When I posted on the transit of Venus, I said that environmentalists are concerned about the environment and that does not end at the Earth’s atmosphere or the heliosphere of even our galaxy. Human’s track record ain’t great so far. We tend to just throw stuff out there because we can. We have fired rockets willy nilly at planets some of which landed successfully but will be on those planets forever. The ones that didn’t go so well are smashed all over the place. We trashed the moon and anyone flying by the Earth would just go EWWWWWW. Look at that mess. So now what is proposed – Mining and Manufacturing. Environmentally things we do just the bestest. This is not good. Double billing here. This guy:
wrote the op/ed piece here:
This is not an attack on the writer by the way.
Will we ever… live on the Moon?
14 June 2012
by PHIL PLAIT
Will mankind once again walk on the lunar surface? I wouldn’t even hesitate to say “yes”, because the future is long, and who in the early 1950s would have dared to predict that we would even land a craft on the Moon within 20 years? But in this case, the answer probably isn’t as interesting as the question itself – more specifically, when, and why, and how will we do it?
I can think of many possible scenarios that could lead to us colonising the Moon: an extended economic boom that allows us to fund ambitious space exploration; a breakthrough in launch costs which makes them drastically cheaper; or the discovery of some vital natural resource on the Moon. But I don’t like betting on breakthroughs.
A better question is then: “What is a likely way we’ll end up with a human presence on the Moon?” Given what we know today and extrapolating from there, I have a thought on how this could happen.
Looking into the abyss
Before we talk about settling down on our rocky neighbour, we have to ask why we should head there in the first place.
Looking back on nearly 60 years of space exploration, the answer is obvious. Satellite communication. Weather prediction. Understanding of climate change. Instantaneous broadcasting of radio and television. Global positioning technology. Detailed mapping of the Earth. Environmental monitoring. Government intelligence gathering (which has prevented far more conflict than people credit it for). Disaster warning.
Go there and read. More next week.