Tuesday, December 12, 2006

NASA: New Permanent Moon Base Coming Soon!

According to this article, NASA plans to build a new permanent base on the Moon (of Earth) by 2024.

Having read Ben Bova's fantastic 1998 novel _Moonwar_, as well as its sequels and every other book related to it... I think this is a fantastic idea. As Bova lays out in his science-fiction scenario, nanotech is essentially banned on Earth due to a confluence of environmentalists and fundamentalists who are afraid of it for very different reasons. As a result, the Moon is the only legal place for nanotech research to continue, and as a result, the economy on the Moon flourishes. To the point that it declares independence from the Earth and becomes its own country/independent political entity. It is able to do so because it becomes mostly self-sufficient, and only needs to import mostly non-essential items from Earth.

So, the common complaint about science fiction is that, well, it's fiction. This presumes that it is not likely to become reality.

However, the very name "science fiction" involves some rooting in reality. And I think that the common theme, as we move deeper into the 21st century and continue to experience technological innovation, is that of science fiction becoming science fact. And sometimes, political and social fact, to the extent that science fiction has often been used as a vehicle for social and political analysis (just about as often as it has been used as a vehicle for the proposal of future technological innovations, actually).

So, I hereby raise a toast to our future moon base. And after that, the independent nation of Luna.



Tony said...

I see you're a fan of Heinlein :)

The one thing that's dissuaded me from being a supporter of building a moonbase is that there doesn't seem to be a source of energy on the moon. Do you something I don't?

Garlynn Woodsong said...

Why not solar power? I think the moonbase would likely *not* be located on the dark side of the moon.

Also, fuel cells seem to be seen by many as the most viable option when solar can't deliver enough.

Surely, the reasoning goes, as the most common element in the universe, there must be some indegenous hydrogen somewhere on the moon. The trick is to extract it & refine it for use in fuel cells -- whose output would be pure drinking water, incidentally.

Tony said...

Fuel cells great for energy storage but they're not a source of energy. If we had a way of extracting hydrogen easily and cheaply then that would work but we don't have any leads on that yet.

Solar power is feasible but it's still too expensive and inefficient to be a viable option yet. Perhaps one day that will change though.

Anonymous said...

Where did you find that second picture?