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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: 5, Insightful) by janrinok on Tuesday November 22, @03:28PM (28 children)

    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 22, @03:28PM (#1281046) Journal

    What will be the attraction of going the the Moon in the foreseeable future? Will it be a more comfortable life there? Will we escape the 'harsh' environment of Earth? Will there be more job opportunities, better healthcare, the chance to build a comfortable home, better education? Will there be a better work/life balance with significant social activities, culture, places to visit?

    Or is it simply so that one could say 'I have been to the Moon'? Most people haven't even seen 1% of earth yet. It is not some trivial bus journey that we are talking about, where you can return almost immediately if you don't like it.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bradley13 on Tuesday November 22, @03:39PM (6 children)

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 22, @03:39PM (#1281049) Homepage Journal

    Long term, humanity can and should expand. Earth is great, but why not live on other rocks in the solar system? If people can live in shoe-box apartments, they can live in space habitats just as (un-)comfortably

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday November 22, @03:45PM (4 children)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 22, @03:45PM (#1281052) Journal

      I'll be all for it when those places are ready for us. You can live there, but can your family get food, be educated, get the medical treatment that they need? All by the end of the decade. It's been 50 years since we first went there. We have planted a flag. Perhaps we should all spend our free time dancing round it?

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, @04:00PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, @04:00PM (#1281055)

        The youth are becoming increasingly isolated, not marrying, not having kids. Just train incels to become geologists and miners, and send they asses to the Moon. They will eat cheap bug paste and get entertainment and education online with 1.4 second latency. For health care they can get a telemedicine checkup over Zoom or pay for the 3 day trip back to Earth.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, @08:20PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, @08:20PM (#1281139)

        It's a long way from this now, but as I get older I would appreciate lower gravity. More time for slower reflexes, less strain on old joints. And by the time people can retire to the Moon I expect we will have a pill that triggers the same effect as impact and gravity on bone density, so that shouldn't be a problem.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, @06:56AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, @06:56AM (#1281228)
        Many years ago when it first became possible to pay for a trip to the ISS, I proposed that there should be a reality TV show: "Vote Them Off The Planet" with various options like 1 way, return trip and destinations like the ISS(or Moon in this case.

        And various candidates like: Biden, Trump, Hillary Clinton, Elon Musk, Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, Kim Kardashian, etc.

        They need to get enough votes and if they win the 1 way they have the option of paying for their return trip, then they can go (assuming they are fit enough)...

        Otherwise all voters get is potentially just a funny call/interview... "Hi X, you've just been voted off the planet in the 1 way category; what is your response to that?"
      • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Friday November 25, @01:46AM

        by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Friday November 25, @01:46AM (#1281532)

        I'll be all for it when those places are ready for us. You can live there, but ...

        ... will it have high speed internet? People will be living in isolation, with little in the way of activities available that are not related to work. In a 1/6 G environment everyone, no matter the stress and fatigue they endure, will be able to erm, stand at attention. A diversion will be needed that likely, for most people on the moon, only the internet might be capable of providing.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, @05:21PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, @05:21PM (#1281081)

      Face it, it's a vanity project.

      We're all still soaking in the narcissism of Kings and emperors, like Putin's ridiculous nostalgia for an era of greatness that never really existed. We, as a species, are like the delusional caterpillar with a parasitic fungus, that climbs to the top of a blade of grass - attracted by the moonlight - and releases pheromones that attract bugs to try to mate with it... in order to spread the fungus spores. The solution is not to climb a higher blade of grass, but to smoke it ;) Or see it for what it is and step out of the delusion. Gonna take a while.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, @03:40PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, @03:40PM (#1281051)

    Resources?

    People go to all sorts of inhospitable places in the hopes of becoming rich. Nobody went to Alaska (for example) because of the weather.

