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The Coming Strategic Value of the Moon

Apollo 11 Moon space war solar power colonization United States Japan Brazil energy space exploration

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#1
SkittleBlu

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The moon has become an attractive destination lately. In January, China’s Chang-4 lander and rover became the first to perform a soft landing on the lunar far side. A SpaceX rocket carrying an Israeli lander had an attempt on the moon in March. India’s Chandrayaan-2, scheduled to lift off later this month, will explore the lunar surface near the south pole. And Japan is moving forward in its plans to establish a lunar base. Amid all this rising international competition, NASA, under the Trump Administration’s Space Policy Directive 1, is being pressured to develop the assets needed to have humans permanently stationed on the moon as soon as possible.
 
The renewed push to the moon has widely been seen as being mainly for scientific and political purposes. There are, however, much deeper strategic reasons for returning to the moon. We are entering a period in history when going to the moon comes out of geopolitical necessity. At the beginning of the second global epoch, humanity must turn to space, including the moon, if it wants to expand itself. The moon will be instrumental in forging a more secure and prosperous world. As the moon becomes more technologically and economically feasible, and its need grows, its attraction will only get stronger.
 
But to understand, in large part, why nations are turning to the moon, we must look at what propelled nations to venture into space in the first place. That requires going back to a time when two powers were competing for global dominance, and when the nature of the battlefield was undergoing a massive change.  
 

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#2
SkittleBlu

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Outer Space: A New Frontier for War
 
Space-based reconnaissance was the main motivation for the initial push into space by the Americans and the Soviets during the Cold War. Each side wanted to have a global view so they could track the others military movements and see where enemy nuclear missile sites were located. Both countries were vast in size --- using reconnaissance aircraft would mean scanning a lot of territory, and in the process those aircraft would be highly vulnerable to being shot down. Since the two countries were located on opposite sides of the world, much planning was needed to get aircraft within range, and doing so was extremely difficult to do in secret. This was especially problematic for the Soviet Union, which unlike the US, did not have forward operating bases it could use to access the periphery of American territory. This was one of the reasons why the Soviets were initially pushed into the idea of space-based reconnaissance more than the Americans, and why they got a head start in the space race with the launch of Sputnik.
 
But there was another reason why both sides started turning towards space as part of their military planning. The Cold War became a conflict between two adversaries that was fought through proxy wars on multiple fronts around the world. The addition of the intercontinental ballistic missile meant the entire globe became a potential battlefield. A commander needs to be able to see the battlefield, and when that includes the entire planet, the only way that can be done is through space.
 
The importance of space-based reconnaissance meant that it evolved quickly. Congruent to this was a rapid evolution in space-based communication. Initially, for a reconnaissance satellite to relay its images back to earth, it would need to send down a capsule containing the images, which would descend by parachute through the atmosphere, where it would be retrieved by an aircraft. But this method was expensive and time-consuming. In the meantime, enemy positions could change, rendering the images out of date and having potentially huge ramifications for war planning. Militaries thus needed a way to send images back to earth frequently and quickly, preferably in real time.
 
The solution came with digital communication. The same technology that transformed the every day lives of civilians, through such innovations as the cellular phone and the internet, also had huge repercussions for military intelligence gathering. 
     
160808125616-declassified-ep-8-hexagon-1
 
A photograph taken by a US Hexagon KH-9 Reconnaissance Satellite in the 1970’s. By this time, resolution in reconnaissance imagery had already far exceeded that of what is available today on Google Earth. Source: https://www.cnn.com/...agon/index.html
 
Since the Cold War, the sensory technology used in reconnaissance satellites has vastly improved, and their need has continued to grow. Satellites now have the ability to monitor vast swaths of the earth’s surface in minuscule detail, using infrared and other spectroscopic technologies, to see through clouds and during the night. 
 
