How Close Are We to Building a Moon Base?
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How Close Are We to Building a Moon Base?


The moon is the closest celestial body to
Earth. Humans have been gazing up at it for our entire
existence, finally landing on its surface in the 1960s. We’ve walked on the moon, carried out science
experiments on the moon, we’ve even driven a car, hit golf balls and briefly grew cotton
on the moon. So, the obvious next question is, when are
we going to start living on the moon? For decades pop culture has been teasing us
with lunar colonies, military bases, space hotels and more, but in order to populate
the moon, or other planets, we may need to start small. So, how close are we to a lunar base? Now, let’s first clear up what we mean when
we say “lunar base.” We’re not talking about a bustling, domed
metropolis. We’re talking about, an outpost, a lab,
a lunar habitat where scientists, or possibly rich tourists, can live and work for an extended
period of time, maybe something similar to the 6 month average stay of an astronaut on
the ISS. For the
first time in human history we are going to the Moon not to go and come back, but we are
trying to go to the Moon and stay there, hence we need to have a Moon base, like a base where
we could live through science, through operations with maybe six astronauts altogether. Only twelve people have ever set foot on the
moon, the last being Eugene Cernan and Jack Schmitt during Apollo 17 way back in 1972. Since then we’ve accomplished many amazing
things in space, from landing a rover on Mars to a breathtaking flyby of Pluto. But we haven’t sent anyone back to the moon…yet. I think what we’re going to see is a big ramping
up of interest in lunar exploration, both in orbit and at the surface, internationally,
from national agencies and governments, but also from the private sector and from commercial
entities. This interest is going to be driven by science,
by engineering, by technology development, by preparing for future exploration, by understanding
the resources that we find locally at the Moon, and how we can use those things to prepare
us for what we do later… You see, setting up a base on the moon may
be key to, not only understanding our past, but to jumpstarting our future. We can study the impact craters and geology
to help us better understand the formation of our solar system. We can set up radio telescopes on the far
side which would be shielded from Earth’s electromagnetic interference, which would
enable us to better study the big bang. And we can use a moon base as a testing ground
for an eventual space colony. Because, right now, we have no data on the
health of astronauts living on another astronomical body for months at a time. And maybe most importantly, we can discover
how efficiently we can be on another world, since we won’t be able to ship all of our
supplies. So if we as a species want to go beyond, if
we want to live in space, if we want to work elsewhere in the solar system, then the way
we do that is we go to the Moon, and we learn to live and work for prolonged periods of
time away from the Earth using the resources that we find locally. One possible important resource might be newly
confirmed lunar ice, which scientists think we could use to create rocket fuel. We could extract the ice, isolate the oxygen
and hydrogen, and manufacture fuel on the moon, meaning lunar visitors wouldn’t be
bogged down with the extra weight of return fuel. Another resource is the regolith, which some
space agencies think may be the key to building a moon base. Well, if you wanted to build a moon base,
the sort of obvious thing is you’d want to use lunar regolith as your basic building
material, because there’s lots of it. If you have to import your construction materials
from Earth, it’s just a ridiculously expensive thing to do, you know? So you need to develop the capacity to turn
regolith into something useful, and there’s been a lot of proposals. What we should do is something completely
different, that is we have to ship to the moon a 3D printer and the 3D printer, using
the dust that is already on the Moon, so the Moon regolith, would build completely automatically
using the sunlight endlessly available on the Moon surface,
by baking layer after layer the Moon base in a completely automatic manner. Others think we could start shipping modules
to the moon piece by piece, similar to how we’ve built space stations in low earth
orbit. Or we could just dig an underground bunker,
tunneling under the regolith. But whichever plan we go with, there needs
to be thick walls between the people inside and the harmful environment outside. The Moon can be very hot during the daytime
and very cold at night, so you need to be able to moderate those temperatures so that
astronauts can live in a comfortable environment. You’re also exposed to radiation that comes
from the Sun and from deep space, and so you need to find ways of reducing the radiation
that astronauts are exposed to. A base on the moon would look basically like
a very large hill from the outside. And the reason for that is there’s quite a
bit of radiation on the surface of the moon…For your radiation shielding you need about five
or six meters, about 15 to 20 feet. And you’ve got to pile that on top of your
modules, which are probably a good 10 feet. So you’ve got basically a hill 30 or 40 feet
tall. The inside, particularly for early bases,
is probably very much like the inside of the International Space Station. Lots of wires and laptops and metal and storage
units and stuff like that…. But of course this very large hill will need
to be top of the line, equipped and set up with everything needed to maintain a lunar
crew. The major thing you’re going to need is, of
course, to be able to get there, to get back, to be able to enable astronauts to survive,
to be able to work in a comfortable environment that is safe, but then also to have the facilities
that are needed for research and for transport around the lunar surface. In particular, power is going to be a major
aspect of any infrastructure. Well, the stuff you need before you build
a moon base is very similar to what you need for anything else in space. The first, most important thing is you have
to be able to breathe. So that means you need a pressure vessel,
and it means you need an atmosphere that has enough oxygen and enough other stuff so the
oxygen doesn’t turn into an inferno. You need food. Of course, the food needs a lot of water,
because you need water to grow crops You’re going to have to have massive resupply
from Earth or you’re going to have to figure out how to get water out of the lunar soil. Yes, a lunar base does seem futuristic and
sci-fi, but we’re already working on all the things required down here on Earth. We’re 3D printing building blocks using
materials that simulate lunar regolith. Scientists are planning missions to further
study lunar ice in order to better prepare for extraction. There are groundbreaking greenhouses around
the world proving agriculture can flourish inside. And with the rise of private space companies,
the cost of sending supplies or people to the moon might be on its way down, especially
if Elon Musk’s “Big Falcon Rocket” comes to fruition. This is the rocket that is hoping to send
a Japanese billionaire to the moon and one day carry some of the first Mars explorers. So, then what is stopping us? First of all, in my opinion more than a technical
aspect or a technical issue, more than that is a political issue. What we need to solve is we need to get all
the political need and will to do a mission of this proportion. We need to have not just Europe, not just
the United States, but certainly Europe, certainly the United States, Russia, India, China, Japan,
Canada all working in a mission of this proportion. I think the fundamental reason there’s not
a base on the moon today is there’s not enough interest to justify the right resources necessary. So, all we have to do is convince the governments
of the world to work together and put up billions of dollars in order to advance our understanding
of our solar system and ensure that living off Earth could be a viable option. Oh, and make sure the base is usable, safe,
has enough power, water, food, heat and oxygen. Seems easy enough. So, how close are we to a moon base? The way things are steady state, we’re not
particularly close to a moon base. People have ideas, but there’s no funded project
that says, “And when we’re done, we’re going to have built a moon base.” It just doesn’t exist at the moment. However, we’ve got these really incredible
vehicles coming online from SpaceX, or at least we hope they’re going to come online
within not too terribly long. If those vehicles become available, and they
meet something resembling what industry rumor and SpaceX says they might meet, then you
could easily see serious progress on a lunar base in five or ten years. So my hope is that within 10 or so years from
now, we would be having the first human missions returning to the lunar surface. So once we’ve done that, we can start to build
up the capabilities that we would need, and so my expectation is that a base at the lunar
surface, based on current planning, would become possible during the mid to end point
of the 2030s. That’s when I would expect it to happen. To state how close we are is very difficult
for me at the moment. What I can say is that what we need to have,
again, I’m saying this many times because this is really the missing bit at the moment. We need to have the will of many political
entities in the world to decide to go and build a Moon base. In my opinion, we are certainly not talking
about hundreds of years, we are talking about few decades to get a functioning Moon base
on the Moon surface. Great, where do I sign up? If this episode piqued your interest on lunar travel, you should check out our Apollo series. It covers each Apollo mission, from the tragic to the triumphant. Check out the complete series playlist. Thanks for watching and don’t forget to share, subscribe and comment.

