The European Space Organisation envisages a grand project: a village on the Moon, by 2030.
Supported by robots that mine and process minerals for the ISS (Intl. Space Station) kind of derivative to be placed there, including 3D-printers for the manufacture of tools, etc. The whole thing is thought to be a stepping stone to the planet Mars.
What appears to be missing from the project is an appreciation and understanding of the facts; the Moon is no more of a hospitable place than Mars. In fact, both are rather inhospitable.
For more than 40 years now, mankind has not set foot on the Moon – and for good reason. Apart from lacking any appreciable atmosphere (no water, oxygen, nitrogen, or even carbon dioxide), it takes an enormous amount of (earthly) resources to get there and back. Yes, the feat has been achieved but to what avail?
Rock samples brought back from the missions to the Moon did not significantly enlarge our knowledge of the universe nor our understanding of this planet’s environ.
Most of the samples of Moon rocks brought back to earth are “collecting dust” in various museums; from a scientific or practical point of view, they are quite worthless.
Having sent various robots to Mars, some people appear to think that mankind is about ready to establish a colony of earthlings there as well. Oh, the tranquility there is simply out of this world. So is almost everything else.
Mars is no more hospitable to human life than the Moon, despite its atmosphere. Of course, with 95% carbon dioxide in that (and no oxygen to speak of) it’s not exactly life-sustaining. Nor is there any water around, certainly not on the surface. Some of the surface features, vaguely reminiscent of river valleys here do not prove any water there – ever. They could have been created by liquids of other kinds like, for example, liquid ammonia or CO2.
Delusions of Grandeur
The European Union (EU) seems to suffer from delusions of grandeur. With the Schengen Agreement (“EU no borders agreement”) falling by the wayside and border controls or even barbed wire fences going up in Austria, France, Denmark, Sweden, and Slovenia) it’s clearly a time to set population’s mind to higher goals, like the Moon or Mars.
As the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, has said about the stream of people coming from other countries into the European Union “We can manage that” (in German: “Wir schaffen das”). I suppose that includes just about everything else on the government’s agenda, such as decommissioning all nuclear power stations, all coal-fired power stations, rely entirely on wind and sun power generation and live happily ever after. I call it a recipe for an absolute energy-supply disaster.
This flight forward will eventually come to an abrupt end – I suspect rather sooner than later.
Photo by: David A. Hardy/Science Photo Library