The advent of hypersonic weapons, which are under development, has only amplified the need for space-based reconnaissance. It is difficult to gauge just how far along militaries are in developing these weapons, due to the need to keep them under secret from enemies. But given the enormous incentive there is to have them, and the amount of time that has elapsed since serious research and testing on them were first made public, it would be reasonable to assume that hypersonic technology has already advanced quite far. Certainly by mid-century, an unmanned hypersonic aircraft powered by a scramjet will be able to travel to the other side of the globe within minutes, maneuver, locate and hit a precise target, then return to home base to carry out a new mission. Given this new reality, the shape of war will be drastically altered. It will mean that tactical decisions that can influence the outcome of a conflict will be made on the other side of the world. 
 
A major problem arises, however. As the need for space-based reconnaissance continues to grow, and large sections of the globe undergo increased surveillance, adversaries must turn to taking down satellites, enable to blind the enemy.  Reconnaissance satellites thus become more vulnerable from attack.
 
This is exactly what is happening. Many countries have been developing the ability to strike satellites from the earth’s surface (either using anti-satellite missiles or directed energy weapons), and to use their own satellites as projectiles to hit enemy ones. The debris created from collisions also poses a risk to other nearby satellites.
Earlier this year, India demonstrated the ability to shoot down one of its defunct satellites using a missile. What was most noteworthy about it was not how technically extraordinary it may have seemed, but how underwhelming of an achievement it really was. Both the US and Russia have had the ability to do this for decades. But now the technology is within the grasp of less developed countries such as India and China. A superpower is no longer needed  to bring down a satellite. As anti-satellite technology becomes more accessible, the danger increases.
 
Efforts are already underway to make satellites more maneuverable, enable to dodge debris or enemy fire. However, given the lack of air and the effects of gravity on the topography of space, an enormous amount of energy will be needed to conduct any such maneuver, and the margin of error will be slight. 
 
If satellites are to have any real chance of surviving, they will also have to be defended. Subsidiary satellites loaded with weapons may be used to protect the main satellite, much how escort ships are used to protect an aircraft carrier in a carrier battle group. And like the  navy that uses such ships to sail across the open oceans, a space force will need to have military personnel permanently stationed in space to direct groups of satellites and assist in repairs done by various robotic systems, where needed. By including people, the simple reconnaissance satellite will eventually evolve into a command and control center --- a space station headed by a military commander that will be able to monitor events on the surface of the earth and keep in constant contact with ground-based armed forces. 
 
Today, such a development may seem to be within the realm of fantasy. But really, it will merely be an extrapolation of a current strategic reality. Starting in the 2030’s, as the importance of space on military matters continues to grow, and the threats posed on satellites becomes more urgent, governments will be propelled into massive space construction projects intended to move military personnel and important command and control facilities into space. 
 
All of this will help protect valuable space-based assets, but that does not mean these assets will not still be vulnerable. Satellites will be facing threats from both the earth and in the surrounding space. So much energy will be needed to keep a close eye on the earth’s surface that little will be left over to monitor threats from the rear. Militaries will thus need another place to conduct global reconnaissance and operate a command structure more safely, as a supplement to low earth orbit capabilities. In the event that a military were to have its most important satellites knocked out, it will not want to be left blind and at a strategic disadvantage when it comes to waging war at intercontinental distances.  

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#3
SkittleBlu

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The Moon: the Logical Next Step 
 
This is where the moon comes in. The moon, unobstructed by an atmosphere, is a stable platform to monitor events both on the surface of the earth and in the surrounding spacescape. It is also located at a comfortable distance from the earth. A missile would take long enough to strike the moon that it could easily be intercepted. On the surface of the moon, there is no need to worry about satellite collisions. Reconnaissance instruments could easily be hidden in some of the numerous craters and valleys found on the lunar surface. Sensory technology has advanced so quickly that, even from the surface of the moon, the movement of ships, vehicles and people back on earth will be able to be seen in fine detail.
 
