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  • Seems a waste of time if the plan is to only have people there for one week stints. Either we colonise the moon or leave it alone. Personally, after the mess we've made of the Earth, it would be nice if the moon could be left unspoiled.

    The question of ownership of lunar resources is already covered by treaty.

    The UN's Outer Space Treaty does not prevent research of lunar resources, but it does prohibit ownership and exploitation by individual nations or businesses.

    Another treaty, The Moon Treaty specifically states that exploration and research into lunar resources must be governed by an "International Regime". However, few of the space-faring nations have ratified this document, and the USA is not one of them.

    Chemically speaking, there is no reason why there can't be water on the moon in sufficient quantities to make habitation possible. Not on the surface because solar radiation will break water (H20) down into its component parts especially the Hydroxyl group (-OH) such as hydrates and hydroxides which will then evaporate into space because the Moon's gravity is not sufficient to hold and maintain an atmosphere.

    Free water cannot persist in illuminated areas of the moon but it can exist in craters that are so deep, and kept permanently in shadow by the moon's axis that it exists in ice that may have been frozen for millions of years. It may also exist at in the polar regions. It would remain to be seen whether this would be sufficient to support a colony for any length of time.

    Theoretically, large quantities of water could make habitation cost effective by providing water for human consumption and plant propagation. It could also be split into hydrogen and oxygen to provide breathable air as well as components for fuel.

    Of course, many things stand between the dream and its realisation. Let's solve one problem at a time and hope that if / when humans do make the jump to the moon it is as enlightened colonists and not a voracious species hell bent on raping it to exhaustion.

  • Can we believe what the US say. They want to get on the Moon and start mining it. A treaty wont get in the way of the biggest bully's on the planet. Space is not supposed to be weaponised but it is, even if that is in the form of spy cameras. I suspect they have a lot more but there is no definitive evidence of that along with this new space force.

    The world may be racked by the coronavirus, but Donald Trump has less earthly concerns on his mind, too, after signing an executive order encouraging the US to mine the moon for minerals.

    The executive order makes clear that the US doesn’t view space as a “global commons”, opening the way for the mining of the moon without any sort of international treaty.

  • Can we believe what the US say. They want to get on the Moon and start mining it. A treaty wont get in the way of the biggest bully's on the planet. Space is not supposed to be weaponised but it is, even if that is in the form of spy cameras. I suspect they have a lot more but there is no definitive evidence of that along with this new space force.

    Well, it would be difficult to disagree with that. if they were the only ones who had an interest in the issue, or were still the only player in the game, but other earthly interests are now involved and it probably won't be that simple.

    If they wanted to mine they probably could but doing anything with their ill gotten gains might be a different matter if a competitor wanted to throw some sort of spanner in the works. Spaceships are notoriously fragile - and expensive - things and outer space is the ultimate harsh environment. Industrial sabotage in space..? Who knows.

    Of course, that is in the realms of fantasy..... but how typical of the human species would it be if the first thing we did on a new world was to start a war..!!

    Rather, with that very possibility to the fore of everybody's mind, it is more likely that any mining project would be of a collaborative nature between the major powers involved. Spread the cost, spread the risk, spread the gains. Everyone's a winner. For that, you have to agree a common set of rules.

    It is true that treaty violations could take place, but anything of that nature would be highly visible and if they couldn't be stopped from doing dirty work on the moon, very earthly retaliations could take place down here.

    But let's leave the science fiction stuff out of it for now and not go veering off into a dreamworld of interplanetary conflict. Let's keep our feet on the ground over this..


    Although the surface of the Moon has evolved over time, the 'seas' (volcanic flow filling basins) and the largest craters are all aged in the billions of years. (Possibly the youngest visible feature is Tycho Crater - 'only' 100M years old).

    This means that throughout human existence, the Moon has looked the same now to the naked eye as it did to every human throughout history.

    I encourage my students and those to whom I give astronomy talks to reflect on this most beautiful fact... that every sky gazer and every pair of moongazing lovers throughout history has seen exactly the same moon as you see in the sky today / next week / next month. Everyone in history you can think of, and billions you've never heard of - we all see the same moon.

  • Wished you lived near me Taragon. Would love to learn all about it, especially how to use my very dusty telescope.

    Most interesting.:):thumbup::thumbup:

    And the Moon is back in the news, in a big way:

    SpaceX rocket launches to Moon south pole that could aid human missions in 2026
    SPACEX has successfully launched the Odysseus lunar lander, in what could be the start of the first US Moon landing in 50 years. The Nova-C Odysseus will now…

    If water is found on the pole, that means water to drink and once the hydrogen is split off, fuel. That'll save on the "lorry" costs of getting that stuff up there, which will eventually lead to a permanent base on the moon.


    If the Moon sometimes looks larger than usual, it's an optical illusion.

    When near the horizon, it looks larger than when it is high, but this is an illusion, as you can prove for yourself if you measure the moon's diameter. Hold your little finger at arm's length and compare the width of its tip to the size of the moon - both for a 'large' low moon and a 'small' high moon, and they will be the same.

    Travel along a hilly country road towards the moon so that its height above the horizon varies, and you can 'see it getting larger and smaller' before your eyes as if falls and rises.

    The actual (apparent) diameter of the moon does vary by + and - ~6% due to its elliptical orbit, but only an expert and obsessive viewer could see that difference.

    Unfortunately, recently, journalists have found it trendy to make a news splash when a perigee (close point in the orbit to earth) coincides with a full moon, and invented the word 'supermoon', but they are very common events (and far too much leeway is allowed, so 4-5m tend to happen in a row) and are of zero astronomical interest. Those who predict extra-high tides would be interested, but they have tracked lunar perigees for centuries without resorting to 'supermoon' terminology.

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