Friday, 2 April 2021

Russia and China want to build a space station on the moon


WION shows that the "space race" for space dominance is heating up. Russia and China certainly want to build a lunar space station. NASA wants another space station to orbit the moon. India has its own plans for a space station. Space might have borders in the future.

A so-called lunar outpost is a concept of a permanent or semi-permanent presence of humans on the Moon (a moonbase). Certain space companies want an increase in their budgets in order to make another crewed mission to the Moon. A sustained presence on the Moon is also possible in the future.

The concept of establishing a long-term human presence on the Moon can be traced back to the late 1950s. Plans are out there such as constructing an underground Air Force Base on the Moon, other military bases on the Moon, designs of lunar outposts and lunar rovers for long-duration treks across the Moon's surface.

The Artemis program is from 2017 to Present. The Artemis program is a planned crewed spaceflight program carried out predominately by NASA, USA commercial spaceflight companies, and international partners such as the European Space Agency (ESA), JAXA, and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) with the goal of landing "the first woman and the next man" on the Moon, specifically at the lunar south pole region by 2024. NASA sees Artemis as the next step towards the long-term goal of establishing a sustainable presence on the Moon, laying the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy, and eventually successfuly sending humans to Mars. One primary target is Shackleton crater. In 2028 NASA plans on launching the Lunar Surface Asset, a small habitat to the surface of the Moon on either an SLS Block 1B or through an Artemis Support Mission on a commercial launcher. This would be certainly the first so-called crewed lunar base.

"Colonization of the Moon" could happen in the future. This is a concept employed by some proposals of establishing permanent human settlement or robotic presence on the Moon (the closest astronomical body to Earth) and the Earth's only so-called natural satellite. Other terms can also be used, such as: "space settlement" or "space habitation."

The Moon is highly likely to be the first permanent human space colony or settlement, because it is very close to the Earth.

Certain water exists on the Moon - "Lunar water." This so-called water was first discovered by India's ISRO Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008. Diffuse water molecules can persist at the Moon's sunlit surface, as successfully discovered by NASA's SOFIA observatory in 2020. Gradually water vapor is decomposed by sunlight, leaving hydrogen and oxygen lost to outer space. Scientists have found water ice in the cold, permanently shadowed craters at the Moon's poles. It seems that water molecules are also in the extremely thin lunar atmosphere.

The chemistry of water is interesting. Water is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a solvent). Water is vital for all known forms of life, even though it provides no calories or organic nutrients. Its chemical formula is H2O, meaning that each of its molecules contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms, connected by covalent bonds. Two hydrogen atoms are attached to one oxygen atom at an angle of 104.45°.

Water (H2O), and the chemically related hydroxyl group (-OH), exist in forms chemically bound as hydrates and hydroxides to lunar minerals (rather than free water), and evidence strongly suggests that this is the case in low concentrations as for much of the Moon's surface. In fact, of surface matter, adsorbed water is calculated to exist at trace concentrations of 10 to 1000 parts per million. Inconclusive evidence of free water ice at the lunar poles had accumulated during the second half of the 20th century from a variety of observations suggesting the presence of bound hydrogen.

Keep in mind, if research or evidence is inconclusive, it has not really proved anything. But, it can suggest something.

On 18 August 1976, the Soviet Luna 24 probe landed at Mare Crisium, took samples from the depths of 118, 143, and 184 cm of the lunar regolith, and then took them to Earth. In February 1978, it was published that laboratory analysis of these samples shown they contained 0.1% water by mass. Spectral measurements shown minima near 3, 5, and 6 µm, distinctive valence-vibration bands for water molecules, with intensities 2 or 3 times larger than the noise level.

On 24 September 2009, it was reported that the NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) spectrometer onboard India's ISRO Chandrayaan-1 probe had detected absorption features near 2.8-3.0 μm on the surface of the Moon. On 14 November 2008, India made the Moon Impact Probe onboard Chandrayaan-1 orbiter crash into Shackleton crater and confirmed the presence of water ice. For silicate bodies, such features are typically attributed to hydroxyl- and/or water-bearing materials. In August 2018, NASA confirmed that M3 showed water ice is present on the surface at the Moon poles. Water was confirmed to be on the sunlit surface of the Moon by NASA on October 26, 2020.

The search for the presence of lunar water continues. Lunar missions continue to be made to the Moon. The water's usefulness could possibly help in long-term lunar habitation.

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