Another advantage posed by the moon has to do with its orientation. The far side of the moon, always facing away from the earth, will be an opportune place to conduct secret testing of space-based weapons. This side is more heavily cratered, so bases will be more easily hidden and sheltered, and underground chambers could be dug for weapons testing. The far side is also the ideal place to establish command and control facilities, safe from an earth-based attack. Any traffic going to or from these bases on the moon could be masqueraded as being for scientific missions. After all, scientific exploration will still be a motivation for building on the moon, just not the main one.
 
nearandfarmoonwiki.png?itok=NYqTYOgb
 
Side by side photographs comparing the moon’s near side (left) with its far side (right). Source: https://www.almanac..../far-side-moon 
 
Some scientific missions will involve the use of radio transmissions. Since the far side of the moon is blocked of radio interference from the earth, it will be the ideal place to set up radio telescopes pointed towards deep space. The numerous craters there can act as suitable platforms for such instruments. But lack of radio interference also means that, absent lunar satellites that could relay communications back to earth, bases on the far side will be able to communicate with each other in secret.
 
The moon’s third major advantage has to do with its mass. It has only one sixth of the gravity found on earth. A lower gravitational pull means less thrust will be needed to launch a rocket into space from the moon than from the earth. A projectile fired from the moon towards the earth will require less energy than one fired from the earth towards the moon. Less energy will mean less fuel, and there is already an abundance of that on the moon.
 
The confirmation of water ice at the surface of both lunar poles, as well as the abundance of water thought to exist underground, is very important for several reasons. One being that the hydrogen extracted from the water could be used as rocket fuel. Shipping fuel to the moon is expensive, and will likely remain so well into the future. The moon is also quite far from the earth. An enemy force could easily cut the supply line and leave the moon stranded. That means lunar bases will have to become as self-sufficient as possible, including when it comes to fuel.
 
But there are, of course, many other reasons why the presence of water on the moon is so important. Water ice can be melted for drinking for lunar inhabitants, and used to grow food. The oxygen extracted could be used to create breathable air in sealed chambers. It makes sense then, that most lunar colonies will be situated near large reservoirs of water.
 
HnarxCnQK6yCfrFB5Eyy9F-970-80.jpg
 
Distribution of surface ice detected at the lunar south pole (left) and north pole (right) by NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper. Source: https://www.jpl.nasa...hp?feature=7218
 
Of the two polar regions, the south pole is thought to contain the most water. The region is also the site of one of the largest impact craters known to exist in the solar system: the South Pole-Aitken Basin. This basin has been the focus of many lunar robotic missions, and it is where a first lunar base will most likely be located. Within the basin itself, the numerous subsidiary craters and the area around its rim (especially at the foot of the Leibnitz Mountains) will be of particular interest. Many of these spots are permanently cast in shadow, offering protection from cosmic rays and the solar winds. On the other hand, many of the mountain tops that line the basin are almost permanently bathed in sunlight, making ideal locations for solar power generating stations.

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#4
SkittleBlu

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The Moon as a Hub for Solar Power
 
Power will be a major determining factor over control of the moon. That includes not just military power, but also energy power. Energy produced on the moon will be key in not only powering lunar facilities, but also vast swaths of the earth. Stemming from this is the probability that the earth will be facing an energy crisis if ways are not radically changed by the late 21st century. There is the concern that fossil fuel emissions into the earth’s atmosphere primarily contributes to undesirable climate change. But more than that, fossil fuel reserves are dwindling just as energy needs continue to soar. This is happening in spite of a slowing growth in the world’s population. More people are being brought into the industrialized world, and human activities are becoming ever more energy-intensive. In more developed countries, masses of robots will be needed to support an aging population, as well as to keep productivity levels up. Robots, as they grow more sophisticated, take on a variety of tasks and become widespread, will consume an enormous amount of power.
 
Of all the viable energy alternatives, solar is by far the most promising. It is, after all, the most natural. Plants use the sun’s rays for photosynthesis, and nearly all living organisms are dependent on the light and heat produced by the sun for their survival. The sun itself is a gargantuan ball of energy with almost limitless potential. It produces billions of times more energy than what the world needs, or will ever need, and it will keep shining for at least another five billion years. It is the ultimate power source.
 
Unfortunately, solar power generating stations on the surface of the earth have no hope of fully tapping into its potential. The effects of clouds and of the night place huge limits on its use. Added to that, solar panels take up a lot of space. It is estimated that to compensate for all of the world’s current energy needs would require a solar array covering an area about the size of the state of Nevada.
 