    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday November 22, @03:48PM (3 children)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 22, @03:48PM (#1281053) Journal

      I agree with somebody going there - the question was "if asked (or given the opportunity) would you go?" Why would I go? Do you want me to take a spade and start my own mine?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, @07:31PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, @07:31PM (#1281125)

        Are you not sufficiently motivated by being called "hardcore" by a cocaine sniffing douchebag?

        • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday November 22, @08:00PM (1 child)

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 22, @08:00PM (#1281132) Journal
          Perhaps surprisingly - I am not...
          • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Tuesday November 22, @08:22PM

            by deimtee (3272) on Tuesday November 22, @08:22PM (#1281140) Journal

            You Hardcore.

            --
            No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by theluggage on Tuesday November 22, @04:49PM (7 children)

    by theluggage (1797) on Tuesday November 22, @04:49PM (#1281069)

    What will be the attraction of going the the Moon in the foreseeable future?

    Initially, ask the people currently living on Antarctica. Slightly longer term, if there really are resources worth extracting that can't be done by robots, ask people currently living for months on oil platforms in the middle of the ocean.

    I think we're a long, long way from displacing significant portions of the population to colonies in the solar system in search of a nicer place to live - there's plenty of space on Earth to build sustainable habitats in the deserts or floating on the oceans more easily than in space if we can get the energy and resources.

    We just need to keep Bruce Willis and his dirty vest on standby to deal with any inconveniently large comets (we ought to be able to work out better ways of doing that - and we're less vulnerable to comets, solar flares etc. here than on Mars or the Moon). Anything short of total wipe out still leaves it easier to survive on Earth than on a rock - and we're a very long way from off-planet colonies that can survive log-term without periodic goodie bags from Earth.

     

    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Tuesday November 22, @05:19PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday November 22, @05:19PM (#1281080)

      We just need to keep Bruce Willis and his dirty vest on standby to deal with any inconveniently large comets (we ought to be able to work out better ways of doing that

      NASA is already working on that problem [nasa.gov].

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Tuesday November 22, @05:32PM (5 children)

      I think we're a long, long way from displacing significant portions of the population to colonies in the solar system in search of a nicer place to live - there's plenty of space on Earth to build sustainable habitats in the deserts or floating on the oceans more easily than in space if we can get the energy and resources.

      I sure hope so, as we will never be "displacing significant portions of the population to colonies in the solar system".

      All you have to do is look at birth rates [macrotrends.net] and you'll realize that we'd need several times the global resources (energy, materials, etc.) available just to send enough people into space to keep the population constant.

      As such, while I think colonizing space is a wonderful idea that should be pursued vigorously, we will still need to support a large population here on Earth pretty much forever. Well, at least for the next billion and a half years or so, at which point the earth will be uninhabitable [daytondailynews.com].

      --
      No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Immerman on Tuesday November 22, @06:08PM (1 child)

        by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday November 22, @06:08PM (#1281107)

        Not displacing, certainly - but eventually it's very possible that most humans will be born somewhere other than Earth in the first place. There is after all vastly more space and resources elsewhere. And the more industrial load we can move off Earth (and the more we can turn the eyes of the profiteers towards space), the easier it will be to preserve the only natural oasis of life we know of.

        • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Tuesday November 22, @07:33PM

          Not displacing, certainly - but eventually it's very possible that most humans will be born somewhere other than Earth in the first place. There is after all vastly more space and resources elsewhere. And the more industrial load we can move off Earth (and the more we can turn the eyes of the profiteers towards space), the easier it will be to preserve the only natural oasis of life we know of.

          Absolutely. Assuming technology to keep people alive for the long term in non-Earth environments is feasible at some point in the future -- and is reproducible without significant resources (energy, water, metals, etc.) from Earth, I'd expect the human population off Earth would exceed the population on Earth within a few centuries or so as we build new habitats and fill them up with people.