100 Comments

  • Olivier Divry

    At least one project that would involve every nation on earth as regard financial , technical or scientifical capabilities, or even every humans ! Should we wait to face a cosmic cataclysm ?

  • RICARDO A ORTEGA-CORDOVA

    Look up Instarz, LLC. They are a company that is manufacturing space habitats for the colonization of the moon and mars.

  • TheSeattlegreen

    This is one hundred percent pseudoscience people.
    There is no such thing as space the Moon is not a Celestial 3D object where you can land Freemasons on.

  • Pandoran Bias

    Step 1: Build a moonbase
    Step 2: Build a steady trade network
    Step 3: Build a construction station
    Step 4: Build an O'Neill cylinder
    Step 5: Gundam

  • Dashiell Gillingham

    Farther than we are from building a Mars base, which the American National Air and Space Administration seems to be seriously going through with.

  • AWESOM-O

    and with the budgets that are required you can hire 1000 homeless people to do the boring stuff for $100k/y for 10 years without anyone asking "where did that billion go?"

  • Skip- Ad

    When you move, you should be going somewhere better.
    Why the F should we want to live on the moon. No trees, water, vegetation, animals…are you for real?
    Why bother.
    Lunar habitat…oh please. Who cares.

  • Brick Dude

    Imagine in the future, we will colonize the whole solar system and we can travel through Neptune in just 10 minutes LOL

  • Raghuwansh Raj

    wow, no one even bothers to talk about " van Allen belt ". I mean if possible till 1972 why not after that?