Placing solar panels in space overcomes these problems. Objects in space are not blocked by an atmosphere and are not trapped in the daily night cycle. One thing that space does not have a lack of is space. A solar array in earth orbit would collect energy from the sun, then beam it in the form of microwave radiation to receiving stations located at strategic points around the surface of the globe. These receiving stations would convert the energy back into electricity, before it is distributed throughout the power grid. The radiation emitted from these solar arrays will be at such low intensities that they will not cause adverse health or environmental effects.
 
None of this is science fiction. All of the technology needed to make space-based solar power a reality already exists. Experiments have been performed demonstrating solar energy beamed at electrical conversion receivers over relatively short distances. Governments have expressed serious interest in its potential. And as fossil fuels lose their attractiveness, the interest will continue to grow. Come the second half of this century, space-based solar will be all the craze. 
 
There will be, however, added benefits to placing solar arrays intended for earth consumption on the surface of the moon. All of the material needed to build solar panels can be found and manufactured in large quantities on the moon. Photovoltaic cells, microwave transmitters and reflectors can all be made entirely from the lunar regolith. There will be no need to launch cells into orbit.
 
Although an increase in commercial and military flights into space will certainly bring the cost of launches down, the fact will remain that to have enough solar arrays in earth orbit to make a dent in the world’s energy consumption will require hauling up a huge volume of material spread over many thousands of launches. The preferred destination for these solar arrays, geostationary orbit, is already getting crowded with many other satellites. The region will also surely become a future battlefield, and space debris will be more of a hazard. Solar power produced in earth orbit will, at least in the initial stages of space-based electrical generation, be an important asset. But for solar power to really become the world’s primary energy source, generating stations will also need to be placed on the moon. 
 
There is more than enough space on the surface of the moon for solar power generating stations than can power the earth. The lack of an atmosphere means cells will be able to be thin and made cheaply. Most of the cost will come from robotic mining equipment sent to the moon to extract the soil and in establishing manufacturing plants. 
Due to one half of the moon being in darkness for two weeks at a time, stations will need to be located on both sides of the moon to enable continuous power generation. Satellites in earth orbit will relay microwave beams sent from transmitters on the moon towards receiving stations on earth. This will allow constant coverage to all areas of the globe, except during a lunar eclipse, when backup power generation should be sufficient. This is the setup as envisioned by Dr. David Criswell, an American physicist that has been advocating for lunar-based solar power since the 1970’s.
 
Energy generated on the moon will have huge ramifications not only for the global economy, but also the balance of power on earth. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, the world has been powered by fossil fuels. But their availability has been determined largely by geography. Fossil fuel deposits (especially of oil, the most important resource) are haphazardly scattered across the globe. Some countries that are located  on vast reserves, such as Saudi Arabia, have gained enormous wealth and became geopolitically relevant. Some countries that depend on access to them by others, such as Japan, have in the past taken drastic measures, including going to war, to secure the inflow.
 
The shift from fossil fuels to solar power generated in space and on the moon will dramatically change the equation of energy dominance. Less will depend on where a country is located than whether it can develop the technology needed to collect and generate power from such faraway places as the moon.
 
The US, being the preeminent power both on earth and in space, and the first nation to land humans on the moon, will be in a prime position to dominate in lunar-based solar power. But that does not mean it will not be facing any competition.
    
Japan is one country that will have a huge interest to become energy independent. It is a highly developed industrialized nation, but it must import most of its raw materials, including oil. Under normal circumstances, this would make any country feel uneasy. But Japan is a country that is also situated in an increasingly unstable region of the world and that relies almost entirely on another power --- the US, to guarantee its security. No country wants to rely on another for so much of its core strategic interests. So Japan will be compelled to spread its power outward to secure itself.
 
We are already starting to see signs of this as Japan remilitarizes and involves itself more in international affairs. Japan will want to secure nearby sea lanes to ensure a steady flow of resources to its shores. It will also want to reduce its dependence on its long time guarantor.
 