          I fully agree about the necessity of using the Earth's resources wisely, which is why I pointed out that we're never going to move a significant fraction of the population of Earth off-planet. Especially since, if we don't husband our resources and environment carefully, we won't be around to die when the oceans evaporate in a billion years or so.

          The billions who will still be on Earth in this hypothetical future will still need to exploit the Earth's resources, just as we'd need to do so elsewhere with local resources. But it seems likely that the technologies which enable living off-Earth will aid us in being less destructive when so doing.

          --
          No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 23, @02:45PM (2 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 23, @02:45PM (#1281277) Journal
        I see these lines in your link:

        The current birth rate for World in 2022 is 17.668 births per 1000 people, a 1.15% decline from 2021.
        The birth rate for World in 2021 was 17.873 births per 1000 people, a 1.13% decline from 2020.
        The birth rate for World in 2020 was 18.077 births per 1000 people, a 1.12% decline from 2019.
        The birth rate for World in 2019 was 18.282 births per 1000 people, a 1.1% decline from 2018.

        The world is still on track to see negative population growth by 2100 or so. But it's just not that many people in the first place. For example, there are a number of major airports which move more people than the increase in population. I think we can achieve that rate of emmigration.

        • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Saturday November 26, @09:35PM (1 child)

          The world is still on track to see negative population growth by 2100 or so. But it's just not that many people in the first place. For example, there are a number of major airports which move more people than the increase in population. I think we can achieve that rate of emmigration.

          And where, exactly would we launch these people from? And once they're in space, do we just throw them out of an airlock and say "you're on your own!" or will we need to provide food, water, metal, plastics, etc. for the vessels that take them to their eventual destination, wherever that might be -- and would that destination be wholly self-sufficient? How would/could that work?

          Even if we could answer those questions, how many people/how much of Earth's resources would be required to launch enough people just to maintain the population?

          Right now the population is ~8 billion and there are ~17 births/1000. That's 136,000,000 births per year. At current levels, that would require launching ~370,000 people into space (and once there, where would they go?) every day to maintain the current population.

          But even if we agree to kill 2,000,000,000 people and reduce the birth rate to 5/1000, that's still 30,000,000 people per year, so we'd need to launch ~80,000 people per day just to keep the population stable.

          The amount of resources required for this likely (as I mentioned) exceeds several times the total economic/resource output of the planet.

          So no. We'll never export any significant portion of Earth's population off-planet -- even if (unlikely) you could convince that many people to go. Shall we force them onto rockets/space elevator/whatever at gunpoint?

          I'm not saying we shouldn't colonize space. In fact, we absolutely should, and as soon as possible too. But space colonization won't address population issues here on Earth.

          --
          No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday November 27, @02:49AM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 27, @02:49AM (#1281862) Journal

            And where, exactly would we launch these people from? And once they're in space, do we just throw them out of an airlock and say "you're on your own!" or will we need to provide food, water, metal, plastics, etc. for the vessels that take them to their eventual destination, wherever that might be -- and would that destination be wholly self-sufficient? How would/could that work?

            Anywhere within 45 degrees of the equator. That's most of the Earth. And food, water, metal, etc are just mass. We've figured out how to launch mass.

            Even if we could answer those questions, how many people/how much of Earth's resources would be required to launch enough people just to maintain the population?

            Not much. Earth has a lot of resources and there aren't that many people even if we launched all 8 billion every year. And launching enough people "just to maintain the population" becomes trivial when there's negative population growth.

            Right now the population is ~8 billion and there are ~17 births/1000. That's 136,000,000 births per year. At current levels, that would require launching ~370,000 people into space (and once there, where would they go?) every day to maintain the current population.

            And a large number of deaths too (~8/1000). So we're now down to ~70,000,000 people a year - airport scale as I already noted.

            But even if we agree to kill 2,000,000,000 people

            This wouldn't be a helpless too many people diatribe without some murder/death/kill. It's unnecessary. We can just launch more people, if the rate of putting people in space is too low.

