Obama says, “Been there, done that” in dismissing the idea of going to the Moon. Romney says he'll fire anybody who proposes going back to the Moon. But, Russia and Japan say in Nature that we're making a mistake and they're going there to establish permanent moon bases:
While NASA now intends to pursue manned missions to asteroids, representatives of several other space agencies reiterated that the Moon was still squarely in their sights.
Vladimir Popovkin, the head of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, said that Russia will pursue extensive, long-lived operations at the Moon's surface. "We're not talking about repeating what mankind achieved 40 years ago," Popovkin said, through a translator. "We're talking about establishing permanent bases." Similarly, JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency, issued a clear pronouncement about targeting the Moon. "We are looking at the Moon as our next target for human exploration," said Yuichi Yamaura, an associate executive director at JAXA.
China was another conspicuously absent member of the aerospace club as represented on stage. Those present were asked whether they should be doing more to collaborate with China. "We're all for it," says Popovkin. "We have to talk to China." Steve MacLean, the president of the Canadian Space Agency, described how impressed he was by China's space operations after a recent visit. He says it would be "prudent" to explore more collaboration.
Interestingly, Romney's space advisor, former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin says going back to the Moon is a great idea—and Romney hasn't fired him. Well, we know everything Romney says is written on an Etch-A-Sketch. He changes his mind in a New York minute.