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The moon - science and resources

[Apollo 17 - Astronaut on moon (© NASA)]
© NASA

Humans have already been to the moon. The moon is dead. No Atmosphere. No life. And almost no water (except for some places in deep craters near the south pole). So why return there?

First: for science. We can learn from the moon and with it. We can examine the moon to find out more about Earth, because the moon is most probably a fragment of early Earth. And it is bombed by asteroids for billions of years - where these asteroid fragments are not eroded or contaminated in contrast to fragments on Earth. And we can do esp. astronomy on the moon. It is not contaminated by radio broadcasting or intense artificial light sources. It is ideal for an unhindered view to the solar system, the galaxy and the universe.

Second: for resources. When it is possible to mine resources on the moon and build complex space structures, it will be easier to launch them into the solar system from the moon than from Earth - but since it will be very costly to support an human outpost on the moon due to the need for supplies like water and food, this might be not the best reason (esp. mars is more suitable for this purpose). But there is one more resource: Helium-3. Implanted by the sun over billions of years, this resource can become important for earth based fusion reactors. But since Helium-3 is very rare on the moon (it is still more rare on Earth), and nuclear fusion reactors are not availiable yet, Helium-3 mining is an option for the far future.


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