Thursday, October 08, 2009

Living on the Moon

This morning at 6:30 AM two spacecrafts hit the moon's surface near its south pole in an effort to find water. The extremely cold crater the spacecrafts, Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), successfully hit this morning may reveal ice under the moon's surface. Unfortunately, though the impact was successful, the plumes the rockets were expected to create did not appear as anticipated and people looking through their telescopes and watching live coverage streamed from NASA's website were somewhat disappointed. However, NASA officials are encouraged by the success of the mission and expect that the analyses to come, using the footage shot by LCROSS' and LRO's many cameras, will provide evidence of water on the moon.

Finding water on the moon is a precursor to colonizing the moon. Colonization would be greatly facilitated the more natural resources can be found on the moon. After Apollo 11 successfully landed on the moon in 1969, talk of lunar colonies increased exponentially and, to many, it seemed only a matter of time until humans were living on the moon. However, after 40 years without a lunar colony being established, the subject is breached more often in science fiction novels than among scientific communities. Nevertheless, there's ample interesting information on this subject and the most recent lunar missions on the web, in books, and in our databases. Here are some links and titles for you to explore the topics further:
Interesting article about how living on the moon would be made possible

Details of the LCROSS mission from

Pictures of the LCROSS and LRO's impact; also, includes a link to the video footage of the impact (look to the right of the screen)

Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century
"Papers from a NASA-sponsored, public symposium hosted by the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., Oct. 29-31, 1984"

Moon Mines, Space Factories and Colony L5*
Example of a typical 1970s era article about space colonization.
*Requires an Austin Public Library card

Interesting article about what would have happened if Congress had approved an extensive lunar exploration mission proposed by NASA in 1967.
*Requires an Austin Public Library

Why NASA Should Bomb the Moon to Find Water: Analysis
In some of the articles I read there was an occasional mention of controversy regarding the LCROSS mention; however, I only found lay people expressing concern over crashing the rockets into the moon - I couldn't find any expert or scientific opinion that the mission was potentially harmful or concerning.


Beyond Earth: The Future of Humans in Space

Distant Worlds: Milestones in Planetary Exploration

NASA/Art: 50 Years of Exploration

Completely unrelated to the topic at hand, this book is about the NASA Art Program that was begun in 1958 and includes works from a diverse bunch of artists from Andy Warhol to Norman Rockwell.

Spacefaring: The Human Dimension

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