April 11, 2001
2:29 PM   Subscribe

Future Moon Base Sited

the key points:
Shackleton crater (best image)
a resource of hydrogen, likely in the form of water ice, ammonia, and other materials
at the Moon’s south pole and is some 30 kilometers in size
peak of external light - more or less continual Sun. solar energy becomes usable all the time. in the permanently shadowed areas in that region, various astronomical instruments could be operated with telescopic optics kept cold and stable

posted by Sean Meade (15 comments total)

 
Hehehe, I've been watching to many FOX network specials. First thought through my head was, WOW... that'll be a crazy hoax to pull off with the Van Allen radiation belts and all. Too much TV.
posted by the_ill_gino at 2:35 PM on April 11, 2001


Are there any plans to actually build a moon base? Even in the most preliminary stages?
posted by anapestic at 2:40 PM on April 11, 2001


Whenever Congress gets wind that anyone in NASA is seriously spending money on sending humans to the Moon or Mars, they break out their zap ray and reduce them to a little pile of smoking dust.

Ostensibly, things like ISS assist NASA in developing data for long-term spaceflight and human exploration, but they can't even pretend that it's the case; it has to be justified every other way.
posted by dhartung at 2:56 PM on April 11, 2001


i got dibs on any and all space monkeys :)
posted by a11an at 2:59 PM on April 11, 2001


NASA should aim to do missions, where they can provide the world with info, on what resources are available out there in space, because until corporations get involved space exploration will remain at a slow pace.
posted by Zool at 4:19 PM on April 11, 2001


I volunteer to be a Lunar employee. Too much Heinlein in earlier years I guess. A good thing
posted by a3matrix at 4:52 PM on April 11, 2001


If we build a moon base, it must be called Alpha.
posted by Zool at 5:24 PM on April 11, 2001


ALL YOUR BASE... ahh, fuck it...
posted by Dirjy at 6:55 PM on April 11, 2001


How hard would it be to terraform the moon? To give it a breathable atmosphere? I would imagine that it'd be easier and cheaper than building complex life support systems, but I might be naive...
posted by Neb at 8:59 PM on April 11, 2001


Neb: Do you have any idea how much Moon there is, and how much air you'd need to cover it?

Terraforming is beyond our current technological capabilities. If we had the technology to do that, we could also repair the hole in our own ozone layer, fix global warming, and solve a host of other problems right here on our own ball o' dirt. We are so far from being able to terraform an entire planet, it's not even funny. Not that the moon is really capable of being terraformed; the moon's gravity isn't strong enough to keep your atmosphere in place, so you'd have to keep replenishing it, and you'd need six times as much of it to provide a breathable air pressure for humans, which just makes the problem that much worse.

Our current technological capabilities do not, however, preclude building a dome and pumping it full of air. That, we can do.
posted by kindall at 11:58 PM on April 11, 2001


Back in September of 1999, Hilton allegedly considered building a moon in space. I doubt anything came of it. I read somewhere once that the Japan government was planning on having a moon hotel by the year 2024, but that was some time ago and it probably has also not gone anywhere. At least in the short term, such facilities would be restricted to the very very rich, which means a small percentage of the world's population. Not a lot of profit involved. Until someone can find a way to make money at this, it's not gonna be very feasible. Back in 1998, NASA's Lunar Prospector project was literally a crash and burn. The objective was to create a manmade but automated and self-sufficient satelite to orbit the moon, so we could map the rest of the moon. Instead of orbiting, this $63 million project just plummetted into the moon's surface. Those who have money tend to hesitate investing in anything that has little to no return on the investment.

Understand that $65 million was just to send what was effectively an unmanned probe to the moon. A manned ship, like those of the Apollo missions, would cost several hundred million dollars more today.

Hundreds of years ago, the explorers to the New World boasted promises of returning to Europe with cool stuff. At first the promises brought benefactors, like Queen Isabella for Christopher Columbus, but the gold, spices and silks were few and far between. Eventually the cost for travelling the Atlantic was met or exceeded by what they brought back, but it was slow going. We're experiencing the same thing now with space exploration. Someone must come along to find a way to profit from such activity, or else we'll forever be trapped on this spinning rock. Had they never found a way to make travelling to the New World profitable, everyone would still be in Europe/Asia.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:15 AM on April 12, 2001


Had they never found a way to make travelling to the New World profitable, everyone would still be in Europe/Asia.

Except those silly Native Americans, but of course they probably would have just up and moved to tiny reservations in the southwestern US anyway.
posted by daveadams at 11:16 AM on April 12, 2001


Zach, you're smoking crack. The Lunar Prospector mission was successful; the crash was a controlled experiment, after exceeding its design life.

You may be thinking of the Air Force satellite Clementine, which completed its lunar flyby but lost attitude control before flying out past an asteroid. Even so, that craft accomplished the bulk of its objectives, which were demonstrating space-hardened electronics for future "Star Wars" applications. (The science was a bonus.)

Whether the destination is the Moon, or Mars, or asteroid mining, we'll need to lower launch costs, by a factor of 10 to 100. This seems enticingly possible but has so far eluded those who've tried.
posted by dhartung at 11:52 AM on April 12, 2001


At least in the short term, such facilities would be restricted to the very very rich, which means a small percentage of the world's population. Not a lot of profit involved.

But that's not a problem. Every new technology, even your pc and the internet here, started out as a bastion for the rich. Air travel was also until jets came along. I'm not sure about the lack of profit though, maybe not a lot of customers. And that hasn't hurt the yachting (or some other high-faluting) industry.

But we're not even that far...
Hundreds of years ago, the explorers to the New World boasted promises of returning to Europe with cool stuff. At first the promises brought benefactors, like Queen Isabella for Christopher Columbus, but the gold, spices and silks were few and far between.

We're still at that government funded stage that sends out a few brave souls to poke around.

Does anyone know if NASA plans to go to Mars before building a moon base? Seems like it would be better to do the moon base first to practice for a long stay on a hostile environment. Conquer space the same we fought the Japanese in WWII: island-by-island.
posted by redleaf at 3:47 PM on April 12, 2001


Epsilon Peak, aka Mountain of Eternal Light - geez, this is cool. Carl Koppeschar (spelling?) talked of the Mountain of Eternal Light a great deal as a tourist attraction in his absolutely wonderful "Moon Handbook" travel guide to Luna. Also talked of the south pole water ice (his idea was proven largely true after the book was written by Clementine and such). Now if only more of his dreams would become reality....

The Moon Museum in Mare Tranquilitatis, near Apollo 11's landing site,
the sightseeing monorail from the museum to Lunar Oxygen Mining Co. (Lunox) headquarters in ghost crater Lamont,
further ride on the monorail from Lamont to mining operations at Mt. Schneckenberg at the edge of Mare Vaporum, stopping along the way at the entrance to Ariadaeus Rille and the point where it meets Rima Ariadaeus I,
the Lunar Module flight from Schneckenberg to luxurious Mont Blanc Resort, with scenic views of the Apennines and Plato crater,
tours of nearby Alpine Valley,
the Plato Crater Recreation Area, with the Shepherd Driving Range and "solar sailing" karts into the crater floor,
the next stop at Moon City,
and so on, and so on...

Oh, how I wish this were reality.
posted by Spirit_VW at 4:27 PM on April 13, 2001


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