A team of space experts, including top NASA scientists, has now presented a special research with the details about how we can start a human colony on the Moon in the next seven years - all for US$10 billion. The main goal of this kind of research isn't really the Moon itself - from an exploratory point of view, many researchers have greater targets in sight. NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay, who was involved in this study, said “My interest is not the Moon. To me the Moon is as dull as a ball of concrete. But we're not going to have a research base on Mars until we can learn how to do it on the Moon first. The Moon provides a blueprint to Mars.”
The main reason we haven’t gone back to moon since1972 is because its way too expensive, the Apollo mission which put the first man on the moon would cost US$150 billion by today's standards. But with the help of new technology, it no longer has to be that much expensive. McKay told Popular Science “The big takeaway is that new technologies, some of which have nothing to do with space - like self-driving cars and waste-recycling toilets - are going to be incredibly useful in space, and are driving down the cost of a moon base to the point where it might be easy to do.”
According to NASA's Alexandra Hall and NextGen Space'sCharles Miller in one of the papers: The US can start a mission to send humans to the surface of the Moon less than the period of 5-7 years from ability to carry on at an estimated total cost of about $10 billion (±30 percent).
The lunar base will have capability to house about 10 people for stays of up to almost a year at first - and could ultimately develop to a self-sufficient colony of 100 within a decade.
The rocket that will take astronauts to the moon could be SpaceX's soon-to-be-launched Falcon Heavy, once all the equipment get there, 3D printing could help a lot to create pretty much everything else once they get there.
The astronauts would perhaps stay in the something alike to Bigelow Aeropsace's inflatable home, the scientists write, which is radiation resistant and would let for a variety of living areas, along with easy storage and transport.
It may also offer secure environment for basic crops, which would be fertilized with the aid of a toilet that reprocesses human waste into energy, clean water, and nutrients, just like the Gates Foundation-funded blue toilet.
Well it all seems like a plan and the research team conclude at the end "It is time to go back to this Moon, this time to stay and funding is no longer the main hurdle."