The first man landed on the moon in 1969, and we’ve been obsessed with getting back there ever since. So what’s stopping us from establishing a permanent moon base?

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At some point, we’ve probably all dreamed of packing up and moving to a faraway country. And if you really want to put some space between yourself and the hustle-bustle of Earth, the moon may be just the place for you. It’s 384,400 kilometers away — close enough to travel back home… but far enough to keep random salesmen (and your in-laws) from knocking on your door.

So why aren’t we living there yet?

The holdup comes down to a few factors: First, there’s the technology. From a purely technological standpoint, we know we can reach the moon. But reaching the moon and living on it are two different things. Future lunar colonists will need to bring or create their own sustainable sources of power, air, water, food and shelter. Bringing material from Earth is incredibly expensive – for example, with our current technology it costs about $400,000 to haul one gallon of water into space. So we have to figure out how to make a lunar colony as self-sufficient as possible. Future colonists may rely on the moon’s frozen water, for example, and grow food in hydroponic farms for food. This is all possible – but prohibitively expensive.

Most experts believe that our methods of reaching the moon have to become more cost-efficient and energy-effective to support large-scale operations.

These advancements will require a lot of effort, which means they’ll need significant financial support. Both governments and private entities are giving this a shot. But each path comes with its own strings attached: Private industries require the potential for short- or long-term profit. And government funded space programs will require both political and popular support from their citizens. And that can be pretty difficult at times. In early 2010, economics and politics in the US indefinitely postponed NASA’s latest plans for a moon base. But America’s not the only player in the game. That same year, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) unveiled plans to establish an unmanned lunar base by 2020. And in May of 2014 Russia also revealed its proposal to build a permanent moon base by 2030. And in the private sphere, Google’s Lunar X Prize competition continues to advance small-scale lunar spacecraft technology by encouraging teams from around the world to create hardware, software and vehicles for future lunar endeavors.

So there’s no question: The race to settle the moon is on, and there are numerous possible benefits. It’s possible that we could build spacecraft more efficiently, mine helium-3 and establish our species’ first foothold in the stars… and at this point it seems more feasible than ever before. According to the latest plans, human beings could be living on the moon within the next few decades. But will the latest round of ambitious proposals lead to a real lunar colony, or only another series of financial boondoggles?

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22 COMMENTS

  1. well, I'm all for colonizing other worlds, but it's better to solve our own issues here on Earth before making the move. With a runaway oligarchic system like ours (consuming the Earth alive more resources than she can replace), I'm scared of what  these greedy elites can do to other worlds

  2. Instead of mars and shit, we should go to the moon. Much closer and easier to get to. We could use it as a launch base for future missions. But it will be extremely expensive and take alot of time and research. The Apollo moon program cost $150billion in today's money. And that was just to spend a few hours on the moon each time. We can expect that a full lunar colony may cost around $300billion or something.

  3. People worried about the expensive stuff doing on moon that's so close to us :-O but look for planet like light years far? May find perfect planet but any idea how much it gonna cost to take people that far like light years like so many times? ….oh man…

  4. How about this… Fuck Mars. Fuck MarsOne. Re-name it to MoonOne, or whatever you want it to be. Mars is just stupid and to much of a leap. Baby steps man, baby steps.

  5. Most people are worried about colonizing Mars and Venus. I say we start with the moon its closer and smaller. And would take way less effort.

    If the moon succeeds we move onto Terra forming Mars. As far as Venus right we just don't have the technology I say we wait a few hundred years its not like its going anywhere.

  6. I don't see why money is a problem. I mean if we just got rid of money we could solve millions of problems. I MEAN ITS THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY! FORGET THE MONEY, MAKE THE FREAKIN SPACECRAFT AND STATIONS!!!

  7. Living on the moon? Yes, it's the future. I strongly believe in it. With the advent of improved technologies, aircrafts and EM drive,  I have a strong notion that we will be able to setup a sort of permanent base at moon by 2020 and kind of paraterraform it by 2030.

  8. Can't think of anything to comment so I'm just going to post a pancake recipe.
    1 1/2 cups milk
    1 egg
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 cups White Wings self-raising flour
    1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    1/3 cup caster sugar
    25g butter, melted
    Whisk milk, egg and vanilla together in a jug. Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Stir in sugar. Make a well in centre. Add milk mixture. Whisk until just combined.
    Step 2

    Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brush pan with butter. Using 1/4 cup mixture per pancake, cook 2 pancakes for 3 to 4 minutes or until bubbles appear on surface. Turn and cook for 3 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining mixture, brushing pan with butter between batches. Serve.

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