The American space agency is working on the mission that will send humans back to the Moon but in a sustainable manner. Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s administrator, claimed that the next mission wouldn’t be about leaving flags or footprints in the Lunar soil:
“This time when we go, we’re going to go to stay.”
But to stay there, we’d need a lunar base on the Moon. That means we will need to find a way to use whatever the moon has to offer so that we can keep the astronauts alive. The good news is that the Moon has many resources.
Scientists are certain that certain places on the Moon contain water ice on the surface. India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft confirmed the presence of ice on the Moon in 2008. In 2009, NASA slammed its LCROSS spacecraft into a crater on the south pole of the moon, confirming there was ice. The resource could be used for drinking, bathing, and watering plants, but also to create fuel for the vehicles that would travel on the moon and toward deep space or back to Earth.
However, another resource abundant on the Moon is dirt. It could be used to build the base, and this is what engineers at the Kennedy Space Center are working on at NASA’s Swamp Works. They’re turning lunar regolith into a material that can be used for 3D printing.
Instead of sending building supplies to the Moon from Earth, NASA could only send robots to mine and excavate resources, and 3D printers to use for constructing the base, tools, furniture and more things to allow astronauts live there.
NASA will make this a reality, but there will be a long time until we get to see their plans in action. The Verge has posted a video on YouTube showing how Swamp Works looks and it’s pretty interesting.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.