NASA Plans Space Outpost on the Far Side of the Moon at Earth Moon Lagrange Point 2


Artist’s concept of Lagrange outpost. Credit: NASA

NASA wants to plan a space outpost parked near the Lagrange point, where the Earth’s and moon’s gravitation fields nearly cancel each other out, making it a lot easier to stage manned space missions into space.


The Lagrange points, or libration points or L-points, would allow the outpost to remain in an almost fixed position. There are five Lagrange points around Earth. For this outpost, NASA is looking at the Earth-moon Lagrange point 2 (EML-2) as the best possible site for the next manned outpost. EML-2 is actually situated beyond the moon.


The outpost could prove a staging ground for operations on and around the moon, but also act as a launch point toward Mars, the Kuiper Belt, and beyond. This project will need international support, and the agency is currently checking the possibility of an EML-2 outpost. The report will be handed in by March 30, 2012.


An EML-2 waypoint could also enable a significant telerobotic presence on the far side of the moon, and could serve as a platform for solar and Earth-based scientific observation, radio astronomy, and other scientific pursuits in the quiet zone behind the moon. If the EML-2 waypoint is established it would represent the farthest that humans have traveled from Earth to date. Extended stays at EML-2 could provide advancements in life sciences and radiation shielding for long-duration missions outside the Van Allen radiation belts.

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