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Moon Colonization When will it happen? What do we need to change?

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Alex Cicala

That is why we are currently searching for other planets and their moons for water... A moon orbiting Jupiter has water on it, and NASA space explorers and scientists are currently building a machine to send there, it'll probably be done in the year 2050.

You have to remember this Jupiter Moon, i think it was Callisto 'may' have water on it. NASA say that it has signs of sustaining water. This was the same for Mars although Mars doesn't have water on it.

silverwurm

Ok... there are ideas out there of a possible moon colonization. But, how long until it happens?

 

Is this... possible? Quite possible. Anything is possible, but are we smart enough to do this?

 

In any case, we would need resources on the moon. Food, water, shelter. Entertainment, comedy, laughter. Moon colonization should not be for scientists only, which it probably will be at first. If it were only for scientists then i'd bet the population would not be as big as its potential.

 

To get to the point:

 

Transportation:

 

Space shuttles have been retired already, and I doubt that people would want to travel in a rocket. We will need better transportation of space travel soon, at least better transportation for traveling to the moon comercially.

 

Industrial Developments:

 

What we've done on the Earth is a MISTAKE. Too much polution and energy waste while it drains away the Earth's energy. Who knows when we'd run out of oil? There should be no dirty industrial development on the moon, period.

 

Commercial Developments:

 

Please, not too much of restauraunts that also contribute to polution like it does here on Earth. Fast food chains should be welcome but controlled in their development.

 

Resources:

 

Transportation of resources would be expensive, obviously:

Food - Should we grow our own food in big glass domes that magnify the energy of the sun to benefit the plants and animals?

Water - I wonder if water could be reusable..

Shelter - Shelter shouldnt be a problem, as long as it is secure and air tight.

Solar Energy - To avoid use of oil please use Solar Energy.

 

Security:

 

Everyone should pass security checkpoints when living on the moon, to avoid possibility of terrorism from within the moon colonies.

 

Technology:

 

- Satellite radio should cover the radio music for now.

- It might be a good idea not to have EVERYTHING managed by computers, because computers often have bugs and errors and it might be too risky to let it manage lets say, air locks.

 

More to be added later, but feel free to add anything you think a moon colony should have.

 


To Avoid use of oil? Are you serious? Raising concerns about people polluting the moon through use of oil/coal/natural gas/any other carbon based burning makes about as much sense as raising concerns about scuba divers burning down an underwater kelp bed. How exactly would you go about burning ANYTHING on the moon given it has 1) no Free oxygen (or atmosphere at all for that matter), and 2) no natural reserves of anything that we would call fuel (no oil, no natural gas, no coal; in fact carbon in general is rather scarce there). You would have to import oil from earth, and then you would need to provide your own oxygen for it, which you would either have to ship from earth(way expensive), or refine it from the lunar rocks (requires some other energy source to get the oxygen out, much simpler/cheaper to just use it directly).

 

The fuels we use on earth are only viable for us because there are large amounts of them just lying around, plus a huge supply of free oxygen everywhere to burn it with. The nice thing about being on the moon is that these "dirty industries" will not exist simply because there is no viable way to make them there. The way it looks right now, solar and nuclear(fission or fusion) power are the only feasible ways of powering a lunar outpost.

 

 

Concerning the feasibility of Moon colonization: the way I see it, the only way a Lunar outpost would ever amount to anything more than a dozen people or so (like the ISS), is if there were something on the moon that, all things considered, could be procured more cheaply than it could on earth. People can and have colonized and thrived in the most inhospitable of places, but no group ever did so simply for the sake of making a colony, there was always something there that made the difficult adaptation worth their wiles.

 

There are a few things on the moon which could theoretically be such a resource. Some have suggested mining helium 3, quite rare on the earth, more plentiful on the moon, which is theoretically useful for very efficient nuclear fusion, as well as being useful now for certain cryogenics experiments. It currently carries a price tag of over $42000 / ounce, developing a working power generation system using it could increase demand, driving that price up ever further and sustaining it there.

