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Spaceship Earth, Our Moon, Why Are We Going Back?

Updated on September 29, 2019
lawrence01 profile image

The universe is vast and wonderful. It can make us feel so small and insignificant, but it can also make us feel so special that we're here.

One of the greatest achievements of mankind.

Why would we go back here?
Why would we go back here? | Source

Our companion, the Moon

As I sit thinking about this article there's one thing that is on my mind, and that's simply that no matter where we are on this earth, no matter what we're feeling there's one companion that we all have, he's there looking over our shoulder all the time, not saying anything, just being there, and no matter how far we are from loved ones, he looks down on them too.

I'm not speaking of God with this, but about a lump of rock that has what we, Humans, like to think is a 'face' though it's really just four craters caused by asteroid impacts, but those craters often allow us as Humans to think of that rock as a 'person' like no other.

I'm talking about the Moon, our Moon, our own very special Moon that's unique in so many ways.

Fifty years ago we went there, partly to say that we'd simply 'been there' as a publicity stunt, and partly simply because it was an obstacle that we wanted to conquer, but now, if you follow the news closely you'll realize we're planning to go back there, and a lot sooner than you might think.

In the last hub, we explored a little of what the Moon is made of and how it came into being, interestingly enough both the Bible and science tell us that the Moon is actually younger than the Earth.

An unusual body.

If you were to look at our solar system you'd be fascinated to discover that the planets in our system can be split into two categories. The four closest planets to the sun are small and rocky, they're known as 'terrestrial' planets.

The outer planets of our solar system are all much larger than the 'terrestrial' planets and have atmospheres so thick we haven't actually 'seen' their surface! Jupiter and Saturn are both 'Gas Giants' where we can't detect the surface, but know that the pressure of the gases are so intense they would crush anything that tried to enter them, Uranus and Neptune are covered in so much Ice that it's impossible to tell where the surface really is, and there's something else really strange about these planets, something that only the Earth breaks the mould with.

Of the four planets that make up the inner solar system, two, Mercury and Venus have no Moons at all, one, Mars has two moons that are so small they're basically asteroids that got caught by the planet's gravity and can't break free.

Only Earth has a large Moon big enough to influence the way the planet's ecosystem works, big enough to influence the tides on the planet's surface, though it isn't just the Moon that causes them, but a combination of both the Sun and Moon.

Many native cultures on Earth plant their crops according to a lunar cycle, waiting until the Moon is in a particular position before planting their crops, no one is totally sure how this works, but the current theory is that the Moon's gravitational 'pull' works on moisture in the soil to help the plant grow.

But there are any astounding facts about the Moon that we are still finding out, it may be our nearest neighbour, but it's also the one place that shows us how much we really don't know about our own 'back yard'

Back there by 2024

You heard it, but why would we go?

And they're not the only ones wanting to go!

China has said that they intend to land people on the Moon in the next twenty years. Russia has said "By the year 2030" and even both Israel and India launched probes to the Moon this year, both of those probes crashed, but the Chinese successfully landed a rover that has been exploring the far said of the Moon since this January!

But why?


There are a couple of reasons, some of which make economic sense, and others paint a stark picture.

Here they are.

  1. Building observatories. It's been the dream of astronomers to build places where they can observe the workings of the universe without interference from either the light created by Earth or radio interference by man-made systems.
  2. Learning about new technologies. Some of the technology that man is using is downright dangerous, but we need them, or at least need to know how they work so that we can build safer and better devices. Nuclear Fusion or 'cold fusion' is regarded as the safer option over Nuclear fission, but we had to learn about fission (splitting the Atom) first, wouldn't it be better to take that tech to places far away from where the main Human population live.
  3. Asteroid mining, this one is already on the 'testbed' as companies are lining up to carry this out. Our planet has huge but finite resources, and we're starting to run out of them! Gold isn't just a valuable metal for its colour, it's also one of the best materials for insulation, many space probes are lined with Gold to insulate them from the extreme temperatures of outer space, Uranium used both in military and civilian devices is rare on Earth, and nearly all the Uranium we've found here has come from Meteorites, that's because it's so heavy as a metal that almost all of it has sunk into the Earth's core, but it's plentiful in Asteroids, then there's platinum, Silica (used for rechargeable batteries and electric cars) each of which are rare on Earth, but plentiful in space!
  4. Planetary defence. Right now NASA is tracking at least four large asteroids that might (with a little nudge, like getting affected by another planet's gravity) hit the Earth causing massive damage, next year they hope to launch a probe to see if these celestial bodies might be 'knocked off course' with a collision. The idea is to test if they can be deflected if it's ever needed. Follow that up with a base on the Moon tracking even further out, and with capabilities to send devices out to intercept these rocks long before the people are even aware of them.
  5. As a safeguard against extinction.