  • mariano alippi

    The UI Design is perfect you have to fin the way to inmerce this perfect narration into react.js virtual reality for testing and education

  • Real world

    We do not need to convince whole world… 95% world country are still living in old age or under Islamic era..

    We only need to work together with
    1 America (nato)
    2) Europe
    3) Japan
    4) India
    5) China…. Thats it… Bring all on one table…

  • Tony Wilson

    I just watched the one about How close to building a moon base. Forget pop-culture they have zero clue. Other than that what I have seen here is for one of the few times logical. The pop culture crap has bee so misleading at times it makes it so hard to make actual progress. We need to stop being bogged down with dumb stuff and simply get on with what we need to do. There are technology programs that have been so underfunded because so much money was sucked up by the shuttle and then the ISS. Yes we needed both, but we needed both to be more cost effective.

  • AdmiralBonetoPick

    Why not colonize Antarctica? It's warmer, has breathable air, your body won't deteriorate from low gravity, and you don't need expensive rockets to get there or export raw materials.

  • mariano alippi

    It is fascinating the UI 3D visualizations of homes on the moon I am thinking a way that Seeker and Elegant Themes could elevate its content with the automation of javascript to create 3D UI Dimensions interactively in the cloud directly in the browser so as to sustantiable reduce the cost of the educational game here is a very little proof that javascript could be automated to live a full dimension for UI UX Designers I hope you can see this incredible fun futuristic massive business here is a very small example of its potential https://youtu.be/jyVIziiEiww

  • Henry Wijaya

    I don't agree with mining the ice for rocket fuel, but for life support on moon, it's OK.
    Because when you use it as rocket fuel, it vaporises in space and you can't get it back, the moon has a finite amount of ice so better not.
    Just carry fuel from earth, earth have too much water ,lol,

  • Daniel Rothschild

    The biggest enemy of space exploration is not international conflict but international cooperation. The reality is America stopped caring about the moon mostly cause Russia never made it and the treaties forbiding weoponizing space came about. Realistically the only thing that could convince the US goverment to put the same type of money into space exploration as it did during the Appollo era would be indications that Russia or China might get back there first and start claiming territory. It is not a coincidence that the entirety of rocket technology came about against a backdrop of some the greatest political and economic conflict the world has known in recent memory. Without it, there is no urgency to mobilize the seismic scale of resources needed to advance the technology to a point where it becomes economicly feasible. The point is, if you want humans to got the moon; kickstart WW3.

  • koteswar009

    India launched few days back its second Moon mission ( only 141 million USD) and this time will land first time in south pole, and in 2024 NASA will land humans where India studies the surface. Lets see what happens, will NASA send humans again.

  • Bondy

    So far there is no proof of any fully developed and tested off planet human habitat. i.e. Neither conventionally manufactured or 3D printed additively manufactured survival Moon base structure. That will take at least two to three years to develop and test and require an additional 6 to 12 months of Moon testing, before sending humans there to live. Thus they would have to have this tech ready for Moon Launch by 2023 at the latest.

  • Bornalee Hatiboruah

    So we want to go back to moon because we can use the lunar ice as fuel? Jesus first our earth now moon? What else we are going to destroy.

  • Tony B. online

    My problem is that I am so old that I have heard all of this many times before and nothing happens. I have a digital program I recorded off PBS in 1989 that predicted an active flourishing moon base in 2017 – It never happened.

  • Parag Bhattacharya

    World leaders should subdue their ego and earthly politics so that human beings can progress to the cosmos

  • Old Guy

    Come back to my comment in 2030 to thumb up when i say that there is NO CHANCE by then we will have or ever have a 'moon base'.

  • Mark Arnott

    👨‍💻im a pest – > NOT going to happen ever 😳🏴‍☠️or mars muppeteers listen up real careful as Long as we have so called politicians Muppets voted to run our lives were doomed until we delete the old politician corrupted system invented by the elite rich 😼🗯who are too fat & old to give a fook don't bother UNTIL mark my words pushing CHIT UPHILL HERETAX PAYERS really need a new way of government not 1 idiot who thinks hes god like ok bad👍🐱‍🐉

  • S parmar

    As an Indian I would say their is always an alternative. Space exploration doesnt mean we need lots of money to invest. It also doesnot mean govt shold cut down some budget and invest more in space.
    Thats pretty scarcity mindset westerners grew with.

  • Skullz Esac

    "We need the 'governments' of the world to "put up" billions of dollars". Governments need to deregulate low and deep space travel for the private sector and prioritize "their" billions of dollars. Lets not forget "their" billions of dollars come from taxes payers that want better lives for their families and children, not moon bases.

