To The Moon, All IceNovember 13, 2009
Now that NASA has confirmed the presence of vast quantities of water on the moon, space nerds are growing more and more excited about the release of the new Star Trek movie on Blu-Ray, and also about the possibility of building a permanent lunar colony.
I have been asked to provide some suggestions for the space program as smart-type people plan this next stage of moonal exploration. I thought about this for almost five minutes, and here are my ideas:
- The presence of water means human life can sustain itself without costly shipments of water from Earth. Food supplies can be transported fairly easily in condensed, powdered or Hot Pocket form, but water is heavy and we need a lot of it. Mostly for drinking, but also for hygiene, except for space nerds.
- Most of the water is apparently ice, so they could build the base out of the ice itself. Like in that James Bond movie with the invisible car. Hey, they should also put invisible moon buggies in the invisible ice moon base. That way aliens won’t see it.
- Seriously, though, the first stage would have to be a massive melting and distillation facility so we could use the water. This could cost a lot; I suggest moving the Dr. Phil show to the moon to let his hot air do the job. Also, this rids us of Dr. Phil.
- The big question concerns breathable oxygen: there isn’t any on the moon. While tanks of it could be transported to the moon on the next generation of shuttles, this is not very practical. My idea is a lot simpler: a big pipe between the Earth and the moon. It would be tethered to the lunar base but just hang well into Earth’s atmosphere and work like a siphon. I call it Project Space Snorkel.
- Another theory suggests using inflatable habitats to build a “tent city” on the moon. I’m not crazy about this. All it would take is one asshole who forgets to push that little rubber nipple back in, and the whole place deflates.
- An obvious idea suggests itself: hockey. The NHL is eyeing expansion again, perhaps even to Europe … why not go further afield? Can you imagine low-gravity hockey on lunar ice? The rink would have to be 10 times the size of the ones we use now, but man, my wrist shot would go for miles. And probably hit Dr. Phil in the mouth.
The most likely scenario, though, would see NASA team up with other countries’ space programs to build a permanent moon station (with rotating staff) designed to aid the construction and launch of spaceships heading for Mars and beyond. If this ever happens, there’ll be a Starbucks, a Subway and a Wal-Mart within weeks.
In other words, count me in.