The fact is that in the long term, Humanity doesn't really have much of a choice, we have to, or face the real possibility of extinction!

Stephen Hawking went on record as saying that even with the best conservation practices we can think of, all we'd do is halt the present destruction of the planet in the place where it is at the moment, Global warming would still happen, it would just take more time.

We'd still run out of resources eventually, it would just take more time. He c=gave us at most one thousand years, that means from the time before the Norman invasion of Saxon England to sixty years from now. He said if we hadn't found another planet or planets with climates like earth then we face going the way of the Dinosaurs, a very sobering thought.

"It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn't have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let's hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load.

"We are running out of space, and the only places to go to are other worlds. It is time to explore other solar systems. Spreading out may be the only thing that saves us from ourselves. I am convinced that humans need

— Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking explains why we should explore space, and a practical way of reaching the first stars with a probe.

But this about the Moon right?

Yes, it is, but also it's about the future, and the steps we take in exploring the Moon will have consequences or results that will be with us for centuries.

Our Moon has so much to offer us as we take those first steps. A place to study the cosmos away from the lights and interference of earthbound devices. Bases from which to launch probes that will find and mine the materials needed so that Humanity can not just explore the heavens, but can take steps to help the Earth restore what once was.

And it's all there for the taking.

We haven't covered everything though.

In this hub and the one before it, we only began to 'scratch the surface' of what the Moon means to man, and what it means to our future.

We took a look at some of the government programs going on that will put men and women back on the Moon, but they're not the only ones wanting to go there, especially when you start talking about Asteroid mining there are literally dozens of companies lining up to 'have a go' especially with some of the minerals that have been found in the Asteroid belt.

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    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Patricia

      You actually raised good points. We do have serious problems here in Earth, why would we spend such seemingly enormous sums to send a few peolle to the Moon?

      The Apollo programne cost $25 billion or 4% of US GDP in the sixties.

      For ten years it kept 400,000 people employed, building the craft and infrastructure.

      The programne was also responsible for much of the tech we use today, computers were developed that could manage multiple engines and systems.

      Heat resistant material used in construction were developed (Teflon) for the heat shields.

      Machines such as the MRI scanner, the CAT scan and the like all use technology developed by the scientists working in the Apollo programme.

      Also the new programme isn't just going to be 'government' as in NASA alone but there will be commercial partners who will need to explain to shareholders, they will want to make the 'Artemes' programme to be a success.

      Incidenally all those who helped build the ISS are involved.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 months ago from North Central Florida

      You answered questions that I had. They sound like good reasons but I wonder about the cost when we have such huge financial issues right here on Mother Earth. I do not mean to appear small minded and short sighted.... Just wondering....Angels are headed your way this evening. ps

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      7 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Denise

      It was partly about money, and partly that if one nation built a base on the Moon then all the others would feel threatened (insecurity).

      The USA and NASA realised that they could do much more exploration work with unmanned craft than they would be able to with manned craft.

      Unmanned craft have travelled to the furthest edges of our solar system, and the furthest one out is Voyager 1 launched in 1977. It's three times the distance of Pluto to the sun out and still transmitting data back to Earth.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      7 months ago from Fresno CA

      I've heard about asteroid mining. I thought back in the 70s that we would have a moon base by now and wonder what could be taking so long. I assume it's about the money it would take and the logistics of creating a breathable atmosphere station. Thanks for the science lesson.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      7 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      MsDora

      Glad you enjoyed the hub, I'm sure there are a lot more reasons for exploring God's creation.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      7 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      William

      It's interesting that you bring up the Tower of Babel, you could make some powerful comparisons.

