What if We Lived on the Moon? | Unveiled
What if We Lived on the Moon?
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Is it possible to build a city on the Moon
NASA and ROSCOSMOS made parallel announcements about cooperation to build the new lunar orbiting space station very recently. NASA has been working with its partners to build the new space station, and everybody is thrilled now that ROSCOSMOS (Russian Space Agency) has joined in the fun.
Since the Moon has only a trace of atmosphere, it provides no protection from radiation or meteorites. An underground lava tube would keep the inhabitants safe from such dangers. Lava tubes are formed when molten rock pours through fissures, creating a circular tunnel. When the lava flow stops the tubes drain, leaving a flat floor and a strong arched roof.
Such tubes exist here on Earth, but on the Moon they are much larger. They are likely a kilometre tall and wide, so combined with their length, could easily fit any of the Earth’s largest cities, including all of its tallest buildings. Scientists, researchers, construction crews and everyday citizens would be safe from the hazards of space in there.
The glass roof, made from lunar silica would be supported by titanium and aluminium frames, but narrow enough to be almost invisible from inside on the ground. Even though several metres thick (in multiple layers to control thermal expansion and contraction) it would still be transparent.
It could be days before there was significant loss. That would plenty of time to repair it. The fastest strategy would probably be a giant Kevlar™ beach ball that could be placed over the breach and be held in place by the air pressure inside the dome while a repair was executed by an external team composed of the original robots that built the dome.
Beneath the surface city would be a subterranean city containing infrastructure. This is a leftover of where the original inhabitants and construction workers lived before the dome was complete. It would contain living space sufficient for all residents, in the event of a catastrophic dome failure.
In the case of a very large hole, cryogenic coolers could rapidly condense the atmosphere inside the dome to a liquid state, saving as much as 80% of the atmosphere until the dome could be repaired. It’s a small possibility, but one worth being prepared for.
Such an enclosed crater would have an area exceeding 1250 km2 (485 sq. miles), or a little more than 20 times the size of Manhattan Island. Not only would it make a fine place to live, it could take decades to fully explore.
Looking at the image above, you might also note that almost 20% of the crater is taken up by a central lake about 5 times the size of Manhattan. We could fill it by mining ice from permanently shadowed craters located around the Moon’s poles, and it would serve as the central reservoir for the entire city, supporting aquaculture food, as well as fish populations.
What Would Happen If The Moon Disappeared
Our moon is on the move. Each year, it drifts an estimated 1.5 inches further away from Earth. And in the process, Earth's rotation is actually slowing down. What if one night, the moon simply disappeared? Would we miss it?
A full moon is on average 14,000 times brighter than the next brightest night-sky object, Venus. So without it, every night would be as dark as a new moon. And star gazing would be spectacular.
But by the next morning, you'd begin to realize just how important the moon is for life on Earth. To start, between the sun, Earth's rotation, and the moon, the moon has the largest influence on Earth's tides.
Without it, high and low tides would shrink by an estimated 75%. This would jeopardize the lives of many types of crabs, mussels, and sea snails that live in tidal zones and disrupt the diets of larger animals who rely on them for food, threatening entire coastal ecosystems in the process. Within a few decades, we would start to see mass population declines in the sea and on land.
One of the largest spawning events in the world occurs in the Great Barrier Reef. Each November in the days following the light of a full moon, coral colonies across the reef — spanning an area larger than the state of New Mexico — release millions of egg and sperm sacs within nearly minutes of one another. Scientists are certain that the full moon plays a role in the timing, but exactly how remains a mystery.
On land, animals like these Red Crabs also use lunar cues to reproduce. After living most of their lives in the mountains, millions of adult crabs migrate down to shore. And then, only during the last quarter of the moon, females release their eggs into the sea.
Now, the moon may not hold as much sway over human reproduction. But without it, something else we care equally about would change — the weather. Tides and tidal currents help mix cold arctic waters with warmer waters in the tropics. This balances temperatures and stabilizes the climate worldwide. Without the moon, weather forecasts would be practically impossible. The average difference between the hottest and coldest places on Earth could grow to life-threatening extremes.
