Exploring space is being done by the Soviet Union also referred to as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the United States (US) since the 1960s. This was a competition between the two countries to amass the land on the moon and build their sovereignty. This led to the launches of artificial satellites and robotic space probes.
Today, fast-growing economic countries like India, China, and Japan have also joined the race. The main purpose is to mine the rare minerals and water on the moon. This may not only increase the possibility to create colonies on the moon but also explore and build colonies on other planets within the Milky Way galaxy.
Scientists in NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) have researched that when an outsized asteroid will enter Earth’s atmosphere, it’ll destroy all the species in the world, and therefore the life on Earth will get extinct. The population on earth has also increased thanks to huge development in life science. Hence, to avoid wasting society, we need a distinct space for accommodation.
In this post, we will learn about Lunar economy: A complete information about new moon race. Many additional questions about the lunar economy would be answered as well.
What is the lunar economy?
The lunar economy is the plan to move to and fro between earth and moon and build the colony on the moon’s surface. The presence was Lunar ice was identified by NASA in the 1990s.
After Chandrayaan – 1 mission launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2008-09, it was also discovered that there is an existence of water in the soil at lunar poles.
This revived the interest to explore the surface of the moon to use water as a source of fuel for space rockets and build human colonies. Not only government organizations like NASA and ISRO but also private companies like SpaceX and Blie Origin are diving to build their sovereignty on Moon.
Challenges we are facing to create Lunar Economy
One of the biggest challenges to create the colony on the Moon is the cost of traveling to and fro from the Earth and Moon. The Moon does not have an atmospheric layer on its surface. Hence, there is no protection against a collision with asteroids and comets on the lunar surface.
The gravitational force on the surface of the Moon is also low as compared to the Earth. As there is no atmosphere, humans are unprotected against ultraviolet rays emitted from the Sun.
Key Facts and Future Plans of NASA and USSR
NASA launched the Apollo mission during 1960-1972 which was the most expensive American scientific program. This led the astronauts to walk on the moon for scientific research and exploring life there. NASA also launched Surveyor missions to obtain photographs from the surface of the moon which can help Apollo missions.
It also launched Skylab which was operated by 3 separate astronaut crews. The major operations were solar observatory, earth observation, and hundreds of experiments.
In May 2019, NASA announced the Artemis project whose aim is to land more humans on the moon by 2024. The mission aims to develop a lunar economy on the moon by 2028. For the same, the scientists will develop a gateway for astronauts going to and fro from the moon, housing a resupply station and orbital observation.
Key Facts and Future Plans of Blue Origin
Blue Origin was founded by the ex-CEO of Amazon, the richest person in the world, Jeff Bezos. Blue Origin is an American privately-funded aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company.
Blue Origin is developing a variety of technologies, with a focus on rocket-powered vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) vehicles for access to suborbital and orbital space. The main aim of the company is to build reusable launch vehicles which will help to travel to and fro between space and Earth.
Blue Origin hasn’t launched any passenger vehicles till 2015. On July 20, 2021, Blue Origin launched New Shephard 4 with 4 crew passengers to suborbital space.
Key Facts and Future Plans of SpaceX
SpaceX was founded by the CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk. It is an American aerospace manufacturer, space transportation services, and communication company. SpaceX manufactures the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, several rocket engines, Dragon cargo, crew spacecraft, and Starlink communications satellites.
On 30 May 2020, SpaceX successfully launched two NASA astronauts (Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken) into orbit on a Crew Dragon spacecraft during Crew Dragon Demo-2, making SpaceX the first private company to send astronauts to the International Space Station.
SpaceX is developing a commercial internet service named Starlink which is a satellite mega constellation. It is also developing a launch system known as Starship which is a fully reusable super-heavy launch system that will reduce the cost of each space launch.
How close are we to Mining in Space?
Scientists want to mine asteroids as they may contain rare minerals ad water. Water will be the most valuable resource in space. It can be converted into hydrogen and oxygen which can be used as a fuel in rockets, life support systems, a tool to shield us from radiation, and also a source of drinking water for astronauts. The idea behind the approach is optical mining.
Optical mining is an approach to simultaneously excavating carbonaceous chondrite asteroid surfaces and driving water and other volatiles out of the excavated material and into an enclosing inflatable bag without the need for complex or impractical robotics.
In simple words, the equipment will go to an asteroid and use water into the gas station to refuel spacecraft which will reduce the cost of rocket fuel. This may also create a large water ecosystem in space that will help companies to build their colonies and fly into space. Eventually, life on the moon will be sustained with the resources and energy that are obtained from the Asteroids.
How hard it would be to colonize the moon?
The lunar surface of the moon does not have an atmosphere, so there is no protection against the radiation of the Sun. Craters are also formed due to the collision of asteroids and comments. The cost of a single trip of a spacecraft is also high. More research and discoveries are needed to colonize the moon in the next 2 decades.
Scope of Life on Moon
Our researchers and scientists are working on building reusable launch vehicles to reduce the cost of traveling between Earth and the moon. If this happens, common people will be able to travel to the moon and settle their life there.
They will be able to develop their colonies with the advanced technology of optical mining. They will also cultivate plants and habitats for animals. As a result, a new world will be developed on the moon.
Pros and Cons to create Lunar Economy
|Water on the lunar surface can be utilized as a fuel for the spacecraft||Travel expense to travel to and fro between Earth and Moon|
|A refueling station can be constructed.||No Protection shield against radiation|
|The cost of exploring space will be reduced.||No protection against collision of asteroids and comets on the lunar surface|
|Rare minerals like gold, titanium, helium can be mined and used for building the economy||……|
|A new world will be created on the lunar surface.||……|
Now, we all know how the world is going to expand far and beyond from Earth. Let me know in the comments whether SpaceX or Blue Origin will be successful to able to launch their rockets to travel to and fro between Earth and Moon economically.
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FAQ related to (Lunar economy: race to the moon)
Q- Is the moon colonizable?
Ans- The moon can be colonized in the next 2 decades after our scientist and researchers create the technology to utilize lunar water as a source of energy, mine asteroids to extract metals, minerals and water for consuming it as a reusable source of energy and as a protection shield against radiation and asteroid collision.
Q- When is NASA planning to colonize the moon?
Ans- NASA is launching Artemis mission by 2024 to perform crucial groundwork needed for humanity to further explore and potentially colonize our Moon.
Q- What type of natural resources does the moon have?
Ans- Solar power, oxygen, and metals are abundant resources on the Moon. Elements known to be present on the lunar surface include, among others, hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), silicon (Si), iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), aluminium (Al), manganese (Mn) and titanium (Ti). Among the more abundant are oxygen, iron and silicon. The atomic oxygen content in the regolith is estimated at 45% by weight.
Q- What is the temperature on the Moon?
Ans- Temperature on the Moon can range between -173 degree Celcius and 127 degree Celcius.
Q- Is the moon hot or cold?
Ans- Moon is very hot in day time and very cold in night time.