From The Pale Blue Dot

On The Survival Of Our Species: Our Multi-Purpose Moon

From+The+Pale+Blue+Dot

R. L. T. Prankard, Cactus Writer

As the resources upon which our civilization has built itself become scarcer and scarcer, as the world begins to groan beneath the continued growth of our population, we must pull our gaze from the Earth and turn it out towards the Cosmos. Our home world can only sustain us for so long before we face two choices: either leave Earth and expand out amongst the stars, or stay in the cradle and let our place of birth become our deathbed. In the past century, we have not been so kind to the Earth. By rending it open to get at and burn unnecessary fuels (which damage the biosphere), we pull ourselves closer to an already nearing deadline. When we could be looking up towards Sol, our own sun, for energy, we instead look down at the Earth, and began to spread about waste in our cradle. It is time to learn from past mistakes and look upwards for our survival. As a race, we must aim to spread out amongst the Cosmos, and seek to find new stars, around which inhabitable worlds may possibly revolve.
Yet, before we can take such a massive leap outwards, humankind must focus inwards at our own solar system. In order to prepare ourselves for this endeavor, we must look even further inward to Earth’s most luminescent natural satellite: the moon, Luna. This celestial body is far from the center of our planet’s gravitational pull, and every year slowly slips further away by a fraction of an inch. This reduction of Earth’s gravitational influence will make it easier for spacecraft to escape the planet’s pull, which in turn will allow us to use less fuel in order to proceed towards the other worlds that await us. NASA currently has plans to capture a nearby asteroid and place it in stable orbit around our moon as soon as in the 2020s. If successful, this asteroid will be studied and then used as a staging platform from which manned missions to Mars will begin, possibly in the 2030s. Also, preliminary plans for an internationally funded moon base were revealed at the most recent Global Lunar Conference; a moon base that many hope will be established by 2050.

Now, aside from existing as a perfect preparation and launch area, the moon is rich with resources, which have become so very scarce here on Earth. It is believed that rare-earth elements lie beneath the surface of our celestial neighbor, elements which form the basis of much of our technology. The lunar body is seen as holding an abundance of helium-3, as well, which is a unique and rare helium isotope which could make the process of obtaining energy from nuclear fusion all the more efficient. Should this be the case, helium-3 could become our next great nuclear energy source, yielding little to no radioactive waste through the fusion process. Also, the moon currently contains around sixteen billion tons of water ice. This water ice can be mined and used to create the propellant, which many of our modern rockets utilize.

Its convenient position, along with its abundance of resources, makes Luna the most reliable option as humankind’s launchpad into the Cosmos. With the exponential growth of technology, which our civilization sees on a daily basis, it would come as no surprise if we began to build and launch spacecraft on the lunar surface. From the moon, we can expand out into our solar system, and from our solar system, to the Cosmos. It is up to us as a species to see that the slowly dimming flame of our existence is carried out amongst the stars to grow into a brilliant, roaring fire. If we should refuse to look up towards the innumerable pathways of prosperity above, we will suffocate and die beneath the excrement, which slowly accumulates in our cradle.