But none of this compares to the biggest change that we would have coming over the next millennia. Right now, Earth tilts on its axis at 23.5º mostly due to the moon's gravity. If the moon disappeared, Earth's axis would wobble between anywhere from 10 to 45º.
Some experts estimate that Jupiter could help keep Earth's tilt from reeling completely out of control. But even just an extra 10º tilt could wreak havoc on the climate and seasons.
In the past, Earth's tilt has changed by about 1-2º, which scientists think could have caused Ice Ages in the past. It's hard to know what a 10º or 45º tilt would do but probably nothing good for most life on Earth.
The moon isn't just imperative for life on Earth today. Experts believe that it may also have played a key role in the formation of life more than 3.5 billion years ago. Turns out, the moon isn't just a beacon of light in the night sky. Its existence is crucial to the delicate balancing act that makes life here possible.
Video courtesy of Instagram/@Norazian, Instagram/faulkner_photography
Why NASA hasn’t gone back to the Moon
NASA has big plans to return to the Moon by 2024, and it’s banking on the historic Space Launch System (SLS) to get them there. But after years of delays and cost overruns, skeptics are questioning whether SLS should remain the biggest priority for NASA. As the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing approaches, we take a look at what the future of solar system exploration might bring.
Correction: An earlier version of this video showed an incorrect SLS configuration at 00:32, and an older rocket model at 2:16. The video has been updated to correct those inaccuracies.
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How We Are Going to the Moon - 4K
While Apollo placed the first steps on the Moon, Artemis opens the door for humanity to sustainably work and live on another world for the first time. Using the lunar surface as a proving ground for living on Mars, this next chapter in exploration will forever establish our presence in the stars. ✨
We are returning to the Moon – to stay – and this is how we are going!
Actress Kelly Marie Tran of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” lent her voice to this project.
China Makes Historic Moon Landing, Boosting Rivalry With U.S.
China gained on the U.S. in the new space race by making the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon. What's driving China’s ambitions and should the U.S. be nervous? The WSJ explains. Photo: China National Space Administration/Shutterstock
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Let's get humans back on the moon
What does the future hold for the moon, Earth's closest cosmic neighbor? CNET's science editor Jackson Ryan launches into the coming decades in lunar exploration, from putting the first woman on the moon to our first lunar bases and our journey onward, to Mars.
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10 Unusual Things Humans Have Left On The Moon
Here are 10 unusual things humans have left on the moon.
When people travel they often pick up souvenirs to take home with them, but in the case of astronauts journeying to the moon it’s the leaving of items that’s become the norm.
Here are 10 of the more unusual objects that stayed behind.
Number 10. Goodwill messages. Located close to the boot print from the Apollo 11 mission is a silver dollar sized disc containing messages from over 70 nations. The disc left behind was created long before the age of compact digital storage, so making all the words fit required the use of letters thinner than a strand of human hair.
Number 9. Gold Olive branch. The tree’s bough has long been a symbol of peace, and leaving a gold replica of one behind was intended as a wish for harmony among all mankind. Neil Armstrong placed it on the lunar surface in 1969.
Number 8. Golf balls. In his final moments on the moon, Alan Shepard outfitted a soil-sample taking device with a golf club head and knocked two balls miles into the distance. Some have criticized his swing, but defenders of the astronaut point out that space suits are bulky and hard to move around in.
Number 7. Family photo. For over 40 years, a picture of Charles Duke with his wife and children has been sitting on the moon. It’s covered in plastic and inscribed with the words, “this is the family of astronaut Duke from planet Earth. Landed on the moon, April 1972”.
Number 6. Alumni Association charter. Thanks to Apollo 15’s crew, the University of Michigan Alumni Association has an official outpost on the moon. All three of the men graduated from the institution, and when they went to space they brought along – and left - a document that makes the satellite a legit chapter locale.
Number 5. Falcon feather. Galileo theorized that in the absence of gravity objects of differing mass would fall at like rates. That idea was tested out on the moon using a falcon feather and a hammer, and it turned out that Galileo was right. The feather, which came from the Air Force Academy’s mascot, did not make it back to Earth.