 

Another is the prospect of solar power satellites for powering earth. The idea is simple: sunlight on earth is blocked by clouds, the atmosphere itself reduces the radiation received at the surface, and that pesky little thing called night happens all the time and blocks the sun out altogether. But if we put a really big array of solar panels in orbit around the earth, where the sun always shines, and then beam the power down to earth with microwaves, we now have a solar power station that will produce large amounts of energy all the time, with functionally infinite room to expand the system. Earth's electricity problem (and all the pollution that comes from it) would disappear. All the technology for this currently exists, most of it for quite some time. Trouble is, getting things from earth to space is hard (ie, expensive) due to earth's high gravity and thick atmosphere. Launching off the moon, with it's low gravity and no atmosphere, is a snap by comparison. So build a moon base, make materials for solar power satellites, and then sent them back to earth orbit, all more cheaply than building the same satellites on earths surface and launching them up.

 

These two seem the most plausible to me, most likely both of them in conjunction. And who knows? Maybe there are other resources on them moon which can be procured there more cheaply than on earth, the Apollo mission literally only scratched the surface in a few scattered places, any colonization effort would certainly discover a lot of things that were previously overlooked. No matter what resource you are going there for, you still need one more thing, a lower cost method of getting things from the earth's surface into orbit. The current price ranges from $4000 - $30000 per kg of cargo, so much that the above listed schemes just aren't worth it over terrestrial sources. But if that launch cost was to come down significantly, say to $300 - $500 per kg, suddenly the notion of making solar power satellites starts looking mighty nice compared to other kinds of power generation, as does extracting costly materials from the moon instead of mining them on earth.

 

Schemes of reducing that launch cost is a lengthy discussion in and of itself. There are a slew of ideas, everything from making a space elevator to launching rockets off a mountainside track instead of a launch pad to simply making rockets cheaper and more reliable. SpaceX is bringing it down quite a bit all on it's own just by dragging out the old Saturn rocket technology and renovating it, and the space programs of several countries are researching ways to get that cost down further. Personally, I believe the cost could get that low within 10-20 years. Once that happens, someone will shoot for the moon before too long.


Quatrux

I would like to add my two cents, like in the movie Space 1999, which is quite old, something from the year 77, can't remember, the moon had an alpha base which was used to put nuclear waste from nuclear plants and store it in the moon rather than putting it in earth. :DSame, as in some movie, trash which can't be recycled was sent to the sun o burn :D or I would sent it to a black hole :DPersonally, I don't see a lot of purpose for a moon base, unless you use this base like some kind of point, you go to the moon quite cheap with some small spacecrafts,cargo-crafts and use a quite bigger spacecraft to go somewhere from the moon? as it would be cheaper, than every-time traveling from earth..Maybe even a space station is better rather than a moon base for this purpose..Nevertheless, being for a long time in space is very bad for your health, firstly good artificial gravity technology needs to be achieved. :P


Okara KAmi

Moon colonization with our economy? That kind of stuff waits for when countries have the surplus resources to fund something like that. But assuming that we do get out of this global slump any time in the foreseeable future, then I think most of what you said would have to be rigorously followed through on to make any tangible progress. But colonization is a really large way away, and I think at this point in our tech plateau, there are a lot of more productive and less impossible ways we can tap into the presence of the moon. Silverwurm mentioned solar power. I think since we're on the subject of using the moon to take another step forward, we could plant the moon with solar panels. The theory is that it takes a lot of energy to deploy solar panels into orbit around the earth, and keep it there, where as if we stationed large solar panels on the moon itself, we would benefit from unadulterated radiation that can be brought back down to us periodically.But if we're going to talk about colonizing on the moon, I'd be wary of the politics behind it. That's a lot of different countries trying to make use of the space availability and industrialization opportunity in a land that doesn't suffer from anything besides constant sunlight for periods that are 27x longer than the Earth's. You're going to have a lot of competitive studies and another Cold War could easily break lose the second someone gets the bright idea of farming nuclear power from their own solar powered missionary plant on the moon. There's a lot of ways a whole new mass of available land can go wrong, and that means that we'd be looking at a whole new kind of political struggle to overwhelm our UN with.Other than that, you've made a few mentions about pure colonizations. That's, again, a realllly long while away. I can't emphasize enough how difficult it would be to replicate anything close to what we have here on Earth. Without an atmosphere, anything we pump there will be negated, and without a sustainable source of back up energy, all investments put into the moon are largely too risky to be an apt financial benefit.



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