These things will no doubt alarm the US. Japan is already a major military and economic power, and the US will not want the country to become too powerful. It would once again challenge American supremacy over the Pacific. It is these and other trends that have been analyzed in great detail by geopolitical forecaster Dr. George Friedman, who has mapped out how a direct conflict between the two countries will occur in the next few decades. 
 
Tensions between Japan and the US will not be restricted to earth. The other dimension of this brewing conflict will be in space. By the middle of the century, Japan will have had a substantial presence on the moon. Although much of this presence will be for military purposes, there will be an economic purpose to it as well. Japan’s imperative to secure the inflow of raw materials will only be able to go so far before it is met by a harsh response by the US, which has de-facto control over the world’s oceans. So Japan will want to complement its desire to secure earth-based resources with independent energy extraction from space, particularly the moon. Japan already has a sophisticated space program, which it has used to send probes to land and take samples from distant asteroids, likely to evaluate the economic potential of mining them for precious metals. So it won’t require a massive leap in technological development for Japan to harness the economic potential of the moon, by using it as a base to generate solar power.
 
A perhaps more far-fetched possibility of a country seeking to break the American monopoly over the moon in the distant future will be Brazil. At the end of the 21st century, Brazil will be emerging as a major power. It will be the leading power on a relatively secure continent, with a rapidly developing economy. However, it will also be geographically isolated, located outside of the major trade routes in the Northern Hemisphere, and far from the world’s biggest markets in North America and Eurasia. Historically, Brazil sought to integrate itself into the global economy by specializing in the extraction and trade of certain commodities. In recent years, that has taken the form of deepwater oil drilling. But in the post fossil fuel era, Brazil will need to find another way it can amplify its economic footprint.
 
One way would be through energy extraction on the moon. American dominance in space will be a source of grievance for many countries, and Brazil will want to tap into that by acting as an alternative, particularly when it comes to lunar-based solar power. It will have developed a substantial space program. And being located on the equator will give Brazil a tremendous advantage. A spacecraft launched from the equator requires the least amount of fuel to get into orbit because the earth spins the fastest there, providing additional thrust. That is the reason why government space agencies, such as NASA, choose to have their launch facilities as close to the equator as possible. In addition, Brazil’s eastern border consists entirely of open ocean. Any object launched into space will follow the earth’s rotation to give it an additional boost, which goes from west to east. A rocket going eastward into space will preferably do so over an open ocean. In case of an accident, debris will not want to fall over a populated area. It is with these advantages that foreign powers will be attracted to Brazil for use as a base to launch their own satellites. The acquisition of technology and expertise from these other countries will allow Brazil to develop its own space launch capabilities, eventually being able to shoot towards the moon.
 
Other countries such as India, Korea, Poland, Turkey and Vietnam will have limited space programs, but they will not be in a position to challenge American dominance. Ultimately, the US will be able to secure its dominance by restricting access to the moon by hostile powers. As the first nation to land humans on the moon, the US is already a step above everyone else, and it will want to maintain its competitive edge. It will thus be at an advantageous position when it comes to waging war over control of the moon. 


#5
SkittleBlu

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Battles for Supremacy Over the Moon
 
For an earth-based power to secure its control over the moon, it will also need to assert its control of the space surrounding the moon. The moon averages about 239,000 miles from the earth, and there will be much potential for mishap in the space between the two. Even with a potential advancement in propulsion to make spacecraft travel faster, voyages to the moon will still take a while. So the enormous distance between the earth and the moon will be a source of weakness that space powers will try to temper, and that enemies will try to exploit.
 
Although most command and control facilities will be relocated to the moon, the political decisions necessary to take military action, within the seat of government, will still be located on earth. Maintaining both communication and a line of supplies from one to the other will be crucial, even for those bases meant to be hidden out of sight on the lunar far side.
 
Since the space between the earth and the moon is immense, a military force distributed evenly across this space would be spread out far too thin and substantially weakened. It would thus be much more beneficial for a military to concentrate its forces at important points within this space, ones that would still allow a force to field enormous power --- if such points existed.
 
