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Not long after the end of the Apollo lunar landings, it was time for the next step in lunar exploration. There was belief, and some evidence from the experiments that were performed on the lunar surface during the Apollo missions, that there were minerals...water...and other scientifically useful resources on the lunar surface. There was also a concern that the Soviet Union would eventually land on the lunar surface, and attempt to claim all or part of it as their territory.
So, the space race continued. On this front, the race was to the first long duration habitation of the lunar surface, and eventual lunar colonization. The United States created a habitat, a base, designed for the long term exploration and habitation of the lunar surface. In fact, they created two such bases. This allowed the Americans to explore the scientific wealth that awaited them on the lunar surface, as well as make a long term claim of the lunar surface before the Russians. While this is not what happened in real life, it is what happened in the fictional world we have created.
This is...the Apollo Moon Bases. Welcome to Belitopia.
IntroductionProject Tycho was the name of the program to create the first long term habitat on the lunar surface. The United States worked hard and fast in order to create this habitat, so that we could continue our exploration of the lunar surface after the end of Apollo 20. After all, the Russians couldn’t be far behind. For the first time since it began, the United States was finally leading in the space race against the Soviet Union. They intended to stay in the lead.
As it turns out, the Soviet Union had given up on the quest for the lunar surface, and instead had focused on exploring and conquering near earth orbit. This was something we talked about in the past episode, episode number 5, on Skylab. However, the United States was not aware of this fact, and they continued to work under the assumption that the Soviet Union was still trying to land on the moon, so they could claim as much of the lunar surface as possible.
So, given this information, the United States turned away from the relatively short duration spot landings of single Apollo landing missions, which could only provide them with relatively short stays on the lunar surface. Instead, they turned their sight towards developing and building their first long duration base on the lunar surface. The purpose of the base was to provide a long term habitation of the lunar surface by Americans. The habitation would be by regular astronauts, but also by astronaut scientists that could study the lunar surface in greater detail over an extended period of time.
How long of a period of time? The goal was to enable stays on the lunar surface of upwards of eight months by any single crew, and provide a total lunar habitation of five years at a single site on the lunar surface by multiple crews. Between the two planned sites, it would create the opportunity for nearly seven years of continuous lunar habitation and exploration.
This would give astronauts and scientists plenty of time to study long term effects of living on the lunar surface, and time to study the surface of the moon in substantially greater detail. The desire was to prove feasibility for a permanent presence on the lunar surface and provide evidence that such a presence can be financially viable long term.
A side benefit — but not an...