NASA launched LRO/LCROSS yesterday. Great, so those will (again) scan the moon and create beautiful maps. And LCROSS will crash into the moon, and very maybe find a drop of frozen water.
Hey guys, let me tell you a little secret: the Moon is dust, rocks, craters and hills. Been there, done that, even got the t-shirt! Let's just team up 4 astronauts and frigging go already! There really is no real added value to have LRO/LCROSS check out the moon for the zillionth time, with the same result as always: rocky, dusty cold place and oh, very maybe, but definately not sure, because, well, there was so little data available (we need another mission to investigate more!), frozen water.
Print a map of the moon, throw 3 darts at it and voila, you got your landing areas!
Ah yes, there's that little issue that NASA (or any other space agency) doesn't have a rocket powerful enough to send people to the Moon. Bummer. Spending money on a fluke Ares-1X won't do that any good. Bummer again.
What we and NASA need is focus. Let's just focus for 10 years to get people there. Just like "the good old days". No distractions of more Mars missions (leave those to ESA), ISS missions (leave that to Soyuz .. ESA as well) no other budget eating missions. Focus. Then, by 2020 (according to NASA we'll be there by 2018.. I am really doubting that plan will work with all the budget issues and delays currently going on), we'll be on the Moon for sure. If they could do it in the primitive 60s, we certainly can do it in the high tech 21st century!
Of course, NASA is working hard to make it. I really hope they will. So far, everything looks pretty good on the Ares-I front and Orion capsule. But I believe there isn't even a design for the AresV yet.