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Can we live on the Moon?

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Let’s try to think about the origin of the moon first. It is known that the moon was formed about 4.5 billion years ago but how it came to be formed is yet baffling the scientists. There are 4 major theories about this. One is about a giant impact hypothesis in which it is suggested that a big planet – the size of Mars – collided with the Earth and the debris of the impact joined together to form the moon. Whatever the reason maybe our night sky can’t be imagined without the moon.

While Chandamamma has been gracing our poems and lullabies for a long time, it won’t be long before we can land on the moon. But before you get excited about it, wait and read this whole blog to understand why it is a huge undertaking and would take a really long time for this to be possible.

Here’s why, tempting possibility as it may sound, humans cannot live on the moon. 
  1. The moon has almost no atmosphere. There is no air for us to breathe
  2. There is no water on the moon
  3. The concept of days and nights last for two weeks instead of 24 hours
  4. Extreme temperatures are experienced as high as 123°C or as low as −233°C
Despite this, can we live on the Moon?
It is the most difficult undertaking. Looking at the astronauts it has been noticed that –
  • One can’t take all rations and needed resources on rocket
  • All will have to make do with extra terrestrial resources on moon
  • Air has to be thought of first. Since lunar soil has 42% oxygen, with the combination of heat and electricity, oxygen can be harvested
  • Water is ⅔ hydrogen and ⅓ oxygen. This too can be harvested by robots only if we can send supply ships regularly with liquid hydrogen to mix them. This can be a cumbersome task so we are still trying to find water on the Moon. Again, the moon though doesn’t have liquid water, it does exist in the form of ice. One possible solution is that Rovers can help find, drill and gather ice. Water for drinking and extraction of hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel will have to be established.
  • Food that grows? How to plant in a soil that is not rich and fertile like the Earth? The lunar soil is dusty with very fine sand combined with toxic metals and other harmful compounds that don’t foster growth in plants. However, efforts are being made to experiment on lunar type soil by scientists on the earth to determine the scope of growth. Human manure is said to help so far. However, earthworms and seeds will have to be brought from the Earth. These worms will help increase the nutrient content of the lunar soil.
  • Since 354 lunar nights are difficult to survive and procuring huge quantities of solar panels is not possible, efforts are made to study how this problem of electricity and power can be solved.
  • Housing is another problem to be tackled. Since the galactic rays can damage DNA and electronics, inflatable shields need to be designed to not only provide shelter but also not be bulky to transport. One possibility of igloo-like structures from lunar soil is also being studied. 

As you see, despite all the problems, efforts are ongoing to bring solutions. So if not now but in a distant future, the possibility of living on the moon can be a reality!

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