Comment on Apollo Moon Landing Hoax – Why Fake a Moon Landing? by jfb.
I think I’ve answered this exact question several times already.
In a nutshell:
1. It’s expensive. Apollo wound up costing over US $170 bn in 2005 dollars, which is a lot for any single program. We weren’t running the kinds of deficits in 1960 that we are now, and people were screaming about the cost back then. Any modern lunar program would wind up costing at least US $200 bn, partly because of pork-barrel politics, but mostly because…
2. It’s hard. It doesn’t matter how advanced your electronics and computers are, it still takes 9 – 10 km/s delta-V to reach Earth orbit (although if you make it to LEO, you’re halfway to just about anywhere in the inner solar system). Liquid-fueled rocket engines haven’t advanced that much beyond Apollo days, mainly because they were about as advanced as they could get already. Any gains have been incremental (a few more seconds Isp, a few more N of thrust, etc.). A manned lunar mission means a super-heavy lifter, which means a new launcher built from scratch (what the Ares V would have been before it was cancelled). Current heavy lifters such as the Delta-IV Heavy can’t do the job; they can’t lift enough mass to orbit. And they’re not man-rated. Building spacecraft to keep people alive between here and there hasn’t gotten any easier, either; it still takes so much mass, it still takes so much engineering. Again, any improvements over Apollo-era systems would be incremental.
3. National priorities have changed since 1960. We’re not in the middle of a dick-waving exercise with the Soviet Union; there’s no Soviet Union left to compete with. There’s no reason to send people to the Moon except to do basic exploration, and technology has advanced to the point where we don’t need to send people to do basic exploration anymore.
There are plenty of people who would love to build on the Apollo legacy, but they’re outnumbered by the people who aren’t willing to pay for it.