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posted by martyb on Thursday September 28 2017, @05:20PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the may-be-safer-but-not-much-of-a-view dept.

Between the lack of air and the constant bombardment of radiation and micrometeorites, humans will need some serious shelter before we can feel at home on the Moon or Mars. While inflating or 3D printing our houses could be one way to pack light for the long trip, the most efficient method might just be to move into the natural shelter that's already there. Now astronomers have systematically analyzed possible lava tubes on the Moon and Mars, and found they may be just what Red Planet realtors are looking for.

Living underground is the easiest way to escape the harsh conditions of the lunar or Martian surface, and scientists have already found a few candidates. NASA has found hundreds of deep pits in the pock-marked rock of the Moon that could make good hidey-holes from the elements, and there's evidence of sprawling networks of lava tubes below the surface.

Don't they realize this has been proven to be a bad idea?


Original Submission

Related Stories

NASA and Roscosmos Sign Joint Statement on the Development of a Lunar Space Station 14 comments

The U.S. and Russia will work together to develop a space station orbiting the Moon. Canada, Japan, and the ESA have also expressed interest in the project:

At this year's International Astronautical Congress, NASA and Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, signed a joint statement expressing their intent to work collaboratively toward the development of a space station further out from Earth, orbiting the Moon, as a staging point for both lunar surface exploration and deeper space science.

This is part of NASA's expressed desire to explore and develop its so-called "deep space gateway" concept, which it intends to be a strategic base from which to expand the range and capabilities of human space exploration. NASA wants to get humans out into space beyond the Moon, in other words, and the gateway concept would establish an orbital space station in the vicinity of the Moon to help make this a more practical possibility.

Let's hope that the station, if built, becomes a refueling station that can store and distribute fuel produced on the Moon.

Deep Space Gateway. Also at The Guardian.

Previously: NASA Eyeing Mini Space Station in Lunar Orbit as Stepping Stone to Mars

Related: Moon Base Could Cost Just $10 Billion Due to New Technologies
ESA Expert Envisions "Moon Village" by 2030-2050
Scientists Scout Sub-Surface Settlement Sites on the Moon and Mars


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @06:15PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @06:15PM (#574467)

    Where is the flag? Show me a picture of the flag.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @06:32PM (12 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @06:32PM (#574473)

    Living underground is the easiest way to escape the harsh conditions of the lunar or Martian surface

    Doesn't help escaping the lower gravity though. Is there really enough gravity for long term settlers? Anyone doing any science to figure this out before we spend billions or even trillions going down this path?

    Or is it not actually about science and real progress but riding the gravy train?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @06:58PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @06:58PM (#574484)

      Everything is about riding the gravy train.

      So, before you can talk about "real" progress, you have to define what that means. What do you mean by "real" progress.

      For instance, Elon Musk defines "real" progress as backing up Humanity in way that is independent of the Earth system. That's why his gravy train runs to Mars, and not to the Moon.

      Where does your gravy train run?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 29 2017, @07:17AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 29 2017, @07:17AM (#574705)
        Real progress for humanity would be taking effective steps towards delaying extinction for as long as possible while remaining "healthy and thriving" as a society (I don't consider as real progress paths where everyone becomes corpsicles).

        Spending money on manned missions to Mars and bases on Mars before we even know whether Mars gravity is good enough is a waste of limited resources and time and thus not progress.

        Space stations with artificial gravity and radiation shielding would be the first step. Once you have developed that tech it increases the possibilities of people surviving elsewhere in the Solar System, or even other systems. There wouldn't actually be a need for bases on Mars.

        You are going to need the radiation shielding tech on Mars and Moon anyway.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @07:02PM (8 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @07:02PM (#574487)

      what is this obsession with "low gravity"?
      people routinely live for months in zero gravity.
      they've been doing it for more than thirty years.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @07:07PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @07:07PM (#574492)

        Besides the fact their health suffers, it should be noted that months are neither years nor lifetimes.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by takyon on Thursday September 28 2017, @08:26PM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Thursday September 28 2017, @08:26PM (#574517) Journal

          Martian/lunar gravity is just a completely different category than microgravity. The disadvantages related to blood flow shouldn't appear on the Moon because at least your blood will be pulled down properly.