  • Kemarat Affeltranger

    Its posible the heaven promise comes true you are choosen👩‍⚕️👨‍⚕️👨‍🎓👩‍🎓👨‍🔬👩‍🔬👨‍✈️👩‍✈️👨‍🚀👩‍🚀

  • setrak manoukian

    U r a total smeg head man keep on dreaming, while i watch star trek, love that show … Cheers u dingbat ..

  • Francis Kandt

    How close are we. how close are we
    How close are we how close are we
    How close are we. how close are we
    How close are we. how close are we
    How close are we how close are we how close are we
    How close are we how close are we how close are we
    How close are we how close are we how close are we
    How close are we how close are we how close are we
    How close are we how close are we
    How close are we how close are we
    How close are we how close are we

    Edit: this is never finish so feel free to roast me or not like😁

  • prolamer7

    Iam sick from this halfassed plans. If you plan to build stupid ant hill for 6 peoples you of course dont ever do even that. Who except trained monkeys would want to live there ? Noone and even monkeys would be happy to go back to earth in few months.
    Initial plan must be much more optimistic and bigger, so you can downsize down the road and still can house 30-60 people. Anythin smaller is just another uselles waste of time, because it is not big enough to sustain itself.
    Base need to be full underground, tunells made by something like Musk is creating. If not all just fail miserably… again who would want to be shooted in giant rocket to the stupid 6 people anthill. Maybe few idiots, but thats it and then project again die.

  • Khadijah Brown

    Information recent to me, asserts that the largest obstacle to Lunar or Martian bases is radiation, and lots of it. Apparently there are serious consequences shown in some of the health of Lunar Astronauts.
    https://observer.com/2016/07/space-radiation-devastated-the-lives-of-apollo-astronauts/

  • CringeScience-MrPhysics

    No. we can NOT set up radio telescopes on the far side of the moon.

    The far side of the moon, because it is tidal locked with the planet, takes about 80-85% of the asteroid impacts. Doing that is a financial waste.

  • Richard Jenkins

    Automunus robots and 3d printing structures are key. Robots can and should build the bulk of the building shells. You can build very large structures with thick walls. The water in on the lunar surface alone is enough to fuel rockets, provide oxygen, water to drink for humans and plants.

  • Matthew Taylor

    I bet you 100 pounds they are already there from my research project horizon was actually a back project that they actually carried out. What about all the orbs seen flying all over the moon and black triangles frying to the moon cigar looking craft too I think breakway civilizations are already there.

  • igoski1

    A large amount of people don't believe we have ever been to the moon in the 1960s. (Guessing their number is from 11 to 25 percent of the population) If there is a return to the moon, do these incredibly stupid people eat crow, or do they double down and refuse to believe a new return trip?

  • JOHN EDWARDS

    AOC said we could be up there within a few days we’re going to build a bridge and use rubberband powered cars we can put the cows up there too so we can’t smell their farts.

  • Wilkse1

    The moon is peppard with craters from meteors as it hasn't an orbit like earth's that burns most of them up. My question is how would they stop a meteor hitting a base on the moon?

  • MarianM TV

    Why invest billions of dollars in a Moon base,when you can invest billions of dollars in a Mars base.Because Mars we can make to look like Earth,Mars we just needs to heat it.But the Moon will never be like Earth.
    You understand what I mean.
    We can create our future on Mars.With a base on Mars,we not only research the planet better but also make it habitable.And you know something,if one day the end of the world is coming.We’ll have a New home.People will survive.
    Humanity will not disappear from the universe.
    What I mean is Why we invest billions of dollars in a base on the Moon(which we can never do do to look like the Earth),it’s better to invest in a base on Mars.

  • James McHarry

    Earth is the largest small planet in the solar system. We need a rotating space station in the shape of a wheel with the spaceport in the center. The reason for this is out when people are returning from Mars which only has 38% of the gravity of earth they need rehabilitation and that could take place on the rotating space Station. Depending how far away from the center you could ramp up the percentage of earths gravity from 40 to 60 to 80 to 100%.

  • infin8vibrations

    Too difficult as flesh and bone humans.. either we need to augment ourselves or double down on AI and robotics and the bow out of the equation

  • Patrick Martin

    Crazy question about a moon base. Modern astronauts can't figure out how to get through the van allen radiation belts. They "quote" lost the technology. Moon my ass, big money racket.

  • Ambient Soda

    I believe you need a ship, that is also a base, that can land stay and leave when the need arises. Ive wondered if the falcon rocket will use similar thrusters seen on supposed UFO's.

  • Stopsign32v

    We also thought that in 2015 there would be flying cars. 10 years is nothing in real time…Something of this magnitude is 50+ years EASILY away.

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