Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Moon News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Permanent Lunar Colony Possible in 10 Years
by Staff Writers
Moscow (Sputnik) Mar 15, 2016

To make a station habitable, technologies similar to the life support systems currently used on the International Space Station (ISS) can be implemented.

Living on the Moon may become a reality sooner than anticipated as astrophysicists have assessed that a permanent lunar base is logistically feasible for humans - and could be built in less than a decade.

Scientific papers released after a 2014 high-profile astronomical workshop suggest that a fully operational base could be constructed by 2022. The base would be a breakthrough for space exploration and would open the pathway for the commercial development of space.

A key point, according to the papers, is that a permanent lunar base does not have to financially ruin a state or corporation. Experts estimate that putting humans on the moon would cost less than $10 billion, a surprisingly low amount considering the expense of space exploration in the past. The Apollo space program, for instance, was completed for some $150 billion, adjusted for inflation to today's dollars.

Chris McKay, a NASA astrobiologist and one of the organizers of the workshop, explained that price cuts are now possible due to the rapid development of new technologies, ending highly specialized and expensive development in the logistics of space exploration.

"The big takeaway," McKay said as cited by Popular Science, "is that new technologies, some of which have nothing to do with space - like self-driving cars and waste-recycling toilets - are going to be incredibly useful in space, and are driving down the cost of a moon base to the point where it might be easy to do."

In its first phase, the exploration would be fully automated, the papers suggest. Robots, whimsically dubbed "MoonCats," based on the ubiquitous Bobcat earth excavators, could be used to prepare landing pads and habitat. Other robots could be engaged in setting up solar panels.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket could be used for carrying small payloads and small crews to the moon. Over time, missions would steadily grow, eventually turning a station into a larger settlement, with room for hundreds of people.

To make a station habitable, technologies similar to the life support systems currently used on the International Space Station (ISS) can be implemented.

"We have access to sufficient life support technologies to support implementation of the first human settlement on the Moon today," one paper reads, referring to ISS life support systems that recycle water and balance oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.

Some necessary space exploration technologies are yet to be implemented, including SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, a rocket designed to lift large payloads, like lunar habitats, into orbit.

Major Challenges
Lunar colonists face many challenges, including power, communications, resources and surface mobility. Picking the right site for a base is particularly key, as there are no significant energy supplies during the regular two-week intervals of no sunlight. Most of the moon has 15 day-long "nights," that would be difficult to survive relying only on power batteries that use currently available technology. A possible option, according to the papers, would be to locate the base on one of the lunar poles, which receive increased sunlight.

Of the two poles, the north is more appealing, as it has smoother terrain more suitable for construction. Experts point to the rim of Peary Crater on the North Pole of the moon as a top spot to set up the first lunar station.

Another point in favor of this site is the proximity of many dark craters thought to contain frozen water.

Moon or Mars
Despite the feasibility of moon exploration, NASA is currently focused on its Mars program. Scientists behind the papers say that NASA resources would more appropriately be used in setting up a moon colony.

Paul Spudis, a senior scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute at the Universities Space Research Association, earlier suggested that a lunar base, with "transport vehicles, staging nodes, deep-space habitats, power stations and fuel depots" could be a blueprint for future Mars colonization.

Moreover, he suggested, a lunar base could pay for itself in a foreseeable future, and, if it is economically required, show a profit.

"Some of the possible export options include: water from the permanently shadowed craters, precious metals from asteroid impact sites, and even [helium-3] that could fuel a pollution-free terrestrial civilization for many centuries," one of the papers offered. "As transportation to and from the Moon becomes more frequent and cheaper, the lunar tourism mark should begin to emerge and could become a significant source of income in the future."

Additionally such major powers as China and Russia are actively exploring the moon and the US must keep up with them so as to not lose technological momentum.

Psychological Barrier
Organizations, including those of government and business, are not yet psychologically prepared to bring the resources to bear for the realization of a lunar colony.

"The biggest obstacle is getting everybody together, and getting a vision of a low-cost base as the starting point. If people think it's going to kill the budget, that just stops the conversation and brainstorming. If we can change the mindset, that starts the conversation and gets people thinking about how to make it a reality," McKay said.

Source: Sputnik News

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Mars News and Information at
Lunar Dreams and more

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
China to use data relay satellite to explore dark side of moon
Beijing (XNA) Mar 04, 2016
China will launch a data relay satellite to ensure communication between Earth and the lunar probe during an expedition to the far side of the moon, Ye Peijian, chief scientist with China's lunar exploration program, said Tuesday. China in January announced plans to send the Chang'e-4 probe to the dark side of the moon around 2018. Due to gravitational forces, this part of the moon is not ... read more

Europe, Russia embark on search for life on Mars

NASA targets May 2018 launch of Mars InSight mission

NASA Announces Winning Concepts to Further its Journey to Mars

Close comet flyby threw Mars' magnetic field into chaos

New photos show 'magic island' on Saturn's moon

Tethys, Janus pose with Saturn's rings in new NASA photo

Titan Temperature Lag Maps and Animation

Ices and shadows above Saturn

Methane Snow on Pluto's Peaks

Versatile Instrument to Scout for Kuiper Belt Objects

The Frozen Canyons of Pluto's North Pole

The Frozen Canyons of Pluto's North Pole

China to use data relay satellite to explore dark side of moon

NASA May Return to Moon, But Only After Cutting Off ISS

Lunar love: When science meets artistry

New Lunar Exhibit Features NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Imagery

Building a better mouse trap, from the atoms up

From backyard pool chemical to nanomaterial

Nanoparticles on nanosteps

Thermal measurements with nanometer resolution

Russian eyes nuclear engine for fast space travel

US Air Force awards ULA and XCOR contract for upper stage propulsion

Development of all electric propulsion satellite Electra kick offs

NASA Prepares to Fly - First RS-25 Flight Engine Test Set for March

Sky is the limit for China's national strategy

China to Launch Over 100 Long March Rockets Within Five Years

China's ambition after space station

Aim Higher: China Plans to Send Rover to Mars in 2020

Sticky, stony and sizzling science launching to space station

Marshall supports 15 years of ISS science discoveries

International Space Station's '1-year crew' returns to Earth

Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko return to Earth after One-Year Mission

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement