Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Where Is The Best Spot For A Lunar Colony?

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Scientists seem to be engaged in a debate as to where should humanity first set up a lunar colony. While some argue in favor of the polar regions, others look at the darker Maria instead.

(New Scientist Space) ...[A]t least one landing site should be located on dark volcanic rock deposits--called pyroclastic deposits--mainly found away from the Moon's poles.

The deposits are thought to run deep and contain extremely fine-grained particles likely to be rich in material that could be used for in situ manufacturing. Besides raw materials, McKay says, the overall advantage is that "producing oxygen and hydrogen from lunar pyroclastics may be significantly simpler and cheaper than from any other lunar feedstock."

Resources are an important factor when colonizing any world, something Mars seems to be lacking when compared to the Moon. The debate basically boils down towards necessities. While the McKay argues towards the lunar Maria, others provide reasoning for the polar regions.

(New Scientist Space) "Half of the science community says the most interesting place to go is the polar regions and half of the community says it's the equatorial regions," [Butler Hine, deputy program manager for the Robotic Lunar Exploration Program at Ames Research Center in California, US.] says. "But my prediction is that the first lander will go to the polar regions." he told New Scientist.

Heading towards the poles would probably be a wiser maneuver, even if it is easier to mine oxygen from the general plains. Doing so would enable colonists to take advantage of the suns rays as the poles are a perfect spot to build solar panels on.

But hopefully these scientists will be able to arrive at a conclusion as to where we should start building a lunar base. Because if we do not move beyond the debate because of slight preferences, Russia may beat America towards the surface.

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You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

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