Editorial  June 3, 2001

It is time for a base on the moon.


Why we must establish a base on the moon.

It is my opinion that the human race must commit now to the construction
of a fully self sufficient base on the moon by the year 2019, the
fifty year anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Nasa should begin now with discussions for a moon base to be the
next major worldwide space project after the completion of the
International Space Station.

Gigantic and open ended scientific progress and experience aside,
we owe it to ourselves as human beings to establish a permanent
outpost of several hundred people on the moon as soon as possible.

Humans have had the ability for thirty years to establish a
" humanity bank " on a separate body in space. We could "hedge
our bet" for survival as an intelligent species born on the
planet Earth by immediately beginning construction of a colony on
the moon. This colony would be the most important outpost ever
created by man. It would forever be recognized as the point in
time when man stepped away from the fragile and unstable
environment that evolved it and gained for the first time a real
opportunity to survive, no matter what happens to the Earth.
It would be like a safety deposit box for mankind.

But ,to date, we have absolutely squandered that opportunity.

The main thrust of any species is survival.
Does it not make sense to create a "safe haven" or "world bank"
on the moon where we have the opportunity to take a giant leap to
preserve a kernel of humanity in relative safety.
Water ice may exist on the moon and we have all the materials
to construct buildings on and beneath the surface of the moon.
Many acre underground farms can be built for a city of several
hundred using current technology.

As it stands now, if an asteroid or ,as in the case of Shoemaker-
Levi 9, a swarm of asteroids were detected to impact the Earth in
a few years we as a human race would be out of luck.
Would we be able to admit that the world might end and scrape
together a noah's ark, like in the movie "When worlds collide "?

The tough lessons that we are sure to face would all have to be
faced "cold" at that point. A crash program would have to be
created at the worst possible time and under the worst
conditions. Would you want to risk the survival of humanity
to a scenario like this.? Why not forestall it and start now ?

A two mile wide asteroid impact on the moon would have much less
effect on a well constructed moonbase than a terrestrial one.
As long as it did not hit near the moonbase, with no atmosphere
the moon's sky would remain unclouded and after a few severe
moonquakes it would all be over.

On the Earth after such an impact it would get so bad that you
would wish you were on the moon, then it would probably get
worse. It is likely that the human race would survive a single
event like this but it may take many decades to recover to
today's level of technology.
Multiple impacts could easily spell checkout time for homo sapiens.
And this is only one scenario for the impairment or destruction of mankind.

From this perspective the moon has the utmost and most immediate
value to humanity. It takes space exploration from the realm of scientific
research to an imperative goal for all mankind.
Additional bases on the moon, mars, and anywhere else in the
solar system will continue to increase our chances of survival.

If we begin now and complete the colony by 2019, I predict that
there will be at least a dozen separate colonies on the moon by 2044.

We spend hundreds of billions on defense, education, cars and
cosmetics. It is time to start putting all that money toward
something of value, an insurance policy for mankind.

Michael T. Belmonte

June 3, 2001







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