NASA have announced that they plan to put four men on the Moon in one go by the year 2020.
This is exciting, if only for seeing men walking on the Moon again. The scientific aspects of the mission probably won't be much different to what happened during the Apollo era:
Four men on the Moon for seven days - I can't see much to be learned more than we already know, to be honest.
How many missions will there be?
The modus operandi seems very similar to the Apollo moonshots of over 30 years ago.
Going all conspiratorial for a second, I wonder if reserves of hydrocarbons have been located on the Moon? Everybody knows that we'll soon have a major energy crisis soon, as oil stocks begin to dwindle. We've already hit peak production and extraction of our oil reserves worldwide, so less oil will be produced with demand ever increasing.
If the Moon is a vast untapped resevoir for usable hydrocarbons, it could make such missions highly profitable (albeit very difficult and expensive in and of themselves) for the USA.
With China planning unmanned missions to the Moon, and not entirely ruling out later, manned missions, could we be seeing the beginning of a new Space Race?