            I'm not saying we shouldn't colonize space. In fact, we absolutely should, and as soon as possible too. But space colonization won't address population issues here on Earth.

            Except, of course, if it does. We'll just have to see what sort of infrastructure actually gets created.

  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by DannyB on Tuesday November 22, @05:04PM (2 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 22, @05:04PM (#1281073) Journal

    What will be the attraction of going the the Moon in the foreseeable future?

    So we can plant flags and steak our claim with wooden steaks in the ground instead of just footprints. Before the Chinese do. Follow the water. And wells. A well. Plant well done stakes around the water.

    Then of course, we have to be able to defend our claims and God given lunar rights and protect the steak holders' claim. And American icons like McDonalds. Not the taco trucks that Trump promised we would get if Hillary won.

    --
    I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 23, @02:46PM (1 child)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 23, @02:46PM (#1281278) Journal
      I hope at least that we use vat-grown steaks to steak.
      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday November 23, @06:10PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 23, @06:10PM (#1281303) Journal

        Only if the vat-grown steaks are free range.

        --
        I get constant rejection even though the compiler is supposed to accept constants.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Immerman on Tuesday November 22, @06:26PM (3 children)

    by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday November 22, @06:26PM (#1281115)

    >What will be the attraction of going the the Moon in the foreseeable future?
    - Pure research - the moon is a vast treasure trove of knowledge about the early solar system and Earth's development
    - Applied research - it's an excellent nearby testbed for the technologies that will be needed to profitably extract rare and valuable materials from the asteroid belt.
    - Industrial infrastructure to support further development in space - Lunar regolith is over 40% oxygen by mass (a.k.a. rocket fuel - 80% of Starship's propellant mass is O2), and another 20% easily extractable aluminum and iron (the "by catch" from extracting the easiest oxygen)

    Consider that right now everything used in space has to be launched by rocket from Earth at enormous expense. Even if Starship lives up to the loftiest long-term goals for it, it will still be orders of magnitude more expensive than shipping stuff around Earth.

    From the moon though - a full-scale Spinlaunch system could launch Lunar supplies into Earth orbit (say, the L4 and L5 points?) for less than 1kWh/kg of electricity, plus inefficiencies. That's orders of magnitude cheaper than you can ship supplies around on Earth. And a somewhat more powerful system could launch supplies around the solar system - Venus and Mars wouldn't even need all that much more oomph than to reach Earth orbit. And a linear accelerator could even launch passengers between planets without needing rockets until they arrived, though that's a much larger project than a Spinlaunch facility.

    That's the sort of thing that makes it possible to build cheap space hotels and cyclers insulated from radiation and micro-meteors by a meter or three of concrete.

    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday November 22, @06:54PM (2 children)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 22, @06:54PM (#1281118) Journal

      I am 70 years old. When it is ready for people - not just astronauts, not just explorers, not just scientists, - then ask me again, But it will not be in this decade or, I'll wager, the one after that either.

      I support all the exploration that we are doing - but that is not the question that was posed. Would I go? No, why the hell would I. Should all the others go - of course, it is the only way forward. But, would I go - no, not now.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, @07:34PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 22, @07:34PM (#1281127)

        > it is the only way forward

        BZZZT. Bullshit. If you can't think of ONE other delusional sci fi fantasy, I pity your decrepit imagination.

        • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Thursday November 24, @07:47AM

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Thursday November 24, @07:47AM (#1281424) Journal

          I can think of many - they are just irrelevant to an intelligent conversation at this point.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Gaaark on Tuesday November 22, @10:02PM

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 22, @10:02PM (#1281160) Journal

    Welp, sign ME up, but only if I can stay.
    I want to go and be there and troubleshoot and advise and yes, probably die.

    Go for a vacation, sure, but I like visiting/staying places rather than doing the tourist thing of see quickly and leave.

    You can put me on the Enterprise ANYTIME, though!

    --
    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---