Elon Musk shared an image he captioned "Moon Base Alpha" on Instagram today, featuring a computer rendered image of the proposed moon base, which he called for originally during a talk at the International Space Station Research and Development conference in Washington back in July.
Musk said at the time that a moon base would really help get the public fired up about exploration and colonization further out in the solar system, including on Mars. He also tweeted late in August in response to a story about astronaut Chris Hadfield saying we should work on a moon encampment prior to a trip to Mars that “Moon base alpha” name – a reference to a 1970s sci-fi TV series.
It now seems likely that Musk’s talk at the IAC will include plans for a moon base prior to a Mars colony. This would actually be in line with some of the plans NASA and other space agencies have discussed regarding deeper space exploration, which involves a “deep space gateway” orbital station somewhere in the environs of our moon.
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