John Picard wrote:
Yup. That's the plan. Get back to the moon and THAT would be our launch pad for Martain missions.
But you gotta give NASA the money to do it. You can't just say "Go to Mars" and then "Go to everything else we tell you to do without any more money". So, the current Administration has ordered NASA to go over it's books and see what can be scrapped in order to fund the Ares/Constellation buildups. As it stands now, NASA must pick and choose what gets the appropriate resources and money.
You know what would be a real bitch (and also very hilarious)? If a mission to Mars gets to the Moon and finds a bunch of supplies missing, and a note written in some alien language, as well as binary, that says, "This is an IOU for some parts we had to borrow to fix our hyperdrive. Sorry, but we were behind schedule and had to get home quickly. Thank you, ADFHHFJS, FHUUVNW, and FHJFHUES".
There was a short story I read years ago that detailed a memo conversation between upper management and lower management of an alien species in concern of some human artifacts taken from the moon. The aliens weren't supposed to take anything because humans might come back some day and everything needed to be as it was. After much squabbling the lower management finally returned everything - so they thought. Turns out the aliens didn't return all the space suits - they either left one too many or one too few (can't remember).