent lunar base is the first step towards a successful human Mars mission.
"By choosing to establish a base on the Moon, we can restore the confidence of the human spaceflight program and enable it to take on the greater challenges awaiting us on Mars and beyond. We can reaffirm our identity as a nation of pioneers and make a powerful statement that the future belongs to the forces of liberty by once again astounding the world with what free people can do. We can do this all — if we proceed with purpose," added Zubrin.
Interestingly, NASA has already started working on a plan which is aimed to build a permanent base on the moon soon. The space agency also revealed that humans will be sent to Mars in 2030. In the meantime, Space X, led by South African billionaire Elon Musk is also planning to send humans to Mars in the next decade.