      In the Biblical account it was all of mankind with one goal, to become 'like god, or the gods' but going back to the Moon is teaching us how much we don't know and are unlikely to ever fully understand about our universe.

      I read that for the scientist, they find the greatest pleasure when they answer a question and have another one posed by the answer!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      7 months ago from The Caribbean

      Wow! This science lesson was very interesting and I'm smarter now than I was before I read it. Thanks for these details about the moon and man's quest to explore it. Insightful economic reasons!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      7 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thank you 'scratching the surface' on this topic. Not that I'm making a comparison, but there are similarities between this project and the Tower of Babel mentioned in Genesis 11. Interesting topic and put together well, my friend. I enjoyed the videos as well!

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Linda

      That is so true. One thing we've realised in stepping out into space is just how little we really know about the huge expanse that is the Cosmos.

      It was only about a hundred years ago we realised that there was more than one galaxy in the universe, now we can find literally billions of them!

      Only in the 1990s did we answer the question of if there are planets around other stars in our galaxy, now we know of at least four thousand planets around other stars, most of which are bogger than Jupiter, but still, the knowledge comes, and with it more and more questions.

      I agree it's a reminder of how great our creator is, and how small we are, but as the Hymn says

      Oh Lord my God

      When I in awesome wonder

      Consider all the works thy hands have made

      I see the stars

      I hear the rolling Thunder

      Thy works through the universe displayed

      Then sings my soul, My saviour God to thee

      How Great thou art, How great thou art.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      8 months ago from Washington State, USA

      We are limited only by our imagination. What will mankind know 100 years from now? Fascinating. Thank you for writing this. It's a beautiful reminder of how small we are and how great and vast is our Creator.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      John

      So right there, so many possibilities! Glad you enjoyed it.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Rafia

      You have a point. However, even if we kept the Earth in perfect working order, had zerro carbon footprint through all our history and had no issues with global warming or animal extinction we would face the same issues, they are overpopulation and possible extinction through meteorite strike.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      It will be an amazing future, and I'm planning live to at least a hundred so that I can see some of it :-)

      There are a few obstacles on the way, one of which is changes of heart by governments.

      Its interesting that NASA were told by Mike Pense to accelerate the Artemis project (thats the name for returning to the Moon) to 2024 so that any future administration can't cancel it.

      Once they're there NASA will have already built the first parts of the Gateway space station in Lunar orbit so they'll have the resources to launch out further into the cosmos.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      8 months ago from Queensland Australia

      This was the most interesting chapter so far, Lawrence. So many possibilities in regard to how we utilize the Moon. Good job.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      Gabe won't have long to wait. SpaceX is planning taking paying passengers on trips around the Moon using the same craft they're going to use (or at least the same type of craft) as they're planning to use to go to Mars.

      They're building the prototype for 'atmospheric tests' right now (its about half the regular size and will be able to take eight).

      The first planned flight is either 2021 or 2022!

      Regarding water, you won't need to take it from Earth as there's enough there to sustain a colony of about 20,000 people.

    • megalos profile image

      rafia 

      8 months ago from lahore pakistna

      YEAH but ruining our earth and dreaming and planning to settle on other planets .is it good? i mean look at our earth .it has become so nasty. may be that is why we are looking for an other place to live!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      An amazing future and you and I will miss it. Hopefully we will be looking down, from the heavens, and watching it all unfold.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      8 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      So cool dude. How exciting these concepts are. Of perhaps fun note is that my Gabe just does not question our capabilities in space. He does not want to go on a cruise ship "until", not if, there is one to the moon. We were debating if it would have a swimming pool on board and agreed that it would. Just bringing the water to the moon would be good. Hydroponics are also discussed. And of course the same vessel will take folks to Mars.

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