by Karina Bakshi
Humans have been dreaming of space colonization for many years, and we have already gotten started on it. The best way to make our first settlement would be to make a Moon Base. Some space companies are already planning to start working on one, so we might even start as soon as 2024.
The best place to build a Moon Base would be the south pole, as there are very few temperature fluctuations there. The south pole also gets light 90% of the time, which means that solar panels would be very efficient there. Some people have also thought about building it on the far side of the Moon, as we could install several telescopes there to allow further space research without Earth getting in the way. But that would require a very complex satellite system so the south pole would be better to start with; and from there, we could expand it into the far side.
It might seem like we need very advanced technology to build a Moon Base; but we almost have the technology needed. With the invention of 3D printers, making the base would be much easier. Materials could also be transported to the Moon via rockets.
According to many space organizations like NASA, Moon Bases will start getting made in 2024. Currently, we do not have the technology to build a Moon Base; but we are very close to it and we will have it in 3-5 years. We would need around 50 rocket launches, and it would cost a whole $10 billion. However, space organizations get a lot of funding from the government so it is still possible.
The climate of the Moon is way too hostile for humans to live there, so the base might have to be occupied by robots rather than humans initially. The Moon only has 1/6 of the gravity that is on Earth; and in the Zero-G environment of Space Stations, the astronauts have to maintain high fitness levels by exercising a lot to remain healthy. Obviously, the effect would be reduced a bit on the Moon; but it would still be very harmful to our muscles and bones as we are not meant to live there. We might have to come up with some system to create Artificial Gravity; but that seems way too advanced so the astronauts might have to adopt a lifestyle similar to those in Space Stations in order to keep themselves healthy. The Moon also receives a lot of radiation from the Sun due to it not having a very weak atmosphere. We would need a Radiation Shield which isn’t really that hard to make as we could 3D print them using lunar soil. The Moon also has some water-ice so that wouldn’t be an issue either. We could build artificial farms to grow food. We could also get Oxygen by splitting up the water-ice found there and removing the Hydrogen from it, leaving the Oxygen which we can breathe.
In conclusion, seeing a Moon Base come up in the next 10 years definitely seems like a plausible idea; as we almost have the technology needed and organizations have a solid plan. Building a Moon Base will definitely help us and it is a great place to start in space exploration and colonization.