A permanent operational base on the Moon has many more options than an artificial orbital station. Perhaps one of the most important functions relates to the future exploration of Mars. We left the Moon in a hurry, not even completing the scheduled missions. There is much left un-discovered on the Moon. The lunar mapping satellites Clementine and the Lunar Prospector have discovered large mineral deposits that can be exploited for fabrication of Moon-launched deep-space missions. As an astronomical observatory it has advantages over Hubble in terms of size and accessibility. Some of the most intriguing features of establishing a permanent lunar foothold are listed and discussed below.
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