Should humans devote most of our resources to the development of a colony on the Moon, Mars or towards the utilization of Asteroid resources? Space advocates debated which location in space should be our primary focus at this week’s “New Space Age” conference at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
Geekwire.com reported on the debate and included a video and many of the space advocates arguments. Space entrepreneur Naveen Jain, co-founder and president of Florida-based Moon Express, spoke for the moon and had some interesting comments about water on the Moon and the possibility of using the protective confines of a recently identified huge lava tube on the moon that could house a underground base, protected from surface radiation and meteorite impacts.
Jain went on to discuss the possibility of Moon inhabitants altering the genes to accommodate the increased exposure to radiation. I found those comments a bit on the unrealistic side but I enjoyed the rest of his comments.
John Logsdon, retired director of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute, said he didn’t see much of an argument for a Mars base and only a bit more for a Moon Base. I was surprised by the shortsightedness in his comments as he didn’t make any mention of the more obvious economic incentives of establishing a Moon base.
The mining of Helium-3, mining of water and separating it into oxygen and hydrogen will support human activities on the Moon. And scientific missions (most likely telescopes on the dark side of the Moon) will further establish human activities on the Moon. Both will require infrastructure personnel to maintain the facilities. And there will undoubtedly be some level of space tourism on the Moon. The combined populations of miners, scientists, support personnel and tourists will be of sufficient size to justify additional resources and people dedicated to meeting that populations needs. This will not happen overnight but the available resources and it’s proximity to Earth makes me very confident it will happen.