These points do exist. To the naked eye, outer space appears to be a vast, empty expanse. However, like the oceans of the earth, the topography of space is marked with hidden features that a military could use to its advantage. For a naval force, the narrow channels that trade routes pass through act as chokepoints and the islands found on the rim of a sea may be used to blockade. For a space force, the earth-moon libration points will act as way stations and where a standing force can initiate attacks on those traveling to and from the moon.  
 
asi199900075.gif   
 
Map of the earth-moon system, depicting the five libration points. Source: https://archive.bria...ance/index.html
 
There are five earth-moon libration points. These are spots where the gravitational pull from both the earth and the moon balance each other in such a way that a satellite stationed there will not fall down toward either. Libration point 1 (L1) is located between the earth and the moon, and only about 38,000 miles from the lunar surface. Its position will mean it will act as an important pit stop for traffic going to and from the moon, as well as a place to monitor activities on the lunar near side. However, considering that it lies on a direct line in front of the moon from the earth, it will also be a point of vulnerability. This combination of importance and vulnerability will be a source of potential conflict. Then there is L2, which is always behind the moon from the earth. This point will be valuable for control of the lunar far side. L3 is located on the lunar orbit, but is always found on the opposite side of the earth from the moon, so it will have comparatively little strategic value.
 
All of the aforementioned points are considered weak libration points, meaning that constant station-keeping will still be required to prevent satellites from drifting out of position. It is the remaining two points, L4 and L5, that are considered strong libration points, and they will be the most important for a power trying to secure control of the moon. They bracket the moon on its orbit at an angle of 60 degrees relative to the earth. A military could station a standing force at these two points to protect the moon on its sides and to flank an invading force from earth. Given this tactical advantage, a lot of military infrastructure will be built at these spots. In the distant future, L4 and L5 will be sites of major tension and two of the most likely places of battle in a space war.      

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#6
SkittleBlu

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Conclusion
 
Given all these developments, one can see that whoever controls the moon in the future will hold substantial power over the surface of the earth. The moon’s strategic value will mean it will be a place highly coveted by many. But that same value will also give tremendous power to the moon itself. The center of power will gradually be shifting in the moon’s favor.
 
It follows that, eventually, the epicenter of human civilization will shift from the earth to the moon. When that happens, it will be an extraordinary event. The world where the entirety of the history of human life unfolded, with its biggest achievements, its darkest moments, memories --- all of this, will be pushed to the margins of human existence, and a new world will take center stage.
 
Today, it may be hard to imagine how a small, barren, and seemingly inhospitable world such as the moon will ever eclipse the earth in power and importance. But consider how a European in the 16th century, then at the center of the world, viewed North America. It was a land seen as being at the edge of existence, with a harsh environment, an unknown interior, and with a small native population that succumbed easily from outside coercion. At this time, Europe had just begun its ascent and established empires in which it would conquer most of the world. It occupied the center of a vast global network, with colonies spread out on every continent.
 
Who would have thought then that a cluster of North American colonies would band together, break free from the shackles of imperialist forces, rise up, challenge the Europeans and eventually supplant them to become the world’s dominant power?
 
The US occupied a strategic position between two oceans, which not only helped protect it from invasion, but also amplified its importance to the global economy, by acting as an intermediate point between the huge markets of Europe and East Asia. The size of its territory and its abundance of natural resources meant it had a lot of room to develop. In the intervening centuries, mass immigration helped to build a strong nation. New modes of transportation such as the railroad, the automobile and the airplane helped to bring far-flung communities within the new nation together and to connect it with the rest of the world. Urbanization and mass agriculture altered the land and made it into an industrial powerhouse. 
 
It is this same sort of evolution that will transform the moon from an empty, lifeless sphere to an unlikely stronghold of humanity. Its strategic position as a stepping stone from the earth to the wider universe will give it a tremendous advantage. Mass colonization in the coming centuries will forge the development of a separate lunar nation. Even if the world population stabilizes or declines, the ever increasing hunger for more resources will force many people to move off world as the carrying capacity of the earth is exceeded. New technologies used by settlers to make the moon more habitable will radically alter the lunar surface and, like the US, will transform it into an industrial power. 
  
