How long would it take us to turn our natural satellite into a habitable place? How would this Earth-like Moon look? Would this even be possible?
Wondering why we chose the Moon and not Mars? With water-ice buried beneath it’s surface, the red planet seems to be the best candidate to serve as our second Earth. But with zero experience of terraforming, we might consider colonizing our natural satellite first.
It gets twice as much sunlight as Mars, and it’s just a three-day trip from us. In short, it would take us less time and money to construct a decent “Earth” on our Moon. So, how exactly do we engineer a habitable planet?
Just to be clear – we are not talking about building a permanent Moon base. We’d go nuts and actually transform the Moon into Earth, just a smaller one. For starters, we’d need to build an atmosphere.
And here’s the fun part. To do that, we’d need to bombard our Moon with a hundred water-ice comets. Iceteroids. We’d find them flying all around the Earth. These comets would crush into Moon’s surface. They’d fill the Moon’s plains with water, and disperse carbon dioxide along with water vapor and a little bit of ammonia and methane.
All these gases would gather near the surface creating an atmosphere. The newly formed seas would reflect much more sunlight, making the Moon appear 5 times brighter if observed from Earth. Those iceteroids would also give Moon a momentum – they’d make our satellite spin close to an Earth-like cycle.
The more comets we batter into the Moon, the faster it would rotate. A lunar day would drop down from incredible 28 earth days to just 60 hours. Since our satellite wouldn’t rotate on its axis at the same rate as it orbits the Earth anymore, it would no longer be tidally locked to our planet.
For the earthers, this would mean we’d be able to see the dark side of the Moon, although, it wouldn’t be dark. But how do we save the newly built lunar atmosphere from being stripped away by solar winds?
We’d have a couple options. The first one is easy – Moon’s own rotation would generate a dynamo effect. That dynamo could awaken Moon’s once active magnetic field that would keep the atmosphere in place. If that doesn’t work out, we would have to place a gigantic shield in the orbit. That shield would work as an artificial bow shock, making up for a missing magnetic field.
When that’s all sorted, we’d bring in genetically engineered plants suitable for growing on Moon’s stony grime. We’d also drop some algae that would release oxygen into the air. That would be the start of the life on Moon.
Finally, after many decades of hard and costly work, we’d send the first human colony to settle down on a first man-made planet. The terraformed Moon would get very warm from greenhouse effects. It would be mostly cloudy, too, and with tides as high as 20 meters (65 feet). Surfers might want to check that out.
Living on the Moon would be just like living in Florida, but with just one-sixth of Earth’s gravity. The Moon settlers would be able to jump as high as 3 meters (10 feet) off the ground, remaining up in the air for 4 seconds.
And if they were really fit and full of stamina, they’d be able to run across the Moon’s lake. This is because running on the water requires less muscle power if you do that in reduced gravity. Would you move to the Moon to experience all that?