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To Infinity, and Beyond!

By , Reno, NV
Many ask “What is out there?” and the answer… well, we don’t know. But we can find out, all the while solving problems that are rapidly becoming greater threats to life. Overpopulation concerns are rapidly growing, and a compromise to restricting human rights is to just get space. As in, find another, brand new place to build, and this isn’t necessarily available on Earth. To ensure the future of humanity, we need to expand into the non-terran universe as quickly and effectively as possible.

As mentioned, overpopulation is a growing problem. We are running out of room to put people, and there is very little land left to devote to urban development without impacting any agricultural establishments. That is side two of the problem, food production. Despite its constant growth, it is not nearly enough to match the growth of hungry people in the world. This isn’t a joke, if not checked and solved, many people could die from lack to one of two, or both, essentials to life. Food and shelter are generally the most important; to have both lacking is exceptionally dangerous. Leading experts say that the population of the planet will increase by about 2.5 billion in the next 50 years, providing our crackdown on deadly diseases isn’t accomplished. If it is, then we can expect many, many more. That is 149,000 people a day. 149,000 people are roughly three football stadiums of capacity.

People then ask “How does going to the Moon and Mars help?” where the answer is simply more space. Even if it’s not much, it provides a “quick fix” solution to find a more permanent and effective method. As for food, hydroponics only allow so much. There are concerns that a full farm is not viable in a no-atmosphere environment, regardless of pressurized structures. But even then, the smaller installations could provide invaluable controlled experiments into bio-engineering food, to prevent any “environment contamination by faulty or dangerous modifications.”

A long-term goal for any Moon/Mars colonies could be more practical in terms of resources and tactical positions. By “tactical” I do not mean military. More concerns revolve around costs of any colonization efforts than other matters, but it is more cost-effective to go than to not. There are many, many valuable and rare resources trapped within the Moon’s soil and outer core. Some of these include Helium-3, a very expensive compound in terms of processing here on Earth mainly used for fusion research, Uranium of various types, for fission reactors, and massive deposits of iron and sulfur. Mining of these resources could provide an economic and industrial boom back on Earth, as well as the solution to the long awaited “Energy Crisis” where most fossil fuels are too expensive for mass production of electricity. There are “consumable” resources there as well, and means to extracting this oxygen, water, helium and nitrogen are being researched by the ISRU (In Situ Research Utilization, where situ here means, on the “colony” itself.)
The processing of all this would easily topple any initial costs for the project, as well as providing its own funding for the future. More practical uses in terms of location would be a “jump point” for further expansion. Any trips to Mars would likely pass through the Moon first, for a final check-up and restock in a hard vacuum environment. More concerns are practicality, it would be very hard to transport such things like water to any colony, but there is in fact water, stored as ice, underneath the surface of the Moon, at its poles, as proven by the orbiter “Clementine” in 1994.

The truly most impacting thing that may come out of such an endeavor would be the technology advancements. Research could be done in truly controlled environments too dangerous to do on Earth but necessary for further development of the field in science. Deep-space research could be properly done in no-atmosphere environments with the actual needed equipment. Of course, we have this research already in the space stations, but they lack the true means to gather anything useful quickly enough. The Apollo missions back in the ‘60s had at max 4 kilobytes of storage for electronic data. Imagine what we could bring back with current technology, and the stuff brought back then jumped our tech forward a few years.

The resources mentioned earlier could help unlock new things back on Earth, from terraforming to fusion. Any fusion breakthrough would advance our technological level forward nearly one hundred years, as true interstellar flight becomes viable with an energy source like fusion. More extra-terrestrial research could be done into what is commonly called “shielding” against the many hypervelocity particles found in space, as well as new weapons research, it’s inevitable anyway, into directional weapons (lasers). The moon also does not have an ozone layer, making it much more viable for advanced astrology to see ultra-violet light, making it easier to see into the origins of the universe. There are other hopes that such an undertaking would promote major global cooperation between the world superpowers.
NASA discusses all of these points in the six “Global Exploration Strategies.” by breaking our Earthly barrier, truly breaking it, we can open a new Golden Age for humanity as a whole. Settling in space can provide the “push” that is required to start preservation of our only true home for many years. But, none of it can happen if all you think of is the bad things about it. Yes, there can be horrible accidents, from the likely to the near-impossible, but without doing this we are almost certainly doomed to life that never leaves Earth. So, make sure to support any colonization efforts within your life, be it financially or physically. You help all of humanity, and I for one, would find a colonization project I am part of to be an experience like no other.

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