Number 4. Oregon lava. Per request, a sliver of rock from the Pacific Northwest was given a new, lunar home. When a friend of astronaut Jim Irwin asked if he’d mind taking the solidified lava to the moon, Irwin was happy to comply.
Number 3. Human waste. Getting to the moon isn’t the only tricky part of space travel. Returning home is a difficult task as well, and to make sure all goes well, a lot of excess weight has to be removed from the craft before the journey can begin. Among the commonly abandoned items is human waste.
What do you think is the most unique item left on the moon’s surface? Number 2. Boots. Special ones are needed for wandering around on the moon, and once that’s done, the footwear just isn’t needed anymore. Thus, they’re abandoned to compensate for the extra weight of all of the rocks and samples being carried back.
Number 1. Flags. The US has left 6 of them there, and over the decades they’ve been subjected to days of endless sunshine, freezing temperatures, sweltering heat, and ultraviolet rays. Surprisingly, it appears that most have survived the harsh conditions.
Astronauts left poop on the moon. We should go get it.
What astronaut diapers can teach us about the origins of life.
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Astronauts landed on the moon for the first time 50 years ago, and they left a bunch of stuff up there — including their poop. Scientists want to know: Is there anything alive in there?
Our poop is over 50 percent bacteria, and we don’t know if any of that bacteria can survive in the moon’s inhospitable environment. But if we go back to check it out, that poop could answer some big scientific questions — including how life started in the broader universe.
Brian’s full article on moon poop:
Here’s a full list of all the stuff astronauts have left on the moon:
A 2016 paper detailing the bacteria in our poop:
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Why Astronauts Were Almost Trapped On The Moon Forever (Apollo 11 Landing)
The Apollo 11 mission to the moon is one of the most intense stories of survival. The whole trip was nearly a disaster, and somehow the astronauts managed to make their way back to earth and not get trapped on the moon or die in space! Watch here to see how they made it out alive!
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How Apollo 11 made it to the moon and back
Getting humans to the Moon and back was a carefully choreographed journey, with the landing on the lunar surface just one part of the historic Apollo 11 mission carried out by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Narrated by legendary BBC presenter James Burke, who led the commentary on the Moon landing, this animation shows many of the crucial steps involved for humans to walk on another world.
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Why Can't We Live On The Moon?
We could try living on the moon... but it might not be a good idea.
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Exposed: Apollo 11 Moon landing conspiracy theories | Just The FAQs
Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first steps on the moon, or did they? We explain one of the most talked about conspiracy theories of all time. #Apollo11 #MoonLanding #ConspiracyTheory
Stunning photos from the Apollo 11 mission are still coming out almost 50 years after a person first walked on the moon.
Michael Collins, who was the Command Module pilot during the historic flight, shared what he says is a previously unreleased photo of the three astronauts in the crew.
The crew. Found this at the bottom of a box. Don’t think it was ever used by @NASA. #TBT @TheRealBuzz, Collins tweeted Thursday with the Throwback Thursday hashtag.
The photo shows Collins standing against a moon replica. Astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong are photographed on the other side of the moon, with Armstrong's hand on Aldrin's shoulder.
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NASA | Tour of the Moon
Although the moon has remained largely unchanged during human history, our understanding of it and how it has evolved over time has evolved dramatically. Thanks to new measurements, we have new and unprecedented views of its surface, along with new insight into how it and other rocky planets in our solar system came to look the way they do. See some of the sights and learn more about the moon here!
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Apollo 11: Landing on the Moon
On July 20, 1969, humans walked on another world for the first time in history, achieving the goal that President John F. Kennedy had set in 1961, before Americans had even orbited the Earth. After a landing that included dodging a lunar crater and boulder field just before touchdown, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explored the area around their lunar landing site for more than two hours.
When the lunar module landed at 4:17 p.m EDT, only 30 seconds of fuel remained. Armstrong radioed Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed. Mission control erupted in celebration as the tension breaks, and a controller tells the crew You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we're breathing again.
For more information on the Apollo Program, visit
Apollo 17 Astronauts Spot Light Flashes on the Moon
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Just as Apollo was preparing to land on the moon, astronauts spotted a series of light flashes seemingly coming from the moon’s surface. The case is still unsolved.
