Simple, we take the project away from NASA and give it to the Air Force instead. According long established international law, an imperial power first plants it’s flag on a newly discovered land, thereby claiming it as sovereign territory belonging to the power that first explored it. The task then becomes first and foremost a military problem of defending the territory against all would be usurpers. Think about it: the first wave of naval exploration of the Pacific were undertaken by navies. The scientific expeditions came later, after the ocean had been mostly charted, and an infrastructure of resupply bases put into place. Right now, the U.S.A. is a party to the Outer Space Treaty that’s been in force since 1967. This treaty is a disaster. According to the treaty, the Moon is basically a scientific International Park, rather like Antarctica. Any country is free to explore and exploit the Moon, for peaceful purposes. The treaty explicitly bars national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, or by means of use and occupation, or any other means. The OST is inherently unfair to the nation that expends the treasury and blood to get there first—U.S. We planted the American flag there in several places. Therefore, it's ours. Since the OST is onerous, we can in all good conscience unilaterally withdraw from the treaty. Our task will then be to defend the Moon from all comers. They can visit, and do whatever—after they pay us a fat licensing fee. If anyone lands on the Moon without American permission, their astronauts will be captured and sent back to Earth in handcuffs. Thus, the first continuously manned presence on the Moon should be military bases. Once military bases are established, NSF—not NASA—scientists will be able to piggyback on the military installations. Here the model is the Arctic, rather than the Antarctic, where scientists studying the aurora borealis were based out of radar installations guarding against Soviet ICBM’s. In this manner, NASA can save it’s money for aeronautical engineering and unmanned space probes to more distant objectives. The construction of Air Force bases on the Moon will only place a small dent into the $400+billion DOD budget. And such scientific research that can be conducted will be done under the auspices of NSF, thus further conserving NASA funds. The Chinese, Russians, and Iranians will howl, but when faced with the fait accompli, there will be little that they will be able to do about it. More daunting, I doubt that the hippies who now control NASA will take kindly to a military usurpation of their bureaucratic turf—even though most of them don’t have faith in manned exploration of space.