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posted by janrinok on Tuesday November 22, @02:41PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-just-for-bacteria dept.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/63694132

So according to NASA humans could be living on the moon, for long periods of time, before the end of the decade. So from more or less nothing to (pre-) colonization in about seven (or eight) years then. At least the moon is closer then Mars, but you are probably still borked if something goes wrong.

"We're going to be sending people down to the surface and they're going to be living on that surface and doing science," Mr Hu said.

"It's really going to be very important for us to learn a little bit beyond our Earth's orbit and then do a big step when we go to Mars.

"And the Artemis missions enable us to have a sustainable platform and transportation system that allows us to learn how to operate in that deep space environment."

Big question then is -- if asked (or given the opportunity) would you go?


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Immerman on Friday December 02, @08:08PM

    by Immerman (3985) on Friday December 02, @08:08PM (#1280961)

    > you are probably still borked if something goes wrong.

    I've seen it repeatedly, and I really don't get where this sentiment is coming from. On Mars, yeah, if anything goes wrong beyond your ability to deal with it locally, any help between months and years away. Even if you have a ship fully fueled and waiting to take you home, odds are you have to wait about a year before you can launch, and then another few months to get back to Earth. Even getting advice from Earth is likely to have a large portion of an hour round-trip lag, so you won't be able to have, e.g. medical experts on Earth talking the local doctors through an unusual operation.

    On the Moon though, Earth is just a few days away, and that emergency return rocket is all but certain to be fueled and waiting. About the only problem that could possibly really bork you is a medical emergency beyond the ability of your on-sight doctor and medical facilities to deal with, even with real-time advice from a full team on Earth. And that's a pretty rare scenaro, especially assuming everyone has been screened for likely health problems ahead of time.

    Worst case scenario, if an asteroid impact vaporized your habitat and all your supplies, you just climb into the escape rocket and return to Earth. No big deal. It's near enough that you don't even NEED water, without it you'll be severely dehydrated by the time you get back to Earth, but will almost certainly survive.

    I'd absolutely go to the moon for a mission of less than a year, where do I sign? Beyond that I'd have to have a long think on the potential long-term health cost I'd have to pay from living in low gravity.

    Compare that to Mars or an asteroid, where my answer would almost certainly be no way in hell (at least for the immediate future). There you're talking high risk of death and near-certainty of severe long term health problems just from the trip, even if nothing goes wrong.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 02, @08:11PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 02, @08:11PM (#1280962)

    Please stop all the giddy talk of moon bases on Mars etc. etc. The heady fumes of narcissist billionaire bullshit are giving me a headache.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, @02:09AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 03, @02:09AM (#1280978)

    I don't believe a permanent base makes sense on the Moon or Mars until we've built it remotely first. The real game-changer would be a machine that could excavate remotely on the Moon or better yet, excavate *and* create building materials from raw materials. A fully finished base is not needed, but we should be able to construct some kind of chamber and test it for structural integrity before occupation. Then we can transport materials (some kind of advanced polymer maybe?) that could be used to line such chambers, and the other components needed to finish it out and make it habitable. Eventually we should have full fledged industry there--from mining to finished products, but not right away.

    In other words, I think occupation of another celestial body doesn't work well until we scale it. Think BIG. Think pre-staging as much as possible, as many bases as you can so one meteor doesn't kill the entire party, etc.

    It can't be done on a 10 year timetable, but if we wait 20 or even 30 years we'll be setting up a permanent sustainable settlement that might even be a profit center instead of a cost center. You can't fight the laws of economics. If this thing doesn't find a way to turn a profit, it'll be very slow to take off and we might just give up and have to start all over again with a better plan.

    Yes, Antarctic bases run off government funds but that's a much easier problem.

    • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Saturday December 03, @10:28AM (1 child)

      by PiMuNu (3823) on Saturday December 03, @10:28AM (#1281003)

      > a profit center instead of a cost cente

      what do you return to earth to make it profitable?

      • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Saturday December 03, @01:55PM

        by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 03, @01:55PM (#1281013) Journal

        Eventually, a moon colony may be quite valuable as a shield and refuge from political oppression. Laws are far from perfect. For instance, intellectual property law is highly flawed. There's of course also the idea that other worlds could store knowledge, including genetic knowledge, in case End Times mad folk on Earth ever gain the power to start a nuclear war or other civilization killing calamity. In the days leading up to such an event, copyright would be the least of our concerns in the frantic scramble to copy as much as possible before it is all destroyed. Whether even the Moon would be safe from that is hard to say.

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