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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
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November 30, 2023

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Bring me the moon

For years, mankind has dreamed of living among the stars. The ideas of traveling into space and living in colonies on the moon or in Earth’s orbit have filled countless movies, TV shows, video games and novels.

But such an idea has mostly been the idea of science fiction. Only at the International Space Station do humans live in Earth’s orbit, and even then, they are trained astronauts.

That was, until NASA announced on Monday that they hope to establish a permanent base on the moon by 2024. CNN reported that NASA had spent the last year interviewing 1,000 people from around the world about why humans should return to the moon, as well as what is expected out of space exploration.

From that poll, NASA devised a “global exploration strategy,” with one of the key components being establishing a base on the moon’s south pole. Placing the base there would be best for astronauts, as the south pole is lit for three-quarters of the year and there are potential resources nearby.

A base on the moon might also serve as a launching pad to reaching Mars and colonizing that planet. For some people, that’s exactly what we need to be doing.

Last week, world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking told BBC Radio that colonization of other planets was necessary for humans, or they would face extinction.

“Sooner or later disasters such as an asteroid collision or a nuclear war could wipe us all out,” said Hawking. “But once we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should be safe.”

I’m not sure I agree 100 percent with Hawking’s viewpoint, but I think it is important for human beings to continue to explore space.

Critics will argue that it’s too costly and nobody could ever afford to live in space in our lifetimes. Yes, it would be expensive for quite some time, but as technology progressed, the cost of living in space would likely go down.

Others, especially those in the international community, might argue that establishing a base on the moon would be the same as America annexing the entire moon for themselves.

Such a claim could cause conflicts and a race to divide the moon up between the major powers, much like the Americas and Africa once were.

However, the United States, along with the other major space powers, have signed the Outer Space Treaty. Part of that treaty places the moon under the same jurisdiction as international waters, meaning nobody can claim ownership over the moon.

You might be wondering why we should bother putting a base on the moon. It’s the same reason we built the Hubble Space Telescope or launch satellites to far off planets and comets: to better explore space.

Over 50 years of research in space has answered many question we’ve had, but it has raised thousands upon thousands more. Some of these questions will be impossible to answer unless humans investigate them directly.

That means that we might have to land on other planets like Mars, and a base on the moon provides an excellent stop along the way.

Exploration also provides a way for new technologies to rapidly grow and evolve. Past technologies influenced by space-based technology include cordless power tools and appliances, as well as kidney dialysis machines, TV satellite dishes, and medical imaging machines.

Even the prospect of going into space has become commercialized. For $20 million, the Russian Space Agency will launch you into space aboard one of their Soyuz rockets.

One of the most recently publicized events related to commercial space flights was the $10 million Ansari X Prize. The contest would be won by the first person or team to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space on two separate occasions within two weeks.

The prize was on by the Tier One group and their craft SpaceShipOne. Since then, Sir Richard Branson, head of the Virgin Group, announced he plans to offer suborbital and orbital spaceflights under the Virgin Galactic banner, with test flights starting in 2007.

Where people go, though, companies will soon follow. In fact, they already are getting advertising into space.

It’s not Wal-Mart, but Kentucky Fried Chicken that’s made the first major leap. Last month, they announced through a press release that they had built an 87,500 square foot Colonel Sanders logo near Rachel, Nev., which is visible from outer space.

Expect a response soon from Burger King, who will announce that eastern Montana has been replaced with the face of The King. If you thought he was scary now, just wait until he’s visible from the International Space Station.

All of this aside, building a NASA base on the moon could be the first step towards a growth in technology and scientific knowledge. It is an opportunity we cannot pass up.

Send comments to Brian Szabelski at [email protected].

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