          The Moon is close enough that it should be possible to study the health effects of lunar gravity without needing to abandon astronauts due to cost and time. If someone has serious health issues, you can get them to an Earth hospital much sooner than you could from Mars.

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          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 29 2017, @06:57AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 29 2017, @06:57AM (#574703)

            The disadvantages related to blood flow shouldn't appear on the Moon because at least your blood will be pulled down properly.

            Properly? What makes you so sure? Any actual scientific research backing up your claims? Probably not. That's my point. Why spend billions on that when you can do stuff the proper scientific way?

            The Moon is close enough that it should be possible to study the health effects of lunar gravity

            Low earth orbit is much closer. You can study the health effects of lunar gravity in low earth orbit with a suitable space station. Can do the initial studies on mice with stuff like the ISS's cancelled centrifuge module, then follow up with large studies using tethers and counterweights.

            There's really little advantage to building a station on the Moon at this point. A Moon station will need most of the space station stuff anyway (shielding, pressurization etc). So it's cheaper to put such a space station in LEO to figure the gravity stuff out first before investing in the Moon stuff. Getting people back from the Moon's gravity well is more difficult and expensive than getting people back from a space station.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @07:44PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @07:44PM (#574506)

        And when they return to earth, they are carried away in stretchers.
        Haven't you seen it?

      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday September 28 2017, @08:45PM (3 children)

        by HiThere (866) on Thursday September 28 2017, @08:45PM (#574526) Journal

        It is not clear that it's possible to grow up in zero gravity.

        OTOH, in a large enough environment its a problem that just isn't there. Spin the habitat.

        Now the moon and Mars are only lower gravity, not missing gravity. Spinning would be more difficult, but less likely to be needed. The moon has about 1/6G of gravity, so stress on the bones and joints is present, just reduced. Mars is about 40% of standard Earth gravity, so one might expect that this would be a net benefit rather than a problem. (There might well be a problem is you attempted to return to Earth, however, but that's a separate matter.)

        Radiation is a real problem that needs to be addressed. So are micro-meteoroids...though I don't know how severe. It might be soluble by just designing all rooms with seal-able doors and relatively small. But radiation is best addressed by putting a layer of rock between you and the radiation. Preferable rock containing lots of lead, but most rock would work, you'd just need a bit more. I also think is should be possible to build a magnetic shield that was low in energy cost for additional protection, but that would only handle charged particles...and "should be possible" doesn't mean that we currently know how to do it.

        Personally, I still think that a planet is not a good place to host a civilization, it's only the place where you need to start. But that *is* assuming that we can solve lots of problems that haven't yet been really solved. However, gravity isn't one of them. It's currently a problem because everything we've put up so far it tiny. Even something as large as a high school gym wouldn't have any problem holding a spinning wheel for people to live on. And since you probably don't need a full G that makes the problem even easier.

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        • (Score: 3, Informative) by FatPhil on Thursday September 28 2017, @10:34PM (2 children)

          by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Thursday September 28 2017, @10:34PM (#574563) Homepage
          > Even something as large as a high school gym wouldn't have any problem holding a spinning wheel for people to live on.

          An absurd statement, unless your high school gyms are hundreds of meters across.

          > And since you probably don't need a full G that makes the problem even easier.

          Easier, but still not easy, because the issue with small spinning things is not the G value but (a) the difference between G values across the length of the body, and that increases hyperbolically with the radius; and (b) the coriolis effect noticed when of trying to move "forwards" vs. "backwards", if there's too much disparity, your inner ear cannot know if you're upright or not when moving, human motion v/r must be small compared to station omega, so again that increases hyperbolically at small r.
          --
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          • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Friday September 29 2017, @06:00AM (1 child)

            by HiThere (866) on Friday September 29 2017, @06:00AM (#574690) Journal

            I wasn't thinking of it being the shape of a high school gym. Take the same volume and convert it into a wheel a couple of meters wide and you get a pretty large wheel. But I may have been a bit over-enthusiastic. Not much, I don't think. Of course, a couple of meters wide is still pretty claustrophobic for me.

