W.W.W. Moon The Why, What and When of a Permanent Manned Lunar Colony

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M. Morabito (2005), JBIS, 58, 131-137

Refcode: 2005.58.131
Keywords: Moon, Human spaceflight, Solar System exploration, politics, lunar settlement

Abstract:
Several reasons for going back to the Moon are listed: scientific study of our natural satellite, Earth and in general the Solar System; exploitation of the resources of Outer Space; geopolitical considerations that made Apollo possible and are still valid in the long term; advancement of manned spaceflight, as robot- based exploration is time-wise inefficient and politically negligible. Technological, organisational and legal challenges are then outlined. After a discussion of human physiology, building materials and transporta- tion of people and goods, an underground polar location is proposed as settlement site, either within kilometre-size lava tubes or man-made caves. An analysis of spaceflight history is conducted to determine a target date for returning to the Moon to stay. In the absence of political or commercial competition, experience indicates the last decades of the XXI century. To shorten this timescale, it is recommended to focus on accomplishing the task of establishing a reliable lunar travel and settlement system, rather than developing new technologies: simplifying the goals of each single step forward (as was the case of the Clementine mission) and concentrating on production-ready (or almost-ready) equipment (compare the ill- fated X-33 to the dependable Soyuz capsules)

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