When is it time for a moon base?

iBrian

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There's a report on the BBC site about ideas for a moon colony.

Although this is a very old idea, the claim is that all that is needed is the political will.

However, no doubt an incredible amount of investment would also be required - and I figure there are a lot of major concerns already pre-occupying the world's major powers.

Is it viable to really start laying the foundations of a moonbase now - or should we really wait another decade or so - at least - to ensure that we have a very viable set of technologies to start with, and thus make the project even more likely to move forward?

After all, look at the state of the International Space Station - born out of political wrangling, behind schedule and quite unfinished, cinapable of carrying out the most basic scientific missions - and now no shuttle fleet to even service it. Just how gargantuan an overhaul of our space ethic and supporting infrastructure would be required? Is it erally the right time?

Anyway, here's the article:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3161695.stm

Moon colony 'within 20 years'

Humans could be living on the Moon within 20 years, says a leading lunar scientist.

According to Bernard Foing of the European Space Agency, the technology will soon exist to set up an outpost for visiting astronauts.
However, political will is needed to inspire the public to support the initiative.

"We believe that technologically it's possible," the project scientist on Europe's first Moon mission, Smart-1, told BBC News Online.

"But it will depend in the end on the political will to go and establish a human base for preparing for colonisation of the Moon or to be used as a refuge for the human species."

Ion drive

The unmanned Smart-1 craft, which is due to be launched in early September, is flying to the Moon to demonstrate that Europe has the technology for future deep space science missions.

Its main form of propulsion is an ion engine powered by solar-electrical means rather than conventional chemical fuel.

When it arrives at the Moon, after a 15-month voyage, it will search for water-ice in craters and determine the abundance of minerals on the surface.

In the process, it will look for landing sites for future lunar exploration such as a sample return mission planned by the US space agency (Nasa) for 2009.

"The Moon could be used as a test bed for future human missions," says Sarah Dunkin, a leading British scientist on the Smart-1 project.

"To actually live on another world would be quite a test of technology as well as human physiology. We don't know what the long-term effects of living in a low gravity environment would be."

Any long term plans to set up a lunar base are bound to rely on international co-operation.

They could include India and China, two nations which have recently pledged to send astronauts back to the Moon.

However, under current policy, the UK would not be included because it does not support human space exploration.
 

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Yeah interesting, maybe we could take our vacation on the moon one day? But it would take a few months to get there, but I reckon maybe the biggest problem is asking your boss for the time of work lol

Yeah will happen one day in 20 yrs who knows?
 
the greater the challenge...

I ask everyone here, Is it not much more easier and more economical and more feasible by a huge scale to establish colonies under the unappropriated oceans than on the moon?

But such is the boredom of familiar surroundings.

Here's is a call to world powers to explore the colonization of under ocean space.

Why bother to go under the oceans. Establish colonies on their surface, but for the international agreement on leaving open sea lanes(?)

Susma Rio Sep
 
Politics...the greater challenge

Colonizing the Oceans is an excellent start for learning how to colonize the cosmos.

If for example we learned to live at length in the trenches six miles below the Oceans' surfaces, where the atmospheric pressure exceeds 14,000 lbs per square inch, or 990 Earth atmospheres, and the hydrospheric tempurature can range from 28 to 900 *F within a few feet, and the toxic chemicals and gasses streaming from volcanic vents are corrosive enough to liquify Titanium...living on Venus (size, mass, density and magnetic field wise similar to Earth) would be a snap.

Now, start having children and raising them at that depth, would eventually create a population of Humans similar to DC comic's SUPERMAN (circa 1943). They would be stronger, their mass would be more dense, hell they could kick a football a mile in the air (at sea level).

Consider the Astronauts on the moon, and what they could do...lift six times their weight, jump 24 feet instead of four...

Do we have the technology to do this today? Yep.

The problem:

Politics, economics and nationalism (power, greed and territorial instincts).

By international law, each country that has an international coastline, can claim three miles from mean low tide, a territorial sea (which is within their sovereign boundary. If an international waterway has a width of less than six miles, the two nations can split the difference.

Past the three mile limit up to 12 miles is the Customs Zone (for revenue, tarrif, and tax purposes, but no claim to the waterway as territorial.

From their out to 200 miles is the Exclusive Economic Zone, which pertains to fishing rights, harvesting of other marine produce and protection of the like from the dumping of toxics etc. Again, no territorial rights.

The high seas are past the 200 mile zone and cannot by international law, be claimed by any nation. This means no colonies under a single flag.

So the best we could do right now, is to create "colonies" within the three mile strip of Ocean, that borders the nation in question. For some (like the United States), that would not be a problem logistically. The US has 47,000 miles of territorial seas (a small country or coulple of new states within its own right).

