|Quoting Norlander (Reply 3):|
For all the grievances I have for NASA (where is Moon Base Alpha!)
NASA can only build what the United States Congress authorizes and funds them to build. Congress has not authorized Moon Base Alpha yet. NASA's first Moon Base plans died in the Budget Disaster of 1967, in which funds for all post-Apollo programs were essentially zeroed out (only SkyLab survived, barely, and at the cost of Apollo 20.) NASA's next serious opportunity to start work on a Moon Base was the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) in 1989, on the 20th Anniversary of Apollo 11. NASA management completely botched that opportunity, adding everything but the kitchen sink to their wish list, which was instantly killed by Congress because of its enormous cost (reportedly $500 billion, but even if half that, it was still far too expensive.) It took fifteen years for NASA to build back up its credibility with Congress and the White House after that fiasco, and in 2004 President Bush again proposed lunar exploration, in the form of the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE
) now known as Project Constellation.