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6. On September 10, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld held a press conference to disclose that over $2,000,000,000,000 (2 Trillion) in Pentagon funds could not be accounted for.
Such a disclosure normally would have sparked a huge scandal. However, the commencement of the [9/11] attack on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon the following morning would assure that the story remained buried.
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> NASA Announces Moon Colony Plans

Master Of His Domain
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Posts: 12736
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  Posted: Dec 4 2006, 05:03 PM
Quote Post
NASA Announces Moon Colony Plans
By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 4, 2006
NASA unveiled plans today to set up a small and ultimately self-sustaining settlement of astronauts on the South Pole of the moon sometime around 2020, the first step in an ambitious plan to resume manned exploration of the solar system.

The long-awaited proposal envisions initial stays of a week by four-person crews, and then gradually longer visits until power and other supplies are in place to make a permanent presence possible.

The effort was presented as an unprecedented mission to learn about the moon and places beyond, as well as an integral part of a plan to send astronauts to Mars. Under the NASA plan, the moon settlement will be a way station for crews headed to Mars, and would provide not only safe haven but also hydrogen and oxygen to make needed water and rocket fuel.

If the project goes ahead as planned, it would return humans to the moon for the first time since 1972.

According to NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale, the agency met with hundreds of scientists, potential international partners and space businesses over the past year to discuss the options -- whether the plan should be based around sorties to the moon or around an outpost and later settlement. The conclusion, she said, was that an outpost was the best for science and in preparation for exploration further into space.

Dale said that once the idea of an outpost was endorsed the team debated where it should be established, with a focus on either the lunar North or South Pole. "Conditions at the South Pole appear to be more moderate and safer," she said. The South Pole in particular is constantly bathed in light and would be an ideal place to easily collect solar power.

Lunar exploration chief Scott Horowitz said that the polar sites were scientifically "exciting because we don't know as much about the lunar poles as we know about Mars."

While the rockets and space capsule that will take astronauts back to the moon will be exclusively American, Dale said that the lunar mission envisioned and needed the cooperation of other nations. As part of the planning process, she said, NASA officials met with representatives from the European Space Agency and the space agencies of Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, England, India, Italy, Russian, South Korea and the Ukraine. Dale said she will be traveling extensively next year to these nations and others to see how they might want to participate.

In 2004, resident Bush announced his Vision for Exploration and plans to send astronauts back to the moon and later to Mars. Congress almost unanimously embraced the general plan last year, but questions remain about its funding. NASA is counting on redirecting billions of dollars from the space shuttle and international space station programs as a way to fund development of a new space ship, but some critics complain that the agency is already reducing its science programs to pay for the moon/Mars plan.

It seems appropriate that NASA is now aiming for the lunar South Pole because agency Administrator Michael Griffin is fond of telling people that one model for lunar exploration and development is what has happened on Antarctica. While the Earth's South Pole was first visited in the early 20th century, it wasn't until the 1950s that researchers returned and decades later before they had established permanent, year-round settlements.

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