Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Moonbase 2029

MOONBASE 2029 (320kbs-m4a/63mb/27mins)
BBC Radio 4 broadcast: 19th July 2019

Fifty years after Apollo astronauts first walked on the lunar surface, the world is heading back to make the Moon a new home.

“We left flags and footprints,” said the head of NASA Jim Bridenstine recently. “This time when we go, we’re going to go to stay.”

The United States has pledged to return by 2024 and NASA is building an orbiting space station near the Moon, called the Lunar Gateway, and is planning a field station as a base.

But the return to the Moon will be international. The European Space Agency (ESA), for instance, is building the service module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft - which will take humans to the Moon using its new giant SLS rocket. China aims to get its own astronauts on the Moon within the decade. Meanwhile ESA is constructing a lunar simulator facility in Cologne, Germany.

Space expert and TV science presenter Dallas Campbell hears from scientists at NASA, ESA and the German Aerospace Centre DLR who are working to make the practicalities of building a Moonbase reality.

Dallas meets those who are experimenting with solar ovens to build lunar bricks and one researcher who is making filters for human urine to produce fertiliser for crops on the Moon.

British astronaut Tim Peake discusses his recent lunar training underwater and Dallas travels to Bavaria to discover why current astronauts are training there for a lunar landing.

Producer: Sue Nelson
A Boffin Media production for BBC Radio 4

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