After far too long, Space is sexy again with a regular supply of Space related stories with Japan announcing today that they plan to build a space station in the Moons orbit by 2030.
The announcement comes as China and India are planning ambitious space programmes with both looking to land probes on Mars while the USA are planning to send astronauts to Mars by 2033.
While all eyes seemed to be swiveled towards Mars, overlooking the Moon seems a fundamental error.
We have a ready made practice site 4 days travel away where we can perfect building bases and living on an alien planet before looking further afield.
Mars is 240 million miles and a 6 month each way trip away but we haven't been back to the Moon since 1972 which i find a major disappointment especially as we seem to be making the jump straight to colonising Mars.
There is no Space race this time so there is no need to nations to compete with each other to send an astronaut to plant a flag in the Martian soil, we can all join up and do it together by first colonising the Moon.
Rather a case of running before we can walk and by making a second home on the moon, and building a space station in orbit around it, this could be one of the first of many stop-offs because that is what we will need as we venture further out into the Solar System, stop off points.
A trip to Mars is six months out and for all out technology, the human body is unable to handle the lack of gravity as we see from those returning from the International Space Station who are greeted by Gravity and a hospital worth of medical services.
All which makes the talk about manned Mars Missions far fetched until science develops a way to travel faster then we can currently to shorten the trip, develop some form of artificial gravity aboard the rockets or we create a string of fully equipped regular stopping off points and that's where we should be looking.