This is a copy of a post I made on the SDMB.
Is it just me, or could NASA's new moonshot program be easily improved? The idea of sending up the crew seperately to the transit vehicle is good and cool, but would it not be better to repeat the exercise at the other end as well? I mean that there should be a station in lunar-stationary orbit with which the transit vehicle docks, then the astronauts transfer to a landing vehicle and descend to the lunar surface, returning with the whole vehicle to the the station in lunar orbit, transfer back to the transit module, then back to Earth - or to a station in Earth orbit and then back to Earth.
I see a number of key advantages:
Nothing left on the lunar surface - a longer term cost-saving.
Transit vehicle is also re-used - another cost saving.
Fuel for the landers and transit vehicle can be sent seperately.
The stations can have multiple landers and transit vehicles attached - handy for rescues. And other emergencies.
The station can be used to build a test beanstalk. I mean, we're not going to build the first one on Earth, are we?