love to go back (to the moon) again, but I don't think
I'll be invited."
Apollo 17 astronaut
11, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Apollo 17
astronaut Harrison Schmitt told an audience at the
University of Kentucky today that the United States
may well launch a new mission to the moon in another
30 years, and this time the goal could be to tap an
abundant Helium 3 energy source on the moon.
Schmitt suggested that the energy source available
on the moon could aid future exploration into deep
Schmitt is visiting UK today as the guest of the
Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) headquartered at
UK and is scheduled to give a free public lecture
at 7 p.m. today in the Concert Hall of the Singletary
Center for the Arts.
This is the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 17 mission
to the moon. Schmitt said during a morning news conference
that he would personally like to go back to the moon. "I'd love to go back again, but I don't think
I'll be invited."
A native and former U.S. senator of New Mexico, Schmitt
said future trips to the moon would be greatly enhanced
by the improved technology that has occurred in the
past 30 years. For one thing, he said, future rockets
like the Saturn that carried the Apollo mission likely
would be made of composite material and be much lighter.
Asked his opinion about persons who have bought rides
to the space station in Russian space shuttles, Schmitt
said, "It's their money and they can spend it
any way they want to." He suggested the United
States might want to consider the commercial feasibility
of taking tourists into space. The cost of taking
one person along is only about $500,000, he figured.
Speculating about the possibility that there is life
somewhere other than on earth, Schmitt said there
is a strong probability that there is life on other
planets, but very little probability they had ever
visited earth. "We would know if they had been
here," he said.
At 11 a.m., Schmitt delivered a technical talk about
the geologic evolution of the moon and Mars to an
appreciative audience - including UK President Lee
T. Todd Jr. - to about 150 UK faculty members and
students in the auditorium of the William T. Young