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A 1962 paper by John M. Cord and Leonard M. Seale, two Bell Aerosystems engineers, outlining a plan to land a man on the Moon by 1965 and have him wait there until more advanced rockets are developed to bring him back. The United States wanted to beat the Soviets to the Moon at all costs, and this plan allowed them to send someone as soon Lunar-capable rockets were possible. These only needed to be able to make it to the Moon, not make it back.

First, there would be four cargo landings around the designated base site. Each 10' by 15' container would carry 910 pounds of cargo. After the cargo drops are completed, the lone astronaut would be sent in a 7' by 10' capsule. After the landing the astronaut will bury one of the containers and live in it using a fuel cell power system that had been sent. The astronaut would then stay there and explore the moon for a period of up to three years. The one-man Moon base would be resupplied by periodic cargo launches from the Earth. The man would be brought back after rockets were developed with sufficient power to travel from the Earth to the Moon and back.

Obviously this plan has a lot of problems. Not the least of which are the physical and psychological problems caused by living on the Moon alone for any period of time. If this plan was ever put into motion, the man would never be able to return to Earth because his body would be so weak from living in such a low-gravity environment for so long.

This plan was the basis for the novel "The Pilgrim Project" and the 1968 James Caan movie Countdown

liveforever sez: Note that this plan is somewhat similar to current plans to send a mission to Mars without sufficient fuel to return, having sent in advance an unmanned unit to extract fuel from the atmosphere and soil.

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