Imagine living on the Moon. You’d have the best view of Earth, enjoy bouncing around in zero gravity and living your life as an astronaut explorer.
Ah, doesn’t that sound nice! Except living on the Moon won’t be like this at all. So what would it be like to actually live on the Moon?
Which country would be first? And why would moondust be your biggest problem?
Let’s make this clear, just like America did in 1969, humans will land on the Moon again in the next decade. Only this time it’s expected to be more permanent.
What’s less clear is exactly which country will be the first to land and establish a base. China, the USA, Russia, and India are all making strong efforts to get there.
But there are also private companies including Space X and Blue Origin, that have a lot more money to spend on going to the Moon. But wait, why exactly are these companies doing this in the first place?
Apart from exploring the galaxy and breaking new ground, there’s another huge reason these groups all want to be the first to create a base on the Moon. And that reason is money.
The Moon is chock-full of different resources. It has gold, silver, and titanium in it. The idea here is to mine these precious resources and send them back to Earth.
Another resource the Moon has is helium-3. It’s incredibly rare here on Earth, but not on the Moon. That’s because the Moon doesn’t have an atmosphere, and helium-3 comes from the Sun’s radiation.
Over billions of years, the Moon has been absorbing this chemical and lucky for us, it can be used for energy. Helium-3 is so powerful that just 100 kilograms (220 lbs) of it could power the city of Dallas, Texas for an entire year.
Oh, and it’s also worth a cool $40,000 for just 28 grams (1 ounce) of the stuff. With these resources holding incredible value, it’s no secret these countries and companies want to be the first to establish a base.
But even if they do, they won’t really own it. Back in 1967, the United Nations decided that no one can really own space. This has the potential to cause huge tensions between various nations, possibly leading to war.
But enough about all that drama. You’re on the Moon!
So, how exactly are you going to live here? Assuming we get to the Moon in one piece, which is already an incredibly difficult task on its own, you’ll then have to worry about establishing a base.
Experts suggest we live on the south pole, as it gets the most consistent amount of sunlight. There are also massive fields of ice that we’ll be able to harvest. Some other places on the Moon don’t get any sunlight
for nearly a month at a time.
Luckily you’ll have robots to help you establish a base. There are many different ways they’ll be able to help.
One includes using Moon soil to construct bricks and configuring them in a dome-like fashion. Sort of like a moongloo.
This would make traveling to the Moon a lot cheaper as we wouldn’t have to bring everything from Earth to make our base.
But don’t expect this base to be glamorous. It’ll most likely be several meters underground to protect you from the Sun’s radiation.
And as for what you’ll eat? Well it’ll be your standard dry astronaut food. The good news is that you should be able to grow some carrots and tomatoes; a 2014 Dutch study found that it’s possible using soil on the Moon. And what would you drink?
Unfortunately, quite a lot of it will be your recycled pee as drinkable water won’t be available on the Moon, and it would be too heavy to ship there. Another thing you’ll need to seriously worry about is moondust.
This magnetic dust gets everywhere. It’ll get on your suit and even on your skin. Previous astronauts have had allergic reactions to it, it’s also slightly sharp, so accidentally swallowing any would be a huge problem.
But it’s not just humans who need to worry about moondust. It can get into machines as well, causing them to overheat.
Before we settle on the Moon, this is one massive problem we’ll need to solve. All these issues beg the question, would you ever really want to be the first to settle on the Moon?
You’d most likely spend your time mining and just surviving, with little time to run around in low gravity. And besides, we all know going here is really just our first baby step to get to Mars. So maybe you should just wait for that.
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