            To my mind a high school gym is about the floor area of two basket ball courts, plus a bit for space in between them, bleachers, etc. And is about (guess) 10 meters tall. A basket ball court is 28.7 by 15.2 m, so say the floor area is 40 m X 40 m X 10 m (est) is about 16,000 m^3. Say the wheel is 4m wide, that means the area of the cross-section through the axis would be 4,000 m. This give a radius of about 63 m. That ought to be pretty reasonable. And I didn't even include enough space for the bleachers. Of course if you were really doing it you wouldn't be using a disk anyway, but rather a toroid, so the volume would give you even more space, but you'd want the ceilings to be over 2 m high, so you wouldn't gain that much.

            N.B.: I wasn't talking about this as suitable for living in long term, but rather a sort of minimal construct that would let you generate gravity while in orbit. But looking at it I think people would probably have more space than they do on the ISS.

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            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 29 2017, @06:44AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 29 2017, @06:44AM (#574702)
              The minimal construct would be a small capsule some long tethers/cables (60m) and a counterweight at the other end.

              There's no need to build those huge expensive space stations people use as strawman arguments against "artificial gravity".
    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @09:47PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @09:47PM (#574548)

      Don't worry about their health, they'll get plenty of exercise keeping the Mynocks from chewing up the power cables!

  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday September 28 2017, @06:37PM (3 children)

    by bob_super (1357) on Thursday September 28 2017, @06:37PM (#574476)

    Enjoy the ride, dear astronauts, because as soon as you land, you're stuck in a dusty cavern with 14-days nights and terrible internet latency.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Snow on Thursday September 28 2017, @06:49PM (1 child)

      by Snow (1601) on Thursday September 28 2017, @06:49PM (#574478) Journal

      Yea, but think how many matches you could get on Tinder with that sweet moon selfie.

      I see your machu picchu and raise you the moon. Check. Mate.

      • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday September 28 2017, @07:38PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Thursday September 28 2017, @07:38PM (#574502)

        Women often find it painful to have sex on sandy beaches, so you may not get laid much in Moon dust environments [wikipedia.org].

    • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @07:00PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @07:00PM (#574485)

      Years of living in your mothers' basements have prepared you for the ordeal.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @07:41PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @07:41PM (#574504)

    Somehow, I don't think this is the answer to affordable housing.
    I mean sure, it checks the box for requisite bleakness, but the jobs are STILL nowhere closeby.

  • (Score: 2) by fishybell on Thursday September 28 2017, @08:27PM (1 child)

    by fishybell (3156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 28 2017, @08:27PM (#574518)

    Well, Heinlein [wikipedia.org] anyway.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @09:35PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @09:35PM (#574544)

      We could sure use Mike right now!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @08:35PM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @08:35PM (#574521)

    Moombase Alpha and Mars has women.

    • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Thursday September 28 2017, @09:11PM (4 children)

      by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 28 2017, @09:11PM (#574530) Journal

      I looove women's moomaries!
      (Which is why I'm sad that Hoom Hefner died.)

      ;)

      --
      --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
      • (Score: 3, Funny) by takyon on Thursday September 28 2017, @09:23PM (3 children)

        by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Thursday September 28 2017, @09:23PM (#574538) Journal

        Hoom Heifer.

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        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @10:04PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28 2017, @10:04PM (#574553)

          Sorry about the misspelled Moonbase Alpha. I had too many M's in my head from todays news.

          • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Friday September 29 2017, @12:25AM (1 child)

            by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Friday September 29 2017, @12:25AM (#574597) Journal

            Mmmmm....today's news....mmmmm....

            XD

            Mmmmm...Space 1999.....
            Anyone remember Space 1999? Moonbase Alpha before it became a video game?

            --
            --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 29 2017, @12:34AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 29 2017, @12:34AM (#574600)

              Mmmmm...Space 1999.....
              Anyone remember Space 1999? Moonbase Alpha before it became a video game?

              Just imagine Martin Landau doing Barbara Bain doggy style.

              Now you'll never get that image out of your head! HA HA!

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Thursday September 28 2017, @10:44PM

      by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Thursday September 28 2017, @10:44PM (#574569) Homepage
      I don't know if I'd call Moombinmama a female any more than Moombinpapa being male. OK, the moombins do appear to have 2 genders, but I don't think they're completely compatible with the two we have here on earth.

      (Ooooh, what a Stinky little trap I just set..., and my apologies to Tove Jambsson)
      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
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