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Are the flags left on the moon still there?
Jim Axelrod discovers what has become of the flags left by astronauts on the six missions to the moon.
5 Ways We Know Humans Went to the Moon
Since 1969, 12 humans have walked on the moon and made their way back home. Here are just 5 of the many ways to prove it actually happened.
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NASA Opens Moon Rock Samples Sealed Since Apollo Missions
Inside a locked vault at Johnson Space Center is treasure few have seen and fewer have touched.
The restricted lab is home to hundreds of pounds of moon rocks collected by Apollo astronauts close to a half-century ago. And for the first time in decades, NASA is about to open some of the pristine samples and let geologists take a crack at them with 21st-century technology.
What better way to mark this summer’s 50th anniversary of humanity’s first footsteps on the moon than by sharing a bit of the lunar loot.
“It’s sort of a coincidence that we’re opening them in the year of the anniversary,” explained NASA’s Apollo sample curator Ryan Zeigler, covered head to toe in a white protective suit with matching fabric boots, gloves and hat.
“But certainly the anniversary increased the awareness and the fact that we’re going back to the moon.”
With the golden anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s feat fast approaching — their lunar module Eagle landed July 20, 1969, on the Sea of Tranquility — the moon is red-hot again.
After decades of flip-flopping between the moon and Mars as the next big astronaut destination, NASA aims to put astronauts on the lunar surface again by 2024 at the White House’s direction. President Donald Trump prefers talking up Mars. But the consensus is that the moon is a crucial proving ground given its relative proximity to home — 240,000 miles (386,000 kilometers) or two to three days away.
Zeigler’s job is to preserve what the 12 moonwalkers brought back from 1969 through 1972 — lunar samples totaling 842 pounds (382 kilograms) — and ensure scientists get the best possible samples for study.
Some of the soil and bits of rock were vacuum-packed on the moon — and never exposed to Earth’s atmosphere — or frozen or stored in gaseous helium following splashdown and then left untouched. The lab’s staff is now trying to figure out how best to remove the samples from their tubes and other containers without contaminating or spoiling anything. They’re practicing with mock-up equipment and pretend lunar dirt.
Compared with Apollo-era tech, today’s science instruments are much more sensitive, Zeigler noted.
“We can do more with a milligram than we could do with a gram back then. So it was really good planning on their part to wait,” he said.
The lunar sample lab has two side-by-side vaults: one for rocks still in straight-from-the-moon condition and a smaller vault for samples previously loaned out for study. About 70 percent of the original haul is in the pristine sample vault, which has two combinations and takes two people to unlock. About 15 percent is in safekeeping at White Sands in New Mexico. The rest is used for research or display.
Of the six manned moon landings, Apollo 11 yielded the fewest lunar samples: 48 pounds or 22 kilograms. It was the first landing by astronauts and NASA wanted to minimize their on-the-moon time and risk. What’s left from this mission — about three-quarters after scientific study, public displays and goodwill gifts to all countries and U.S. states in 1969 — is kept mostly here at room temperature.
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Apollo 11’s journey to the moon, annotated
The moon landing was a feat of engineering, accomplished through the careful deconstruction of a 3,000 ton spacecraft.
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Apollo 11 launched on July 16, 1969, carrying Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins on a journey to pull off humankind’s first moon landing. The eight-day journey was made possible by the careful deconstruction of the Saturn V rocket and Apollo spacecraft, and made use of a technique of docking components of the spacecraft in lunar orbit so the astronauts could land on, and then launch from, the lunar surface.
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Here's What It Took to Put Humans on the Moon | Compilation
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing and we're doing something big. On Wednesday, July 17th, SciShow is launching its first-ever documentary episode!
To freshen up your Apollo knowledge, here is a good dive into the science and engineering that put people on the moon.
Hosts: Hank Green, Caitlin Hofmeister, Reid Reimers
Project Mercury: The First Americans in Space
Wernher von Braun: From Nazis to NASA
Knitting to the Moon!
What We Learned from the Apollo 1 Fire
4 Important Lessons from the Apollo 11 Moon Landing
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