Engineer and cave explorer, Bill Stone is the lead designer and inventor of the NASA Autonomous Robotic Life Explorer project. He is developing a robot capable of exploring Jupiter’s moon Europa, traversing the vastness of space and a 4 kilometer-wide ice crust that covers the moon, to reach a possible inhabited sea below. But first, to do this, NASA requires a “space gas station”, a problem that was believed to be unsolvable, and that Dr.
Stone has manage to “theoretically solve” by a creating a bold solution: to command an industrial NASA mission to the Moon in order to built – from zero – a helium refinery and a space gas station for future space ships. The project was estimated to cost more than 3 billion dollars, taking over 20 years of scientific development. This is due mainly to the cost and technological complexity of launching a space shuttle that can reach the Moon with enough fuel to carry the required equipment and then bring back the crew.
Dr. Stone proposed instead to circumvent this problem by launching a space shuttle with enough fuel to reach the Moon, and then for the crew to live on the moon for a month and build the refinery to refuel the rocket back home. This idea, bold and depending on near “fringe science” in many aspects, is theoretically possible to develop. It will take NASA 7 years and close to a billion dollars, as opposed to 20 years and 3 billion dollars. Bill Stone offered himself voluntarily to command this possible suicide mission. The project will have a field test in the North Pole at the end of 2017 and then, if approved, will pass into the NASA official mission schedule, setting a possible launch date for 2025.
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