Why the Moon Matters Much

It is hard to look at the news cycle at the current moment or at the state of the world and readily conclude that a blog post about the Moon and humanity’s future as it relates to the Moon ought to be our top priority for understanding and exploration of ourselves and our world. Yet, amidst all my other concerns I am sure that the Moon ranks very highly indeed. It is true that I do not get paid to think about these things and have many other concerns. So there is an element of arrogance in my persistence in exploring these ideas.

When I was a child the Apollo Program was a very big part of my life in the way that other great institutions are part of a child’s life. Apollo 11 was uniquely significant amongst all space related achievements of the human race up till now. Huge numbers of people could see that the human civilization was transformed in some profound way by the fact that we could perform a crewed landing on the moon and return the crew safely to Earth. It seemed to little kids of certain types and to many others that future would involve significant human development on the Moon.  I was eight years old in 1972 when Apollo 17 was completed. The years since have seen no return of human beings to the Moon. But the Moon remains a unique site with unique and totally irreplaceable potential for human kind.

I wrote a novel in which the first set of chapters or part or book is titled The Moon. But the novel has not been published. In that novel I set the action of the early chapters mostly on the moon in in crater cap colonies.

Of course we now know that there is some water on the moon, a significant amount. But not enough for the kind of lifestyle that I depict in my novel. I do believe that a well run colonial system on the moon would eventually find other deposits of water frozen into the substrata as the novel describes and this would be among the most valued mineral assets in such and economy. However that need not be true for colonies to thrive there. There is enough water to start small colonies and we could capture comets and crash them into craters on the far side of the moon in controlled landings.  There is no question that we can approach comets and land devices on them. That was proved in the Rosetta Mission.  We could select small icy comets and learn to steer them into craters on the far side while building all early colonies on the near side. Most comets are less that ten miles across in their frozen state and there are a huge number of them. They are mostly made of water. we could develop an industry to send a comet a year of less than a quarter mile in diameter crashing into the Moon’s surface for the first many years of settlement and supply enough water needs for a thriving economy there. In time we would orbit more and even smaller comets around the moon and then break them up using most of the water on the moon and some on the ships we would build in orbit around the moon. The mass added in water would be equaled by the mass launched from the moon in space ships and components for spaceships and space stations made on the moon. Thus over a century or so we have a satellite of the same mass but perhaps two to ten percent of it mass would be liquid water and atmosphere in the crater cap colonies. ships to mars and other places could be huge, fast, safe and luxurious and still be cheaper than anything we could build on earth according to proper economic and fiscal analysis.

The best discussions we can have about the future of human development on the Moon relate to understanding how it must function in our future. There are many reasons why we should develop the Moon and do so soon. I want to discuss a few of them. First, the Moon is an accessible place the lack of atmosphere and the low gravity make it easy to launch materials into space. Earth can support lunar operations relatively easily. Rescue and support ships could reach the Moon in a few days. Communication is very rapid. The economic potential for a fully developed Moon is vast and the uses for an increasingly complex civilization on Earth are myriad.

The real world impact of developing sizable colonies on the Moon could be transformative for our civilization. Mining, space based solar power plants, huge communication satellite communication capacity and a thousand other industries could yield large results on Earth in a relatively short time. All of these concepts are relatively respectable for discussion around the world even though many people in the discussion would never really consider space colonization as a serious option. There is a great deal that needs to be tended to on Earth it is true but there are those of us who believe that colonizing the Moon will help us to tend to the things that concern us on Earth.
Beyond that it’s essential to the defense of the Earth from an attack from outside. That means taking responsibility for a threat potential which is not given serious respect in moast places. We can say that vigilance sanning and resources on the moon as weel as continuous activity around the comets and asteroids would help us to guard against collisions from and comets better than keeping all our resources on Eath and we can see that the threats from such collisions are real. that is one way in which lunar colonies would be a protective and defensive asset.  But that is not the whole picture occupying the Moon effectively would also provide at least some real advantage in deling with any technological species coming to meet us with good, evil or neutral intentions. So we must consider whether alien threats are worthy on any consideration.

As far as the possibility of Alien contact goes nothing could be less important when it is not happening and very few things could be more important when they are happening. A framework for estimating the chances for communicating with another civilization is provided by the Drake Equation. This equation is used to estimate the number of communicating civilizations around during the lifetime  (or the present moment of) a program searching for their communication signals thus predicting the  success probability for the Search for Extra(T)errestrial Intelligence or SETI

N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L

  • N = The number of civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy whose electromagnetic emissions are detectable.
  • R* =The rate of formation of stars suitable for the development of intelligent life.
  • fp = The fraction of those stars with planetary systems.
  • ne = The number of planets, per solar system, with an environment suitable for life.
  • fl = The fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears.
  • fi = The fraction of life bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges.
  • fc = The fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space.
  • L = The length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space.

As far as security, national and otherwise goes. There is real risk if there is and it could be enormous. there are plenty of people who have claimed encounters with aliens, some may be highly credible. For examples see here, here and here. One question some people have long asked is whether the universe is more like a desert or a jungle. The desert theorists have been the most assertive in the most respected parts of the scientific establishment for a long time. But the recent search for exoplanets has revealed a lot of exoplanets and a good number of those in what is called the Goldilocks zone around their own stars (not too hot and not too cold for liquid water) and that has changed the assessment. Of course in most very ancient traditions and mythologies the Heavens were a jungle of sorts — full of mysterious and mystical creatures and creators. We don’t have to theorize about the existence of theoretically habitable planets anymore. Information about them can be seen here and here — and there are almost certainly a vast number more.

Various pieces of the alien threat assessment have to be considered.

I propose the Franksummers3ba Equation for the number of Alien First Contacts by direct visitation that humans will experience on earth and in the possible colonies within our own solar system. It is based on the Drake Equation.

N = ( R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fs • fe• fb • fr • fp • fs  •L)M

  • N= The number of civilizations which might arrive at Earth and contact  or confront humans here or in surrounding future colonies relatively unannounced.
  • R* =The rate of formation of stars suitable for the development of intelligent life.
  • fp = The fraction of those stars with planetary systems.
  • ne = The number of planets, per solar system, with an environment suitable for life.
  • fl = The fraction of suitable planets on which life actually appears.
  • fi = The fraction of life bearing planets on which intelligent life emerges.
  • fs = The fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that develop space travel .
  • fe=The fraction of those civilizations that choose to locate planets like ours.
  •  fb=The fraction of those civilizations that build and launch interstellar craft: finding the political resources and will to do so as well as the wealth.
  •  fr= The fraction of those civilizations  which develop individual craft or groups of craft capable of reaching our solar system  from their launch point.
  •  fp= The fraction of those civilizations  which either reach a high percentage of detected planets in range or which highly prioritize reaching a planet like ours.
  • • fs= The fraction of those civilizations which use stealth or secrecy beyond our capacities of remote detection and which find it preferable to avoid electromagnetic or similar communication at a distance in advance of first contact.
  • Ll  = The length of time such civilizations launch such craft divided by the period of time humans survive in this solar system.
  • NOTE:  the brackets indicate that this is the product which gives us a number for contact from any launch site even though the next operation is also mathematically identical multiplication.
  • M=The rate at which civilizations of this sort reproduce autonomous launch sites which are in these parameter or civilizations enter these parameters which are otherwise disqualified by one or more factors through creating autonomous launch sites.

 

 

So that’s all I have time for here. But this is yet another post in favor of taking space colonization seriously. I am not sure what else I will be able to write on this subject because my Earthbound concerns are sufficient to take up my time and energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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