But the rest of the Ocean is like Antartica, or the Moon. International law prohibits anyone from staking claim to them for one nation or another. Which means any colony would have to be international. Believe me Susma Rio Sep, this legal labrynth is so complex that no one really wants to touch it. You see the grief we have with the ISS Alpha I, and that is just a fancy tin can.

Logistically speaking, the concept of putting floating colonies on the surface of the seas...wouldn't that be kind of like building a house on a foundation less stable than sand?

I think the sea bottom would provide a much more stable environment (consistent, more or less).

And I know technologically we can build sustainable habitats underwater, right now.

If we could just get past the old men in the antechambers...
 
Not sure if we could create Supermen by birthing children in deep sea colonies :) - but it is indeed a great place to do research on the issue.

I'm hearing rumours, btw, that George W Bush is going to make a fairly big announcement about the American space project. with the shuttles out of commission, effectively crippling NASA, and with the Chinese having launched a man into space, you can be sure that the USA needs to do something.
 
What is the benefit of a moon station as opposed to a space station? The US budget flows with red ink from Iraq and the tax rebates. Unless the BBC plans on paying for it, I don't see it happening.
 
There be asteroids...

Nogodnomasters said:
What is the benefit of a moon station as opposed to a space station? The US budget flows with red ink from Iraq and the tax rebates. Unless the BBC plans on paying for it, I don't see it happening.

The Apollo program put us in the red (as did the Vietnam Conflict), but we did it anyway.

1964U.S. launches Mariner 3, which fails after liftoff.1964U.S. launches Mariner 4. First successful Mars fly-by in July 1965. The craft returns the first pictures of the Martian surface. 1964Soviets launch Zond 2. Mars fly-by. Contact lost in May 1965.1969U.S. launches Mariner 6 and 7. The two spacecraft fly by Mars in July and August 1969 and send back images and data.1971Soviets launch Mars 2. Orbiter and lander reach Mars in November 1971. Lander crashes but orbiter sends back images and data.1971U.S. launches Mariner 8, which fails during liftoff.1971U.S. launches Mariner 9. Orbiter reaches Mars in November 1971, provides global mapping of Martian surface and studies atmosphere.1973Soviets launch Mars 5. Orbiter reaches Mars in February 1974 and collects data.1975U.S. launches Viking 1 and Viking 2. The two orbiter/lander sets reach Mars in 1976. Orbiters image Martian surface. Landers send back images and take surface samples.1992U.S. launches Mars Observer. Contact lost with orbiter in August 1993, three days before scheduled insertion into Martian orbit.1996U.S. launches Mars Global Surveyor. Orbiter reaches Mars in September 1997 and maps the planet. Still in operation.1996Soviets launch Mars 96, which fails after launch and falls back into Earth's atmosphere.1996U.S. launches Mars Pathfinder. Lander and rover arrive on Mars in July 1997, in the most-watched space event ever. Lander sends back thousands of images, and Sojourner rover roams the surface, sending back 550 images.1998Japan launches Nozomi. Orbiter suffers glitch in December 1998, forcing circuitous course correction. Mission fails in 2003.1998U.S. launches Mars Climate Orbiter. Spacecraft destroyed while entering Martian orbit in September 1999.1999U.S. launches Mars Polar Lander. Contact lost with lander during descent in December 1999. Two microprobes "hitchhiking" on lander also fail.2001U.S. launches Mars Odyssey. Orbiter reaches Mars in October 2001 to detect water and shallow buried ice and study the environment. It can also act as a communications relay for future Mars landers.2003European Space Agency launches Mars Express. Orbiter and lander to arrive at Mars in December 2003.2003U.S. launches Mars Expedition Rovers. Spirit and Opportunity rovers due to land on Mars in January 2004.

As you can see, the US has launched 16 probes to Mars, 11 of which succeeded. The rest of the world has launched a total of 6, 4 of which have failed outright. We went to the moon (and even have General Motor cars sitting there in mint condition (not once but six times). It's not that we are the smartest or the best...not by a long shot. But there is one thing this "young country has plenty of", we don't quit. We experiment with space, we experiment with social diversity, we experiment with religious tolerance. We are curious about everything. We get bored easily, and need greater challenges.

And...there is money to be made in space (and beneath the seas) - lots of money. But more important, space has answers to questions, and we need to know those answers.

NASA was never meant to be the where for all, in American Space exploration, just the seeding. Look at the Chinese! They want to get out there. They are about to go for broke...America has a challenge :D again. China has visions of a moon base. American companies have thoughts of mining the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter...my my, all those noble metals plus nickel, iron and other "heavy" isotopes just sitting out there waiting to be harvested.

This is an exciting time.

If the privateer Mr. Rutan succeeded in his private space plane launch (Space Ship One), and continues to succeed over the next 6 months...the door is open to space and exploration, and profit.

Going into the heavens, is not quite the same as getting into heaven...but it is close.

v/r

Q
 
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