April 13, 2018

Russians Going to the Moon, Plan Lunar Space Station

Timothy Birdnow

Vladimir Putin confirms the Russians are going to the Moon and are planning to stay a while.

From Itar-Tass:

'"As you may know the program extends up to 2030," he went on to say. "The finishing touches are being put to the spacecraft Federatsiya and research and development is on for building a super-heavy rocket to be used for the lunar program. So there can be no doubts we will be working actively and implementing this program."

Putin recalled that in the first phase a space station would be created in the Moon’s orbit.

"A Moon orbiter will come first. Then modules on the Moon itself will emerge. At least that’s what the plans are," Putin said. "I hope they will come true."

End excerpt. So the Russians are planning to stay a spell. You don't build a space station in Lunar orbit if you don't plan on longer visits than the Apollo astronauts made.

There is an important point to make here, though; the station can only be used during a period of quiet solar activity, unless they are able to put some sort of solar storm shelter inside the structure. That would be heavy, very heavy, because it takes a lot of mass to protect you from the radiation emitted by a solar flare. If the station is to remain occupied it would have to have this shelter, which would likely have to be built from Lunar materials, not stuff brought from Earth. It would be just too heavy to lug all the way to the Moon.

The Russians want to develop the Moon commercially. So do the chinese. The Moon offers a lot of opportunities, from Helium 3 to construction materials to large vacuum industries. And Lunar settlement gives us expeience to go further into the solar system, to learn to work asteroids and other valuable real estate. America'obsession with Mars is going to cost us in the end; we will waste time and money on Mars, which is of little economic value, while the Russians and Chinese are going to gobble up the Moon. It is enormously myopic. We need to settle the Moon, and permanently.

We've got a planet a quarter of a million miles over our heads, one waiting for us to live there. Why rush off to Mars, which is too far to be economically valuable? Mars gravity is high enough to make it annoying to work with, and it is too far to make it useful for mining or other industry. Industry is everything when it comes to settlement; nobody is going there if there is nothing of value. You have to be able to make a living. And while scientific research is important and people do go places for that reason there is never any large settlement done. Look at Antarctica, which is home to just a few temporary residents. Nobody goes to Antarctica to live permanently. But they would the Moon if there was profit in it.

We need to start acting like the nation we once were. The Moon is the next frontier, and America has always been a frontier nation.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 10:26 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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