What kind of affect will this power shift have on human culture? The human view of itself and its relationship to the cosmos will be fundamentally altered. Humanity will view its history encapsulated into a single sphere, one in which it will still revolve around but in which it will be physically disconnected from. And humanity will view its future as being unbounded in the vastness of space that lies beyond. In effect, the moon will be an intermediary step in the human expansion into the cosmos. But just as important, the human species will for the first time in its history be physically separated from most of the other living organisms it evolved alongside with.
 
It will be ironic then, that the human journey into outer space, from the planet it grew up in to its nearest celestial neighbor, will be accompanied by an equally momentous journey into inner space. Huge discoveries will be made about life, the nature of consciousness and the human soul that today’s mind can’t even begin to fathom. 
 
All of these discoveries and developments will be made many centuries into the future. A lot of history will have to occur between now and then. But the contours of that future, as extraordinary and far-fetched as they may seem, are being shaped by what is happening right now, as humanity prepares to establish its first permanent presence on the moon. 

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#7
ralfy

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The major motive will be a resource crunch, but projects will come too late.



#8
funkervogt

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This is where the moon comes in. The moon, unobstructed by an atmosphere, is a stable platform to monitor events both on the surface of the earth and in the surrounding spacescape. It is also located at a comfortable distance from the earth. A missile would take long enough to strike the moon that it could easily be intercepted. On the surface of the moon, there is no need to worry about satellite collisions. Reconnaissance instruments could easily be hidden in some of the numerous craters and valleys found on the lunar surface. Sensory technology has advanced so quickly that, even from the surface of the moon, the movement of ships, vehicles and people back on earth will be able to be seen in fine detail.

 
Another advantage posed by the moon has to do with its orientation. The far side of the moon, always facing away from the earth, will be an opportune place to conduct secret testing of space-based weapons. This side is more heavily cratered, so bases will be more easily hidden and sheltered, and underground chambers could be dug for weapons testing. The far side is also the ideal place to establish command and control facilities, safe from an earth-based attack. Any traffic going to or from these bases on the moon could be masqueraded as being for scientific missions. After all, scientific exploration will still be a motivation for building on the moon, just not the main one.
 
Some scientific missions will involve the use of radio transmissions. Since the far side of the moon is blocked of radio interference from the earth, it will be the ideal place to set up radio telescopes pointed towards deep space. The numerous craters there can act as suitable platforms for such instruments. But lack of radio interference also means that, absent lunar satellites that could relay communications back to earth, bases on the far side will be able to communicate with each other in secret.

I'm sure that multiple countries will put downward-looking spy satellites into Lunar orbit so they can see everyone else's surface stations. It will be impossible for any one country to build anything in secret. 



#9
caltrek

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NASA’S DAUNTING TO-DO LIST FOR SENDING PEOPLE BACK TO THE MOON

 

https://www.theverge...-11-anniversary
 

Introduction:

 

()The Verge) A half-century after landing the first humans on the Moon, NASA is looking to put people back on the lunar surface, but this time the agency has an even more ambitious deadline to meet. The goal is to send humans back to the Moon by 2024, a mere five years from now. NASA has a whole lot more hardware to develop this time — which leaves many wondering if such an extremely ambitious lunar return can be done.

 

NASA’s plan to return to the Moon is called Artemis, and like Apollo, the program requires a giant rocket as well as landers to take people to the lunar surface. Perhaps the biggest thing that sets Artemis apart from the Apollo program is that this time, the emphasis is on sustainability. Rather than just send people to walk around the Moon for a few hours, NASA wants to build some kind of sustainable outpost near the lunar surface for the foreseeable future. That’s why Artemis includes a separate component dubbed the Gateway — a space station meant to be built in orbit around the Moon. Instead of people traveling directly to the lunar surface from Earth, they’d travel to the Gateway first and then travel in landers to the Moon.

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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Apollo 11, Moon, space war, solar power, colonization, United States, Japan, Brazil, energy, space exploration

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